BGC urges Chancellor to ‘take bold steps’ to support bookies

Ahead of tomorrow’s Spring Statement, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has urged the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak to ‘take bold steps to help retail the leisure industry, including bookies and casinos, and to tackle the online black-market’.

BGC governance has called for a reform of business rates, which will include measures to allow more small businesses to take advantage of the small business retail relief.

As well as business tax rates, the BGC has emphasised the need for a reform of casino taxation rates which is hoped will combat the online black market and protect wider industry interests.

BGC Chief Executive Michael Dugher said: “An antiquated business rates regime does nothing to help struggling high streets hit by a drop in footfall. Bookies and casinos help attract people to our town centres but once they’re gone there are few if any retailers to step in to take their place.

“We urge the Chancellor to take bold steps to help the high street with reform to business rates and casino taxation.

“We welcomed the Government’s commitment to an Online Harms Bill as an opportunity to clamp down on the black market and the big platform search engines promoting these sites. Unlike rogue black-market operators, BGC members in the regulated sector adhere to the highest standards – including zero tolerance on under-18s betting.

“We ask the Chancellor to press for change that will help boost Exchequer revenues and stop unlicensed operators from preying on vulnerable consumers.”

The standards body has also requested that its larger members ‘substantially’ increase their contributions towards funding and support for research, education and treatment initiatives.

Promoting gambling in a responsible way, providing fair treatment for customers and ensuring sports betting integrity were highlighted as the key commitments for the BGC, as it seeks to ensure ‘the highest standards in betting and gaming’.

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