A report from the Social Market Foundation suggested that the UK economy would be better off without gambling.
UK.- The industry association the Betting and Gaming Council has heavily criticised a report that claims the UK economy would be stronger if fewer people spent money on gambling.
The report from the think tank the Social Market Foundation claims the economy would be stronger if people substituted their gambling spend for other activities.
Entitled “Double or nothing? Assessing the economic impact of gambling”, the report said the economy would be stronger if money spent on gambling was instead spent on food and retail goods because they have “higher economic multipliers”.
According to the report, the UK gambling industry had a gross value added (GVA) of £8bn in 2019, an increase of 45 per cent from 2010, while the industry’s share of UK economic output increased from 0.3 per cent to 0.4 per cent.
It said that the industry directly contributed 0.6 per cent of central government revenues, contributing around £4.3bn.
The report comes as the UK government conducts a review of current gambling legislation with a view to make wholesale reforms.
Social Market Foundation research director Scott Corfe said: “Sensible reform of gambling regulation could reduce the societal costs of problem gambling and realise economic gains.
“To achieve that, the government should commission an urgent review of the social and economic costs of gambling, commencing in 2021 and concluding in line with the timeframe of the Gambling Act Review.
“No final decisions on legislative review should be made until the Treasury has conducted an assessment of the economic and social costs of each policy change.”
Michael Dugher, CEO of the Betting and Gaming Council, claimed that the report was “fantasy”.
He said: “If people were restricted from betting in the regulated industry, they would simply migrate to the growing unlicensed, unsafe black market that employs no one, pays no tax and contributes nothing to UK plc. To think otherwise is, at best, naive.
“It’s disappointing but unsurprising that anti-gambling prohibitionists seek to deliberately downplay the economic contribution the industry makes, just because they don’t like the industry.
“They should stop looking down their noses at the people who enjoy a bet or who work in the industry.”