As the outcome of the review of the 2005 Gambling Act looms, MPs have continued to express their support for the betting and gaming industry, in particular its economic contributions.
Making a guest appearance at a Ladbrokes high-street betting shop in Arnold, Nottinghamshire, Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) CEO Michael Dugher and Gedling MP Tom Randall reiterated their views.
Speaking to the camera, Randall discussed the recent conclusion of safer gambling week, whilst also acknowledging the contribution the betting industry makes to employment in the UK, such as providing jobs to retail workers.
He remarked: “They’re creating apprenticeships as well, which is great news, but it’s important to gamble responsibly. It’s been great to hear about the take time thing campaign that they’ve been helping to run to ensure that gambling does take place but it takes place in as safe an environment as possible.”
Dugher, meanwhile, took the opportunity to once again promote the financial contribution the betting and gaming industry makes to the British economy, pointing out its impact on employment, public funding via taxation and support for sports such as horse racing.
“I want to say a big thank you to Tom for showing his support for high streets like this in his constituency for supporting good local jobs and investment in this local area,” he said.
“Betting and gaming support the jobs of nearly 120,000 people, we pay £4.5 billion in tax and shops like this help to generate hundreds of millions of pounds to sports like horse racing,”
Dugher also highlighted the launch of the BGC’s ‘Take Time to Think’ campaign, a replacement of its previous ‘When the Fun Stops, Stop’ initiative.
The new message has been created with the goal of encouraging bettors to use safer gambling tools such as deposit limits.
However, although MPs such as Randall – as well as Scott Benton and Philip Davies – are supportive of the betting and gaming industry, this sentiment does not stretch across all seats of parliament.
A notable stakeholder in the review of the UK’s gambling legislation is the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling Related Harm (GRH APPG), chaired by Carolyn Harris MP, which reiterates calls for tougher restrictions on gambling, such as clampdowns on sponsorship and other forms of advertising.
Meanwhile, senior Conservative Party member Ian Duncan Smith who leads the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) think-tank, has described gambling as a ‘perilous addiction’ and a ‘very real threat’ to communities.