Responding to the launch of the government’s Gambling Review, Michael Dugher, chief executive of the Betting and Gaming Council, said: “As the standards body for the regulated industry, we strongly welcome the launch of the Government’s Review. We called for it to be wide-ranging and evidence-led, and it provides an important opportunity to drive further changes on safer gambling introduced by the industry in the past year.
“Problem gambling may be low at around 0.7 per cent and as the DCMS has said there is no evidence that it has increased in the last 20 years, but one problem gambler is one too many. So I hope Ministers will focus in with laser-like precision on problem gamblers and those at risk. The Government must ensure that any changes do not drive people to the unregulated black market online, where there aren’t any safeguards to protect vulnerable people.
“Our members do not allow betting by under-18s, so we welcome in particular confirmation of the Government’s decision to ban 16 and 17-year-olds from playing the National Lottery. It’s got to be one rule for all.
“The review must also take account of the huge economic contribution made by the betting and gaming industry, which employs over 100,000 people. This includes £8.7 billion a year in Gross Value Added and over £3.2 billion to HM Treasury in tax. In addition, horse racing receives over £350 million per year through the horse racing industry levy, media rights and sponsorships, while betting companies spend over £40m a year on the English Football League and its clubs.
“Other sports, including rugby league, snooker and darts also receive millions of pounds in sponsorship from our members, while casinos contribute over £120 million to the tourism economy each year.
“Millions of people enjoy an occasional flutter on sports, on bingo, on the Lottery, in casinos and online. I hope that everyone has their say in the Review – including millions of customers who enjoy betting safely, as well as the hardworking men and women employed in the industry.”