Former Labour MP and shadow secretary for Culture, Media & Sport Michael Dugher has been confirmed as the first Chief Executive of the newly formed Betting and Gaming Council (BGC).
Issuing a market update this afternoon, BGC governance confirmed the appointment of Dugher inbound for Spring 2020, as he departs his current role as Chief Executive to UK Music, the leading trade body for the British music industry.
In his new remit, Dugher will work towards improving the gambling environment for a safe and entertaining customer experience, furthering the BGC’s strategy to tackle gambling-related harm and building consumer and public trust in the gambling industry.
As inbound BGC chief executive Dugher said: “The betting and gaming industry is a hugely significant contributor to the leisure industry, to sport and to the UK economy as a whole.
“I look forward to working with Brigid and the members of the Betting and Gaming Council as we tackle the critical issues facing the sector. Like many millions of people, I enjoy having a bet. Creating a safe gambling environment will be my top priority.
A seasoned executive in political stakeholder management, Dugher was a Member of Parliament for the Barnsley East constituency between 2010 and 2017, during which he held senior positions in the Shadow Cabinet including Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.
Merging the functions and duties of the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) and the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB), the BGC was officially launched this Autumn seeking to act as a unified voice for all industry stakeholders.
Membership of the BGC is open to all gambling operators with a UK licence. It comprises members from the online and retail sectors, representing over 90% of the betting and gaming sector (excluding lotteries). All members are required to adhere to a new Code of Conduct setting the highest standards for membership.
Brigid Simmonds OBE, Chairman, Betting and Gaming Council commenting on Michael’s appointment said: ‘’Michael brings a wealth of experience from his time in parliament and more recently as chief executive of UK Music.
“He’ll bring great leadership, energy and experience to the Betting and Gaming Council and help deliver the ongoing change we need to ensure safe and enjoyable products. We share an ambition to make the UK the safest betting and gaming industry in the world. I very much look forward to working with him.”
Hosting an exclusive SBC Webinar, BGC acting Interim Chief Executive Wes Himes underlined the trade body’s agenda for 2020, highlighting a number of objectives and emphasising industry cultural change amid a changing UK regulatory and digital landscape.