A day before the head of the largest lobby organization for the UK gambling business is scheduled to come before a parliamentary committee, the organization was being accused of making false comments about the regulation of the £10bn (USD 13bn)-a-year sector.
As part of their examination of government measures to enhance gambling regulation, members of the Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport were supposed to interview Michael Dugher, CEO of the Betting & Gaming Council (BGC).
Michael Dugher, CEO of BGC, was scheduled to testify before a DCMS committee on Tuesday. The conference was to review the government’s suggestions from its white paper, which was released around two months ago, confirmed by UK gambling site CasinoGambler.co.uk.
Accusations of Data Manipulation
Lord Foster, a Liberal Democrat lord, emailed committee members on Monday afternoon to express his doubts about the BGC’s credibility.
Foster claims that the BGC has been manipulating data on the gambling sector to discourage support for changes to the industry. The lawmaker has become skeptical of the gambling sector’s advocacy organization as a consequence.
The Rise of Illegal Betting Sites
Foster wrote to the Guardian after reading a news release on a survey commissioned by BGC that predicted a rise in the usage of illegal betting sites between November 2022 and December 2022, when the World Cup would be held in Qatar.
The lobbying organization issued a statement in a press release claiming that the results of the investigation revealed how gamblers might be driven into the arms of illicit gambling operators if the government overregulated the business.
However, Yield Sec, a company that specializes in gambling research, never released its whole study. According to a copy of the data acquired by the Guardian, despite the growth, the parallel market still only accounts for just 1% of total gaming revenue in the United Kingdom.
In an interview after the press release’s January publication, Dugher warned against “blanket intrusive affordability checks” by the government to ensure gamblers can pay their losses. Affordability checks were not mentioned as a reason for the existence of the parallel market in gaming.
According to the findings of a survey that was carried out for the Racing Post, an overwhelming majority of respondents were afraid that the implementation of affordability checks would lead to an increase in the usage of illicit sites.
The London Underground Parallel Betting Market
Foster said before the committee that he did not believe the BGC had been “fully accurate” in its portrayal of the report or the scope of the parallel market.
Instead of giving up on efforts to further regulate the gambling sector, he said that “proper enforcement to disrupt the operations of these sites” was the best way to deal with the underground market.
In addition, Foster voiced his displeasure about “other instances when the BGC has not been entirely accurate” in stating its view on rules.
Dugher tweeted in December 2022 that the lobby organization “fully and publicly supported” a ban on credit card gambling.
Contrary to what may be expected, “none” of the online gaming corporations reportedly backed such a policy during the consultation stage, according to a study issued by the Gaming Commission in 2020.
Moreover, the BGC has claimed on many occasions that a voluntary industry prohibition on advertising during televised sports has drastically decreased the number of gambling advertisements viewed by youngsters by 97%. In reality, 70% was the real figure.
The BGC repeatedly neglected to clarify that the larger number applied exclusively to the shorter duration of the voluntary prohibition and to television alone.
A Future With Healthy Gambling
The BGC said in April that its members would bring in a required fee on gambling corporations to finance addiction research, education and treatment after the government indicated it was contemplating such a step.
Nevertheless, in May of 2022, Dugher said that it would be a “big step backwards” in terms of addressing the problems that gambling may cause.
The BGC said in a statement that it has “introduced scores of new safer betting and gaming measures, including ensuring our members devote 20% of all TV and radio advertising to safer gambling messaging – backed by our groundbreaking Take Time to Think campaign.” The Yield Sec study’s conclusions were published appropriately, and it was commissioned to investigate the size of the underground, unregulated gambling industry that is expanding rapidly online.