BSC asks Government to support high street bookies

Viktor Vangelov | Published 14 Sep 2020, 2:53 p.m.

The UKGC has been very active in the past several years, both in terms of launching new initiatives, as well as investigations into numerous operators. However, there has been a lot of criticism as well. A lot of stakeholders, individuals and organisations, criticise the UKGC for either not doing enough, or for doing a lot to restrict and limit UK gambling, particularly the online aspect.

For instance, the House of Lords issued a report which calls for drastic changes in the gambling legislation, including, among other things an end to gambling shirt sponsorships. The risk of having gambling content being presented to people who are under the age of 18 was also mentioned, together with 64 other recommendations.

At the end of August, the Gambling Commission and their plans and activities entered the public eye once again. Namely, the Commission announced that they intend to lay staff off and that has been met with criticism.

Now, the Betting and Gaming Council, an organisation that has been very active in the past few months has called on the Government and asked them to do more to support retail operations.

UK bookies employ 40,000 people

While online gambling has been a public discussion topic lately, retail gambling remains an integral part of the industry as a whole. Yes, of course operators are inclined to keep this branch of the industry alive, after all it is a source of income, but it should be noted that retail gambling generates a large number of jobs and is in the interest of the Government to prevent further job losses.

The BSC now asks politicians and other stakeholders to put a lot of effort to preserve and support the retail industry. The chairman of the Council, Brigid Simmonds, said that due to the restrictions that have been imposed on a number of retail operations during the lockdown period a lot of bookies and brick and mortar casinos have suffered great losses and are still struggling to achieve a fraction of their 2019 revenue.

The economy is still in recession, and Simmonds added that this makes the move even more so important as these high street venues are both contributing to the Treasury in taxes but are also vital for local economies across the UK.

About 7,000 betting shops employ a total of 40,000 people and that fact alone shows exactly why this branch of the industry is so important. Simmonds also went on record to say that many venues were forced to pay high rent rates despite the fact that they remained close, and while they were permitted to reopen in August, with the decreased number of foreign visitors their revenue figures have fallen dramatically.

Establishment of Irish regulator postponed

While Britain is looking to reform her gambling regulatory body, the Irish are have trouble launching theirs. It has been reported that the country’s Minister for Justice has stated that the establishment of the regulator will be postponed by at least 2021. The department reinforced their position that they are remaining heavily focused and working on a plan for the launch.

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