Standards Body the BGC Welcomes New Secretary of State, and Urges White Paper Publication “Without Delay”
Standards body the Betting and Gaming Council has congratulated Lucy Frazer MP on becoming the new Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, and urged her to publish the Gambling White Paper without delay.
BGC chief executive Michael Dugher welcomed her appointment to Cabinet on behalf of the 110,000 people whose jobs rely on the regulated betting and gaming industry.
As part of the reshuffle, Julia Lopez MP and Stuart Andrew MP remain as ministers in the department.
Michael Dugher urged the new Secretary of State, and her Ministerial team, to continue the Department’s positive engagement with the regulated betting and gaming sector and finalise the Gambling White Paper, which he said should be published, “as soon as possible”.
Michael Dugher said: “On behalf of the 110,000 people whose jobs rely on our members – we would like to warmly welcome Lucy on her new appointment. I know she is someone who is liked and respected across Parliament, and her appointment comes at a critical time for our industry. From high streets to hospitality, from tourism to tech, our members generate £4.2bn in taxes for the Treasury and contribute £7.1bn to the economy in gross value added.
“There are still issues to finalise, but the long-awaited package of welcome reforms should be published without delay. We hope the new Secretary of State will listen to racing and to the millions of punters who are concerned about blanket, intrusive, low-level ‘affordability’ checks driving people to the unsafe unregulated black market online. We also hope that as a sector supporting jobs and investment in the UK, recovering from the pandemic and facing tough economic headwinds, she will reject calls for any new taxes on the industry.
“We continue to call for big changes so that standards in safer gambling continue to improve, but these changes must be carefully targeted to protect the small minority who are at risk or vulnerable, and not interfere with the overwhelming majority who enjoy betting safely and responsibly.
“We have already called for an ombudsman to improve consumer redress and have engaged extensively with previous ministers. It’s time now for the Government to end the damaging uncertainty and get on with publishing the white paper as soon as possible’.”
Around 22.5 million adults in the UK have a bet each month, whether it’s buying a lottery ticket, having a game of bingo, visiting a casino, gaming online or having a wager on football, horseracing and other popular sports.
Meanwhile, problem gambling rates in the UK are low by international standards, according to the independent regulator. The latest figures from the Gambling Commission show 0.3 per cent of the adult population are problem gamblers, down from 0.4 per cent the previous.
The Betting and Gaming Council was established in 2019 and represents over 90 per cent of the regulated industry including retail betting shops, online betting and gaming operators, casinos and bingo operators.