Bold steps are being asked from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, as the Betting and Gaming Council has called on him, ahead his first budget delivery tomorrow, to help retail betting industry and tackle the £1.4 billion online black-market.
Speaking For Its Members
The single industry association for betting and gaming, representing betting shops, online gaming businesses and casinos, the Betting and Gaming Council, has come forward with specific measures to urge a reform regarding outdated business rate regimes, casino taxation and the issue of offshore gambling companies.
The BGC outlines that due to the introduction of the maximum stake of £2 for FOBTs last April, more than 1,500 street betting retail shops were shut down, and asked for more businesses to be able to apply for the small business rate relief, a measure that allows businesses in properties worth less than £51,000 to pay lower tax for non-domestic property occupation.
“An antiquated business rates regime does nothing to help struggling high streets hit by a drop in footfall. Bookies and casinos help attract people to our town centres but once they’re gone there are few if any retailers to step in to take their place.
“We welcomed the Government’s commitment to an Online Harms Bill as an opportunity to clamp down on the black-market and the big platform search engines promoting these sites.
“Unlike rogue black-market operators, BGC members in the regulated sector adhere to the highest standards – including zero tolerance on under-18s betting.
“We ask the Chancellor to press for change that will help boost Exchequer revenues and stop unlicensed operators from preying on vulnerable consumers.”Michael Dugher, CEO, BGC
Another major area of concern for the BGC is the online gambling black market, and the association is calling on the government for help tackle the issue that is not only posing a danger for the Under-18 rule due to offshore operators having no strict ID and age verification measures, but also is leading to loss in terms of taxes and fees.
Tackle Illegal Gambling Operators
The association that represents 90% of the licensed gambling operators in the UK is asking for stricter enforcement actions implemented in the government’s Online Harms Bill to crack down on unlicensed operators targeting consumers in the UK and represent a threat to the legal gaming companies that operate within the regulatory framework in the UK.
According to a survey the BGC conducted in February, an estimated 200,000 people have used a product from a non-licensed gaming company for the past 12 months, with every 4 out of 10 internet searches related to offshore gambling operators, leading to 27 million UK IP visits to black-market gambling websites.