BGC: The Government should treat betting like booze

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Dugher opens up about the upcoming Gambling Act Review

In a statement on the Betting and Gaming Council's official website, Michael Dugher wrote his opinions on the upcoming Gambling Act Review and his thoughts on the gambling industry in general.

Dugher is the CEO of the Betting and Gaming Council as well as being the former Shadow Secretary of State for DCMS.

Opening views

He opens up by stating that everyone has been waiting more than a year for the outcome of the review criticising that the Government has changed ministers multiple times during this progress with Chris Philp only appointment in September 2021.

Dugher goes on further to say that gambling should be treated like alcohol as “it's something millions of people do and where the vast majority are able to enjoy it responsibly, but where sadly a small minority can have a problem.”

On anti-gambling protestors

According to the Betting and Gaming Council, 22.5 million adults enjoy betting and gaming each month whether that's on lottery or bingo. This hasn't stopped anti-gambling protestors calling for “draconian, arbitrary measures to clampdown on everyone who enjoys a bet” said Dugher.

These anti-gambling protestors want to make people “believe having a flutter poses the same risks as having a cigarette” but this approach “risks disproportionate policy responses to what the Government promised would be an ‘evidence-led’ review.”

“Needs to do more to better educate people”

Dugher mentions that those who want betting and gaming to be treated like alcohol, need a “tough regulatory approach that prevents young people accessing it, that ensures responsible and strictly regulated advertising, that needs to do more to better educate people and raise awareness of the dangers.”

He added: “If you treat betting like tobacco, that leads you to the wish list from the anti-betting lobby who want to tell people what they should be allowed to spend, as well as banning everything from advertising, sports sponsorship and even offers to consumers.”

“Rates of problem gambling had been falling”

There are new figures released from the Gambling Commission that showed “that rates of problem gambling had been falling, according to the regulator it is 0.3 per cent – down from 0.6 per cent 18 months ago.“

Problem gamblers have dropped from 340,000 to 170,000 and although it's low by international standards, it's still “too high which is why we need to target more help to problem gamblers and those at risk.“

Closing statement

In a recent Gambling Reform Rally, Chris Philp stated that change is coming which Dugher agrees - but this reform will also be a test for the Government.

“These are often complex issues and getting future regulation right, so that it is genuinely balanced and proportionate, will require careful handling and considerable political skill.“