New regulations must not damage the vital economic and cultural contribution made by betting and gaming companies
Levelling up the United Kingdom is one of the Government’s top priorities. In light of this, the Betting and Gaming Council, the standards body for the regulated betting and gaming industry has partnered with The Purpose Coalition to highlight the key role that the sector is playing to support the levelling up agenda.
The Coalition is made up of the UK's most innovative purpose-led leaders and organisations and members include the BBC, Amazon, NHS Trusts, UK councils and UK universities amongst others.
As the UK deals with the legacy of COVID-19 and colleagues, customers and communities face new challenges such as the cost of living, the importance of responsible organisations and the role they play has never been greater. BGC members, such as Bet365 in Stoke-on-Trent, are at the forefront of entertainment and technology development and are a true British success story. Bet365 alone employs over 4,500 staff in Stoke-on-Trent. These are high skilled, good quality jobs that provide excellent long term career opportunities for families across the area.
Across the country betting and gaming companies are helping the UK workforce develop the cutting-edge skills base we will need to compete as technological transformation accelerates further in years ahead. They are creating the foundation for high-tech clusters in towns and cities across the United Kingdom which have often been overlooked by other inward investment projects. Overall, according to a recent report by EY in 2019, BGC members supported 119,000 jobs, generated £4.5 billion in tax and contributed £7.7 billion to the economy in gross value added. Earlier this year, BGC members also pledged to create 5,000 apprenticeships by 2025 and a further £20m on training and development programmes.
The industry also plays an important social role in the communities they serve, with employees themselves often directly involved with partner charities and other organisations in a wide range of activities to support the people who live there, particularly the most vulnerable. I pay tribute to Bet365 who have donated £531 million to the Denise Coates Foundation, enabling it to support local, national and international UK-registered charities.
And whilst some people are critical of the number of betting shops, the reality is they are part of a healthy high street mix. Research carried out before the pandemic by ESA Retail found that 82 per cent of their customers visited at least once a week, with 89 per cent of them going on to visit other shops in the area. That’s real money being ploughed into local businesses at a time when they are trying to repair the economic damage done over the past 2 years. In a city like Stoke-on-Trent where the average wage level is over £80 a week less than the national average, the skilled jobs and the investment the sector attracts is unmatched.
This contribution is helping to drive levelling up across the country. However, this may all be at risk as the Government is due to publish new regulations. This must be done without damaging the vital economic and cultural contribution made by BGC companies and will rightly be seen as a test of ministers’ commitment to level up the country.
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