BGC: Dugher warns strict gambling regulations would alienate public

BGC: Dugher warns strict gambling regulations would alienate public

The chief executive of the BGC has continued his final volley as the UK government prepares to draw up new gambling legislation.

UK.- Michael Dugher, chief executive of the industry standards and lobby group the Betting and Gaming Council, has warned the UK government that overly strict gambling regulations would alienate it from public opinion.

Writing in the House of Commons news site, Politics Home, Dugher reflected on the results of this month’s local elections in the UK and how gambling legislation fits in with the politics of the ruling Conservative Party.

He said: “For the Conservatives, results showed predictable mid-term blues and whilst there were warning signs of trouble ahead, results were not entirely catastrophic.”

However, he highlighted current economic headwinds and the words of David Canzini, prime minister Boris Johson’s new deputy chief of staff, who insisted that “Conservative governments don’t legislate their way to economic growth”.

Again Dugher criticised “anti-gambling prohibitionists” saying their “default position is just to ban stuff”. He said they were “determined to use a pseudo public health approach as a Trojan horse to deliver draconian state regulations over how millions of individuals choose to spend their time and their own money”.

He suggested that the public would not welcome many of the campaigners’ proposals, which include strict affordability checks, a £2 stake limit for online slots and a statutory levy to fund gambling harm treatment and prevention.

He said: “Polling backs up much of this anger. A YouGov poll for the BGC found almost 60 per cent of punters thought the government should not be allowed to set limits on how much money they could bet.”

He added: “The government needs to tread carefully. Ministers might not like a bet themselves. But millions of people do. Gambling regulation won’t decide the next election. But people think politicians in Westminster live on a different planet as it is. Telling the good voters what they can and cannot do with their own money won’t help.”

Earlier this month, Dugher wrote an op-ed piece in the Daily Telegraph with another warning on the dangers of tightening regulations on the licensed gaming market. He began by attacking the anti-gambling “prohibitionists”.

The UK government’s review of gambling legislation should – we think – be about complete. For months, gambling minister Chris Philp has been promising the delayed gambling white paper proposing new regulations would be “coming soon”.

British associations publish safer design code for gaming machines

The three major British gaming operator associations, Bacta, the Bingo Association and the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), have finalised a joint safer design code for land-based gaming machines. Work on the code began over two years ago in a Gambling Commission industry working group.

The new land-based gaming machine design code includes a ban against gaming machines showing “losses disguised as wins” in which machines use visuals or music to celebrate a player win despite the win being less than the original stake.

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