BGC: betting and gaming makes a huge contribution to the UK economy

An Ernst & Young report, commissioned by the Betting and Gaming Council, has documented that members of the industry standards association contributed £7.7bn in gross value added to the UK economy in 2019.

The findings comes ahead of a major shake-up of the region’s gambling laws, with a call for evidence as part of the Gambling Act review due to close on March 31.

It has previously been suggested that the review will transform ‘an analogue law in a digital age,’ with a range of measures, such as stake and spend limits, advertising and promotional offers, among those to be looked at.

The review into the Gambling Act was marked as a key pledge in Boris Johnson’s election manifesto, with ministers expected to produce a white paper on future regulation of the industry later in the year.

“At a time of economic fears and huge pressures on public finances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the huge contribution betting and gaming makes to UK plc could not be more important,” explained Michael Dugher, chief executive of the BGC.

“This latest, authoritative report by EY sets out in black and white the vital role they play in helping to fund the public services upon which we all rely.

“As the standards body representing the regulated industry, the BGC fully supports the government’s gambling review plus the need for continued higher safer gambling standards and more change to regulation.

“However, it is vital that the government get those changes right and does nothing to put at risk the future jobs and tax take of a growing, world-leading British industry”.

According to the EY report, in 2019 the BGC’s members, made up of betting shops, casinos and online, directly employed 61,000 people, with a further 58,000 jobs generated by their supply chains.

It is added that nearly one-fifth of those employed in the industry (19 per cent) are under 25, with more than half (51 per cent) under 35. 22,000 of the 61,000 direct jobs are based in the north of England and Scotland, and 15,000 in London.

Furthermore, EY also found that BGC members directly contributed £3.2bn in tax to the Exchequer in 2019, accounting for 0.4 per cent of all Treasury revenues. When taxes paid through the supply chain are added, this rises to £4.5bn.

The report also highlighted that since the beginning of 2020, 374 betting shops and six casinos have closed, with an estimated loss of 5,000 jobs.

“From hospitality to high streets, the betting and gaming industry makes a huge contribution to the UK economy. Casinos in London alone contribute £120m to the tourism sector, and look forward to being open once again,” added Brigid Simmonds, chairman of the BGC.

“The contribution made to the Treasury by the betting and gaming sector, its support for sport and the jobs they offer to young people, so many of them highly skilled, are absolutely vital, especially in these uncertain times.”