The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has confirmed that Brigid Simmonds (OBE) will step down as Chair of the industry trade and standards body for UK gambling.
The former Chief Executive of The Pub Association, Simmonds was appointed the BGC’s inaugural Chair in 2019, tasked with representing a “united betting and gaming industry” ahead of the Gambling Review being initiated by the government.
The BGC’s executive committee informed that Simmonds will end her five-year tenure on 20 April and will be replaced by current CEO Michael Dugher.
Key initiatives overseen by Simmonds saw the BGC secure over £100m in increased funding for research, education and treatment (RET) projects and programmes tackling gambling-related harms.
Furthermore, her tenure saw BGC members adhere to a new code-of-conduct on advertising, introducing the ‘whistle-to-whistle’ ban on advertising during live sports broadcasts and increasing the prominence of safer gambling messaging in advertising.
Prior to the publishing of the Gambling Review’s White Paper, Simmonds was present in select committees for UK gambling, representing a sector employing over 110,000 jobs and contributing £4.2bn in direct taxes to the government each year.
“I would like to pay tribute to Brigid for all the incredible work she has done at the BGC.” Dugher commented. “She has made a massive contribution during her four and a half years as Chairman, launching the organisation and bringing together the different sectors.
“She has led a change programme across the industry that has seen a relentless focus on raising standards on safer gambling. Brigid is a high integrity leader who is rightly held in huge regard, not just in the betting and gaming industry, but across so many other industries and sectors, and across the political divide.”
The BGC has begun its search for a new CEO to oversee the trade body’s day-to-day operations, with an appointment expected to be announced in the spring.
At present, the BGC states that it is working on eight consultations and 62 workstreams alongside its members, the government and the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), with an aim to continue improving industry standards.
Simmonds commented: “It has been a privilege to play my part in the development of the BGC since its formation in 2019 and it has been an honour to represent the 110,000 people whose jobs rely on the regulated betting and gaming industry.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed working with our members, large and small, to raise standards, create a culture of safer gaming and build public and institutional trust in our world-class industry.
“I would like to thank the Executive Committee, colleagues, members, charities and stakeholders, who have supported me and worked very hard to deliver all of the achievements of which the BGC is rightly proud.
“Since the BGC was established, it has worked with members to significantly raise standards across the regulated betting and gaming sector, while working closely with the government on the wide-ranging package of balanced, proportionate and effective reforms, contained in the White Paper.”