The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has launched a new animation, ‘A Safer Bet,’ in which the gambling industry standards body highlights the UK industry’s safety record and economic contribution.
In the video, the BGC argues that the UK’s gambling market is one of the safest in the world, and warns against overregulation by the government.
In particular, the BGC argues that the government and UK Gambling Commission’s (UKGC) ongoing review into the modern suitability of the 2005 Gambling Act could have ‘unintended consequences’.
A recent report by PwC has been cited by betting operators, which revealed that over a 12-month period between 2018 and 2019, 200,000 customers in the UK staked around £1.4 billion with unregulated operators.
The BGC argues that increased regulation of the UK’s legal betting market could push bettors towards illegal betting black markets, which offer less protection towards potential problem gamblers – such as self-exclusion schemes, age verification and spending checks – whilst betting with the regulated market remains ‘a safer bet’.
Furthermore, the animation emphasises the £8.7 billion that the regulated industry contributes to the economy, the £3.2 billion in tax payments and the 100,000 jobs it supports,
The significant support provided to various sports is also highlighted, such as the £350 million channelled into horse racing through sponsorship, media rights agreements and the betting levy, as well as millions more for sports including football, darts, snooker and rugby league.
“As the standards body for the regulated industry, we have strongly welcomed the Gambling Review,” said Michael Dugher, Chief Executive of the BGC.
“However, it is vital that it does nothing to drive punters towards the illegal, online black market, which has none of the protections in place that the regulated industry does.
“This animation powerfully sets out the steps we have taken – and continue to take – on safer gambling, while also highlighting the immense contribution that the regulated industry makes to the economy and the country’s most popular sports. It clearly demonstrates that the regulated industry is a safer bet.”
Dugher recently argued that the UK’s review of the Gambling Act ‘needs to be led by facts not fiction,’ and highlighted how the UK’s gambling addiction rate of 0.5% of the adult population is comparatively low against international standards, a point which is reiterated in the BGC video, where it is added that the figure has remained consistent for 20 years.
However, the BGC’s emphasis on the PwC report into the extent of illegal black market gambling has been criticised by legislators.
Gambling Commission Chief Executive Neil McArthur accused the report of exaggerating the prevalence of black market betting sites and of being ’not consistent with the intelligence picture.’