UK Industry Stages Strong Defence

The leaders of some of the UK’s top betting operators have been defending the industry in front of a panel of lawmakers.

The chief executives of the UK’s leading five gambling firms were giving evidence on Tuesday to the House of Lords Select Committee that has the task of examining the ‘Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry’. Set up in 2019, the Lords Committee has been continuing to work on investigating the UK gambling sector, gathering facts and research with the aim of ultimately developing stronger oversight and regulatory frameworks for gambling operators.

And on Tuesday, the Committee sought evidence from the chief executives of GVC Holdings, William Hill, Bet365, Paddy Power Betfair and Sky Bet. The five were joined by Brigid Simmonds, who chairs the industry body the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC).

In her remarks, Simmonds emphasised that the UK gambling sector employs over 100,000 people in the UK, making a contribution of more than £14 billion in total to the UK:

“Tax-wise we make a contribution to the UK treasury of around £3.5 billion every year. We are obviously the major contributor for horseracing, at around £350 million a year, and frankly, horse and greyhound racing would not survive in this country without our support”.

The Committee asked questions on a range of issues, including public perception about the creation of the BGC, which Simmonds defended as an attempt on the part of the industry to take significant steps to reform and improve its reputation and to tackle gambling harm.

Ulrik Bengtsson of William Hill added that there had been significant progress through the various firms working together, including new commitments to a ban on whistle-to-whistle advertising, tackling the exposure of children to gambling advertising, a boosted self-exclusion scheme, and significant sums of money raised for research into the harm caused by problem gambling.

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