Michael Dugher, Chief Executive of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) Single Industry Representative Body, stated that in a time of national crisis, UK gambling will support the Government.
On Friday, the BGC released its ‘compulsory action plan’ outlining 10 steps to strengthen corporate social responsibility and customer expectations that would be adhered to by all members of the BGC during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Core member commitments include growing website-wide safer gambling updates, successful promotion of deposit limits and safer gambling resources, monitoring of fraudulent ads and improving consumer welfare reviews.
Dugher said: “In this time of national emergency, with many of us self-isolating and experiencing social distancing, away from our friends and family, we need to come together as a country and watch out and look after each other. And as CEO of the new betting and gaming standards body, the BGC, I know that this also applies to our members too.”
The action plan supports requests from the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) that industry operators show ‘heightened consumer protection’ and responsible marketing at a time when customers are in lockdown or isolation.
Dugher replied to political concerns about the gambling involvement during the isolation period which led the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) to call for a £ 50 daily spending cap to be enforced.
To APPG’s fears, Dugher pointed to COVID-19 facts that see a whole sector kneecapped by the reduction of its retail presence (bookmakers and casinos), coupled with the blanket cancellation of global sporting facilities.
He added: “The idea that the COVID-19 crisis will lead to a boom in betting is just plain wrong. I understand why the prohibitionists and anti-gambling campaigners want to give that impression, but the reality is that operators have been posting warnings to the market as revenues slide dramatically.”
Dugher closed the list of commitments by affirming that leaders of the BGC were committed to supporting the ‘Global Initiative’ of the government in supporting health networks and emergency services battling COVID-19.
“Britain is at its best when we come together,” he said. “We will come through this crisis, in which we all have a role to play.
“I am determined that our industry plays its full part in the Government’s ‘National Effort’ – whether that’s in helping with volunteers or resources or facilities. But it also means us helping to protect people most at risk in these extraordinarily difficult and challenging times. I am determined that we do just that.”