Michael Dugher, Chief Executive of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) expects changes to come to the UK’s gambling sector – regardless of any reviews the government makes to the 2005 Gambling Act. 

In an interview for the iGB Gambling Review podcast, he said that the BGC would be proactive with player safety and not “sit back and wait for a review”. 

The council introduced new social media advertising measures for its members this month, with other ad changes also being proposed by other bodies in recent weeks. 

The gambling industry is responsible for itself 

The UK gambling industry has introduced voluntary measures in recent years, including the whistle-to-whistle advertising ban for live sporting events. In the podcast episode, Dugher said that the BGC is happy to take the initiative and introduce further improvements. 

He said: “It’s important that the gambling industry takes action itself. We’re not just going to sit back and wait for a review. 

“The BGC is not merely a representative trade body. It absolutely will be a standards body. It will work round-the-clock to drive higher standards across this industry.” 

The necessity of balance 

Dugher also said that the upcoming Gambling Act review is a necessity. He argues that politicians and stakeholders can use it to improve player safety. However, the former Labour MP also believes any regulatory changes should also consider responsible gamblers.

He went on to say the following:

“We’ve got to get the balance right between protecting the vulnerable and also protecting the millions who do enjoy the occasional bet and protecting those players safely.

“We do have to make this review have a really big focus on problem gambling. It may only be a tiny minority of people who are problem gamblers, but any person is one person too many. It’s a chance to tackle problem gambling, and from the industry’s point of view, we want to see some big changes. 

“But we have to listen to everyone, and that includes the customers who enjoy the occasional bet but are not problem gamblers. They’re an important voice in our industry, and they have their views on the industry that need to be heard.”

Player safety in the UK has been a talking point this year 

One of the main gambling-related talking points in 2020 has been ensuring the safety of consumers. Payment methods are one area of discussion, with the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) implementing a credit card ban in mid-April. 

In addition to the above, the BGC tightened social media advertising measures for its members. Operators must not target users aged under 25, unless they can prove that their ads are effectively targeted at over-18s. Moreover, YouTube viewers can only see gambling ads if their account is age-verified. 

Elsewhere, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) opened a consultancy period on proposed ad regulation changes last week. Their alterations include the banning of celebrities in related content.