BGC Issues Government Warning

Leading UK betting industry group, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has issued a warning about potential limits to the amount of deposits that customers can make to their betting account.

Earlier this week, a report from the Social Market Foundation (SMF) recommended a limit of £100 per month, but the BGC warn that this could lead to punters to switch to illegal black market operators.

The BGC were responding to the recommendations of the cross-party think tank, which are aimed at influencing the upcoming UK government review of the 2005 Gambling Act. The aim of the cap, according to the SMF, was to help ensure that gambling activities don’t constitute serious financial harm. Other suggestions include stake limits of between £1 and £5 for online slots games, a review of current gambling taxation and the ending of ‘white label’ schemes.

In its response, the BGC said that there was no other area of the economy in which the government regulates how much an individual can spend and that a deposit cap could have serious consequences:

“We must avoid measures that see safe regulated betting being driven to unregulated, offshore, illegal black market operators online who don’t have the same checks, interventions and high standards that apply to regulated BGC members.”

The BGC reiterated its belief that measures designed to tackle problem gambling should be proportionate and based on evidence, and should not put at risk either the 100,000 jobs in the UK betting industry or the £3 billion in revenue that the industry contributes to the Treasury.

The BGC did welcome the SMF’s recommendation for the introduction of a mandatory kitemark to be displayed by all licensed operators, which would be clearly visible on betting sites, and in their statement, they welcomed the fact that the report highlights that there is no evidence of a rise in problem gambling, pointing to the fact that reports indicate that the problem gambling rate has remained unchanged for nearly two decades.

In addition, the betting industry group indicated that they were keen to drive up standards in the industry, but they emphasised the importance of ensuring that any review by the government is evidence-led. They also reiterated that fact that around 30 million people enjoy an occasional bet each year, and the overwhelming majority of them do so safely.

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