Betting and Gaming Council Launches New Initiative

Under fire for the perceived failings of the UK betting sector, the industry body the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has launched a new awareness campaign in the form of an animation.

Called ‘A Safer Bet’, the animation is designed to highlight what the BGC believes is the UK industry’s strong safety record and significant economic contribution. In the release, the BGC argues that the UK’s gambling sector is among the safest in the world, and warns against too much regulation.

The animation argues that the government and UK Gambling Commission’s (UKGC) current review into the suitability of the 2005 Gambling Act could lead to what it described as ‘unintended consequences’.

The BGC has recently cited a report by PwC that claimed over a 12-month period between 2018 and 2019, around 200,000 customers in the UK bet around £1.4 billion with unregulated operators. The BGC is arguing that further regulation of the UK’s legal betting market could lead to bettors moving over to illegal betting black markets, which provide less protection for potential problem gamblers, such as self-exclusion schemes, spending checks and age verification, and they emphasise that betting with the regulated market was safer.

The animation also emphasises the £8.7 billion that the UK betting sector contributes to the economy, including the £3.2 billion in tax revenue and the 100,000 jobs in the UK sector. The BGC also highlights the contribution to a number of sports, including the £350 million put into horse racing through sponsorship, media rights agreements and the betting levy, and the millions that are contributed to other sports including darks, football, snooker and rugby league.

Speaking about the new animation, the Chief Executive at the BGC, Michael Dugher, said that the industry welcomed the review of the 2005 Gambling Act, but said that it was important that customers were not driven to bet in the illegal market. He also emphasised the contribution of the betting sector:

“This animation powerfully sets out the steps we have taken – and continue to take – on safer gambling, while also highlighting the immense contribution that the regulated industry makes to the economy and the country’s most popular sports. It clearly demonstrates that the regulated industry is a safer bet.”

Last week, Dugher warned that the UK’s review of the Gambling Act should be ‘led by facts not fiction,’ and drew attention to the UK’s gambling addiction rate of 0.5% of the population, which is relatively low by international standards. That point is made in the animation, which also underlines that the rate of addiction had remained consistent over 20 years.

But the BGC’s emphasis on the PwC report and the danger of illegal black market gambling has been met with criticism, both from the UKGC and politicians, who have accused the industry of exaggerating the extent of black market gambling in the UK.

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