Members of Parliament from various political affiliations gained a deeper understanding of the regulated betting and gaming industry, and its contributions to employment, economic growth, and local communities, at informative sessions held by the Betting and Gaming Council during the conference season.
During the Conservative Party Conference, the BGC hosted Stuart Andrew MP, the DCMS Minister responsible for Gambling, at Metropolitan Gaming’s Manchester235 Casino, where he had the opportunity to meet staff.
At the Labour Party Conference, the BGC welcomed newly appointed Shadow Minister for Gambling Stephanie Peacock MP at Rank’s Grosvenor Casino in Liverpool, to hear more about the casino sector.
Meanwhile, the BGC also attended the Liberal Democrat Party Conference to take part in a series of roundtables on support for SMEs, the importance of the high street, and combatting fraud.
The Minister and Shadow Minister also had the opportunity to meet other members of the BGC representing retail bookmakers on high streets and the online sector to learn more about the industry, which the council notes supports 110,000 jobs nationwide.
Michael Dugher, BGC CEO, said: “It was fantastic to host Stuart Andrew MP and Stephanie Peacock MP during conference season, where we were able to once again showcase the terrific contribution our members are making across the nation.”
“There is a danger that the voice of people who work in the industry, as well as the millions of ordinary punters, can get lost. So, it was great to see ministers, shadow ministers, and other parliamentarians engaging with the BGC at the party conferences ahead of a general election in the next year,” he added.
The conference events took place at casinos, which the BGC described as “timely” given that these establishments are awaiting the “mission-critical modernization proposals” outlined in April’s White Paper, including allowing sports betting at venues and changes to the rules governing the number of gaming machines casinos can offer.
The council notes casinos play a vital pillar in the tourism and hospitality sector, employing more than 10,000 people and catering to over 16 million customer visits every year. They contribute £300 million ($316.1 million) annually in taxes and an estimated £800 million ($843.1 million) a year Gross Value Added to the economy, as per BGC data.
However, some have struggled to rebound from the pandemic and the current tough economic headwinds, which have seen closures and job losses. In 2005 there were 160 casinos in the UK while now there are 118, including three casinos that have closed in recent months.
Each month, around 22.5 million adults bet in Great Britain on sports, and online as well as in bookmakers, bingo, and casinos. Across the industry, including the online sector and bookmakers on high streets, regulated betting and gaming supports 110,000 jobs, raises £4.2 billion ($5.08 billion) in taxes, and contributes £7.1 billion ($8.6 million) to the economy, BGC data reveals.
“The debate around betting and gaming is often noisy, ill-informed, and misleading. So it is vital the BGC and our members engage with MPs so they can see for themselves what our operators offer and the lengths they go to ensuring betting continues to be a safe and entertaining hobby for the many millions who enjoy it responsibly,” Dugher added.