BGC backs industry's support for good causes

BGC backs industry's support for good causes - Banner
Paul Clare
by Paul Clare Last updated:

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) returned with its Grand National ‘Charity Bet’ campaign this year. The campaign raised £15,115 for good causes, surpassing last year's £11,000 total. Beneficiaries this year include Sir Jackie Stewart's Race for Dementia and The Fed, a Manchester-based social care charity.

The BGC, which represents licensed gambling operators in the UK, signed up more than 50 MPs from both sides of the House to take part in the event. In the run up to the Grand National, participating MPs were given £50 to wager. All winnings were donated to a charity of their choice

The MPs who backed winner, I Am Maximus ridden by Paul Townend, included Christian Wakeford, Maria Caulfield, Greg Smith, Peter Aldous and Preet Gill.

The campaign in particular aimed to highlight the importance of the Grand National as a UK cultural event, with some 13 million adults in the UK estimated to have had a bet this year. The MPs' bets were placed at local betting shops across the UK, helping support some 42,000 vital jobs on UK high streets.

The BGC’s campaign is in line with moves from others in the industry to support the wider community. Operators already give generously to charity, with some raising millions for charities and good causes across the UK.

Paddy Power’s £1 million for prostate cancer

Paddy Power donated £1 million to Prostate Cancer UK in late 2023, thanks to The Big 180 – an initiative in conjunction with the Professional Darts Corporation and Prostate Cancer UK. Paddy Power agreed to donate £1,000 for every 180 thrown at the 2023 World Darts Championship.

Some 914 maximums were thrown over the course of the championships, which Paddy Power rounded up to 1,000 for a full £1 million donation. The funds have gone to help Prostate Cancer UK in its life-saving research and support work. 100,000 men were checked for prostate cancer during the course of the tournament.

This fundraiser is just one example of the work carried out by parent company Flutter across its different brands, which also includes the likes of Betfair. This kind of social good is of tremendous value, both for prostate cancer sufferers and their families, and for investment in support and future treatment.

Entain’s £100 million commitment over 5 years

In late 2020 gambling group Entain committed to a 100 million investment in good causes over 5 years. Since then, Entain has supported the work of its partner organisations and charities, including over £18 million to support safer gambling initiatives, £900,000 in grassroots sports and £1 million in DE&I in 2022 alone.

In 2023, the Entain Foundation upped its voluntary contributions to RET to 1% of revenue, in line with the expected mandatory levy coming down the tracks in the government’s review of gambling regulation. By 2030, the foundation aims to impact the lives of 1 million people.

As the parent company behind the likes of Party Casino, Gala Spins, Foxy Games and Ladbrokes Bingo, Entain is one of the largest players in the UK gambling sector. And with the level of financial support they're providing, their commitment to good causes is indisputable.

Rank Cares raises over £1.85 million for Carers Trust

Rank Interactive, the company behind Grosvenor Casino and Mecca Bingo, helps various charities and good causes through its Rank Cares initiative. As well as running charity bingo games on behalf of organisations like Carers Trust, Rank Cares has also seen its employees donate over 10,000 hours of time to community causes.

From fundraising initiatives that have included leg-waxing, head shaving and 24 hour karaoke sessions, plus donations from Rank Interactive customers, Rank Cares has raised £1,852,611 for the Carers Trust and other organisations. In the past year alone, Rank Cares raised £333,162 – another example of industry support for good causes in wider society.

GambleAware, RET and the mandatory levy

Many operators already choose to donate voluntarily to RET – research, education and treatment for tackling problem gambling. Last year, the charity raised £46.5 million in donations, of which 92% came from the four largest gambling operators in the UK.

GambleAware currently does some excellent work supporting those suffering from gambling harms, along with their families and wider networks. The National Gambling Helpline is one of many practical resources funded by the body, which aims to raise awareness of the risks of gambling harms, and the support available.

Both the BGC and the gambling industry directly acknowledge the need for supporting good causes – even beyond responsible gambling messaging and support for problem gambling. As things stand, gambling charities are well funded by industry donations, not to mention the support heading to other socially important bodies.

With a mandatory RET levy due to be introduced, all operators could soon be required to contribute a share of revenue. While the proposed 1% is already being met by operators like Entain, it’s a move that will only increase the already significant resourcing of charities as a direct upshot of the regulated gambling industry.