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BGC CEO: “Review must not take all the joy out of life”

Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) CEO Michael Dugher has reminded government ministers that the gambling review “must not take all the joy out of life.”

In a column for The Times, Dugher pointed to the record crowd that attended the recent Cheltenham Festival, noting that many people there, and the millions more watching on TV, had a bet on the different races throughout the week.

“This is great news for the racing industry but it should also give ministers, currently poring over the final details of the gambling review, reason to pause and think,” wrote Dugher.

“Betting and racing are joined at the hip. Betting provides racing with £350m ($460m) a year. This lifeblood funding kept the sport and tens of thousands of jobs, especially in rural areas, going during the pandemic. Many other sports are similarly helped by their link to betting.”

Dugher noted that such positive news about the industry, along with the latest figures from the Gambling Commission on problem gambling rates, will come as a disappointment to those against gambling.

Such figures show a decline in problem gambling rates, now at 0.3% compared to 0.6% 18 months ago. It represents a decrease from 340,000 people to 170,000.

“Undoubtedly the regulation of online gambling has not kept pace with change,” continued Dugher. “Ministers will rightly address this and bring forward much-needed reforms targeting problem gamblers and those at risk. The industry supports change. But ministers have to get those changes right.

“Some campaigners want draconian rules that will demand punters hand over bank statements and payslips if they lose more than £100. They want to drive gambling underground with bans on advertising and sports sponsorship.”

Dugher added that BGC members support around 119,000 jobs, generate £4.5bn in tax and contribute £7.7bn to the economy. He stated that regulations certainly need to be improved, but warned that there is much at stake if wrong decisions are made regarding any changes.

Source: https://www.gamblinginsider.com/

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