The UK industry body has highlighted the importance of the sector’s funding for sports.
UK.- The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has told the UK’s parliamentary Culture, Media and Sport Committee to keep in mind the financial support the gaming sector provides for sport in the upcoming review of gambling legislation.
The UK is to overhaul the 2005 Gambling Act, with many proposals on the table to tighten restrictions on game design, promotions and stake limits.
The BGC reminded the committee in its submission that sports from horseracing and football to snooker and rugby rely on funds from the betting industry, especially in light of the Covid-19 pandemic limiting other sources of revenue.
It warned that overly restrictive measures could drive players to unlicensed operators and limit the industry’s ability to provide this support.
BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said: “We welcome the Government’s imminent gambling review, which will examine the financial relationship between sports such as football, rugby league, horseracing, snooker and darts and betting operators.
“The industry’s importance to these popular national pastimes shows why it’s vital that the Government gets the balance right, and does not drive punters towards the illegal, online black market, who have no interest in supporting sport either at a grassroots or national level.”
The BGC noted that sponsorship agreements provide £40m a year to English Football League clubs and £10m a year to snooker and darts.
It highlighted the industry’s voluntary decision to pay extra fees on racing streaming and data up until December 2 to help the sector compensate for lost revenue due to the second Covid-19 lockdown in England.
Dugher said: “The financial impact of the pandemic has been keenly felt by a range of sports, and I’m delighted that the betting and gaming industry has been able to step in to help out.”
“The sectors would not exist without the sponsorship, levies and media rights payments paid by the betting sector, and so too there would be no product to bet on.
“Some sports are living on a knife-edge because of the ongoing ban on spectators, so the funding provided by our members is even more important than usual.”