UK Betting and Gaming Council chief executive Michael Dugher has called on Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak to deliver a “Budget for jobs” when he stands up in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
According to the BGC boss, the regulated betting and gaming industry is “ready, willing and able” to assist the UK Treasury in the post-pandemic economic recovery. According to a report shared earlier this year by EY, BGC members support 119,000 jobs, generate £4.5 billion in tax and contribute £7.7 billion to the economy in gross value added.
“They already support tens of thousands of jobs across the UK, helping to generate billions of pounds in revenue for the Treasury, and with ambitious plans for further expansion in the years to come,” said Dugher in a statement on Monday.
Remarking on these economic contributions, Dugher said the regulated industry’s commitment to ensuring Britain builds back better from the pandemic can also be seen in BGC members’ having pledged to create 5,000 apprenticeships by 2025 through their support for the Government’s Plan For Jobs.
Additionally, regulated operators are also signing up to the Government’s own Kick Start scheme to provide job opportunities for 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit, as well as rolling out graduate recruitment schemes that would offer career paths “for young people straight from university.”
As the Chancellor prepares to deliver the Budget on Wednesday, the UK casino industry considers there still exists uncertainty resulting from the pandemic: betting shops and casinos are getting back on their feet following extended lockdowns, a momentum BGC claims could mean major contributions to the economy, but only if the industry receives much-needed support.
Dugher claimed it was “critical” that Sunak comes up with a Budget that supports hard-pressed high streets and the badly-hit hospitality sector, while promoting “continued growth” in Britain’s tech companies, including online betting and gaming firms.
“I, therefore, hope that the Chancellor delivers a Budget for jobs which will help to repair the damage done by Covid, sustain the economic recovery and – with the full support of the regulated betting and gaming industry – help Britain to build back better,” said the BGC chief executive.
The industry body for UK betting and gaming also reiterated its contributions to sports, stating its members also help to fund horseracing to the tune of £350 million through sponsorship, media rights and the betting levy, and provide £40 million for the English Football League and its clubs, and millions more for rugby league, darts and snooker.
Remarking on this support for sports doesn’t seem like a coincidence, as sponsorship agreements between clubs and betting companies are under scrutiny amidst the ongoing review of the 2005 Gambling Act.
The Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) is likely to propose changes in the sponsorship system, with local media reporting it could be outlawed by 2023. While foreign betting firms are expected to be the biggest target of the measure, the DCMS is allegedly also weighing up whether to ban UK-based firms from the front of football shirts as well.