BGC warns Gambling Act review may have “unintended consequences”

The UK’s Betting and Gaming Council has launched a new campaign warning that the review of the Gambling Act may have potential “unintended consequences.”

In a new campaign, the UK’s Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has warned that the UK government’s review of the 2005 Gambling Act may have “unintended consequences” such as driving customers towards the unregulated online market.

This comes as the UK government launched its review of the 2005 Gambling Act in December 2020. 

The BGC’s campaign

The BGC’s new campaign comes in the form of an animated video which highlights “industry’s safer gambling record as well as its contribution to the economy and sport,” and warns that there may be unintended consequences such as pushing customers towards illegal markets.

The video references figures from PWC, which show that approximately 200,000 UK customers wagered £1.4bn with unlicensed operators between 2018 and 2019. These figures were originally published last month and revealed that the UK sees about 27m visits to unregulated gambling sites in a year.

The three minute and 40-second long video claims that the regulated gambling market is “a safer bet” compared to unlicensed offshore operators and highlights that the regulated gambling sector contributes £8.7bn the country’s economy, including £3.2bn in tax and the 100,000 jobs it supports.

The BGC also notes that the industry contributes £350m to horseracing via sponsorships, media rights and levies as well as millions of pounds to other sports.

Michael Dugher, the BGC’s chief executive, said: “As the standards body for the regulated industry, we have strongly welcomed the Gambling Review.

“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.”

The Gambling Act review

In December 2020, the UK government announced the launch of its review of the 2005 Gambling Act.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) launched a call for evidence in December, which will look at stake and spending limits and new rules for gambling-related advertising and bonuses, as well as further protection for younger adults.

The call for evidence is set to run until 31 March 2021 and the findings will be used to inform the proposed changes to the Gambling Act.

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