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Sat, 2 March 2024

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BETTING AND GAMING COUNCIL URGES GOVERNMENT TO HONOUR COMMITMENTS ON FINANCIAL RISK CHECKS

Betting And Gaming Council

3 min read Partner content

Standards body, the Betting and Gaming Council, today urged Government to honour its commitments on frictionless financial risk checks, following the announcement that a Parliamentary debate will be held on the issue.

The Petitions Committee confirmed the debate will take place on February 26th after a petition on the measure, proposed in the Gambling Act White Paper, passed 100,000 signatures.

The BGC has consistently called for frictionless, enhanced spending checks online, targeted on those at risk or showing signs of harm, so swift interventions can take place.

But it is essential enhanced spending checks online do not interfere with the vast majority who bet safely and responsibly, so they can continue enjoying their hobby without unnecessary intrusion.

Michael Dugher, Betting and Gaming Council CEO, said: “Ministers promised Parliament that checks would be frictionless. They now need to honour that commitment and will the means.

“At the BGC we supported enhanced checks for online gambling, but have been clear throughout that checks should be carefully targeted on those showing signs of problem gambling, or those who are at risk of harm, so operators can use technology to take swift action. They must also remain frictionless for the vast majority, as punters have repeatedly made clear they will not submit to intrusive checks.

“The overwhelming majority bet perfectly safely and responsibly, and it is crucial no check is introduced which risks driving these punters to the unsafe, unregulated black market online. These sites have none of the standards or protections offered by BGC members and they make no contribution either to the Exchequer or sports like horse racing.

“We continue to work closely with the Gambling Commission and believe there should be a proper pilot before any permanent changes are introduced.

“The Jockey Club are to be congratulated for helping to secure this important parliamentary debate. Nevin Truesdale and his team have injected a much-needed dose of common sense. Too often, the debate around gambling has been dominated by a handful of out-of-touch anti-gambling prohibitionists whose enthusiasm for draconian changes would wreck great British sports like racing.”

The BGC repeatedly warned about the current risks posed by blanket, intrusive affordability checks before the White Paper was published in April last year.

Those risks include driving punters to the unsafe, unregulated gambling black market online, and sucking millions out of sports like horse racing.

Alongside members, the BGC has worked closely with the Gambling Commission on a consultation into financial risk checks which closed in October last year. The results of the consultation have yet to be published.

Bookmakers made a record contribution to horseracing in 2022 of approximately £384m in levy, media rights and sponsorship deals.

Meanwhile, the wider regulated betting and gaming industry contributes £7.1bn to the economy, generates £4.2bn in tax and supports 110,000 jobs.

Each month in Great Britain around 22.5m adults have a bet and the most recent Health Survey for England estimated that 0.4 per cent of the adult population are problem gamblers.

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