BGC Announces Leadership Transition as Brigid Simmonds Steps Down

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), a key standards body for the regulated UK betting and gaming industry, has announced today, January 11, that Brigid Simmonds OBE will step down as Chairman on April 20, 2024. Following a decision by the BGC’s Executive Committee, which includes members from various sectors, it has been confirmed that Michael Dugher, the current Chief Executive of BGC, will assume the role of Chair from April 21, 2024.

Michael Dugher, Chief Executive, BGC said: “I would like to pay tribute to Brigid for all the incredible work she has done at the BGC. She has made a massive contribution during her four and a half years as Chairman, launching the organisation and bringing together the different sectors. She has also led a change programme across the industry that has seen a relentless focus on raising standards on safer gambling. Brigid is a high-integrity leader who is rightly held in huge regard, not just in the betting and gaming industry, but across so many other industries and sectors, and across the political divide.

“Together with a new CEO in the Spring, I look forward as Chair to building on that success – continuing and intensifying the work of change on standards, speaking up for the tens of thousands of men and women who work in the industry, and ensuring that the millions of people who enjoy a regular bet can do so enjoyably and safely.”

Brigid Simmonds OBE, outgoing Chairman, commented: “It has been a privilege to play my part in the development of the BGC since its formation in 2019 and it has been an honour to represent the 110,000 people whose jobs rely on the regulated betting and gaming industry.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed working with our members, large and small, to raise standards, create a culture of safer gaming and build public and institutional trust in our world-class industry.

“I would like to thank the Executive Committee, colleagues, members, charities and stakeholders, who have supported me and worked very hard to deliver all of the achievements of which the BGC is rightly proud.

“Since the BGC was established, it has worked with members to significantly raise standards across the regulated betting and gaming sector, while working closely with Government on the wide-ranging package of balanced, proportionate and effective reforms, contained in the White Paper.”

The recruitment process for a new CEO will commence immediately, led by an external recruitment company, marking a new chapter in the BGC’s journey to steer the igaming industry towards higher standards and responsible growth.

Since its inception, the BGC has been at the forefront of promoting responsible igaming practices. In 2020, the Council committed to increasing its contributions to Research, Education, and Treatment (RET) services, dedicating over £100 million to charities addressing gambling-related harm and problem gambling. This initiative underscores the BGC’s dedication to social responsibility within the igaming industry.

BGC members have also enhanced their focus on safer gambling messaging across advertising platforms. They have pledged 20% of their TV, radio, and online advertising space to promote safer gambling messages and provide resources for those seeking help. Additionally, the implementation of the Whistle to Whistle ban has notably reduced the exposure of young people to gambling advertisements during live sports events.

Further measures undertaken by the BGC include introducing cooling-off periods on gaming machines, advocating the use of safer gambling tools such as timeouts and deposit limits, and enforcing new ID and age verification checks. The BGC has also implemented a code of conduct restricting football clubs from using social media, popular among the youth, for direct marketing related to betting odds and sites.

The BGC has been instrumental in advocating for several measures included in the Government’s White Paper. These include frictionless enhanced spending checks online, establishing a new Ombudsman for customer redress, and advancing modest yet crucial modernization plans for the land-based casino sector, along with mandatory RET contributions. Currently, the BGC is engaged in eight consultations and 62 workstreams, collaborating with members, the government, and regulators to elevate industry standards.

The BGC’s contribution to the economy is substantial, supporting over 110,000 jobs, generating £7.1 billion for the economy, and contributing £4.2 billion in taxes to fund essential public services. BGC members are integral to various sectors, including betting shops on high streets, the hospitality, leisure, and tourism industries through land-based casinos and bingo, and online gaming through leading technology firms.

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