Betting industry’s sports contribution highlighted in BGC report

A recent report commissioned by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has focused on the financial contribution made by the industry to the UK’s sports sector and the wider economy.

The study, conducted by Ernst & Young, highlighted the £40 million received by the English Football League (EFL) and its clubs from the industry, in addition to over £10 million to darts and snooker and more than £2.5 million for rugby league.

More significantly, the sport of horse racing benefits from over £350 million through sponsorship, media rights and betting levy payments.

The report has been published as the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) moves forward with its review of the 2005 Gambling Act, with the relationship between sports and betting under increasing scrutiny.

A number of Premier League football clubs held a meeting last Thursday to discuss the tournament’s continued association with the sports betting industry, although EPL CEO Richard Masters has previously stated that ‘there needs to be a rebalancing, that is fine, but we do not think there should be a prohibition on sponsorship of football clubs or other sports clubs, for that matter’.

Additionally, EFL Chairman Rick Parry has warned the government that lower league football clubs were on a ‘financial knife-edge dealing with the consequences of COVID-19 pandemic’.

Concerns have also been raised by figures in horse racing, with some claiming that the sport could lose up to £60 million in media rights and a reduced levy if punters are deterred by stricter regulations and red tape.

“At a time of economic fears and huge pressures on public finances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the huge contribution betting and gaming makes to UK plc could not be more important,” remarked Michael Dugher, Chief Executive of the BGC.

“This latest, authoritative report by EY sets out in black and white the vital role they play in helping to fund the public services upon which we all rely.

“As the standards body representing the regulated industry, the BGC fully supports the Government’s Gambling Review plus the need for continued higher safer gambling standards and more change to regulation.

“However, it is vital that the Government gets those changes right and does nothing to put at risk the futures of jobs and tax take of a growing, world-leading British industry.”

Furthermore, it has been stated the British economy received £7.7 billion in gross added value from betting sector revenues in 2019. Additionally, it has been revealed that in the same year, the industry employed 61,000 people, whilst a further 58,000 jobs were generated by the industry’s supply chain.

Further figures show that BGC members paid over £3.2 billion in tax in 2019, accounting for 0.4% of Treasury revenues, with the total number rising to £4.5 billion when the supply chain is included.

Brigid Simmonds, Chairman of the BGC, added: “From hospitality to high streets, the betting and gaming industry makes a huge contribution to the UK economy. Casinos in London alone contribute £120 million to the tourism sector, and look forward to being open once again.

“The contribution made to the Treasury by the betting and gaming sector, its support for sport and the jobs they offer to young people, so many of them highly skilled, are absolutely vital, especially in these uncertain times.”

As with many other sectors, the betting and gaming industry has suffered from the financial consequences of the pandemic. The BGC has estimated that 374 betting shops and six casinos have closed since the beginning of 2020, with around 5,000 jobs lost.

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