In April, Brigid Simmonds will stand down from her position as chairman of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC). Michael Dugher will take up those responsibilities, and Michael Dugher’s position as chief executive will be vacant until a replacement is found.
For the entirety of the BGC’s existence, which began in 2019, Simmonds had served as its chair, supervising efforts to represent the gambling sector in the United Kingdom.
On April 21st, Michael Dugher, who is currently serving as the chief executive of the organization, will step down from his position and take over for her. A statement from the BGC indicated that the search for a new chief executive will start “shortly.”
“It has been a privilege to play my part in the development of the BGC since its formation in 2019, and it has been an honor to represent the 110,000 people whose jobs depend on the regulated betting and gaming industry,” Simmonds said in a statement as he expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to serve as a representative of the BGC.Working with our members, both large and small, to improve gaming standards, establish a culture of safer gaming, and increase public and institutional trust in our world-class sector has been a tremendously enjoyable experience for me.I would like to express my gratitude to the executive committee, colleagues, members, charities, and stakeholders who have provided me with support and have worked extremely hard to produce all of the accomplishments that the BGC is rightfully proud of.
Dugher to oversee white paper transition
As soon as Dugher takes over from Simmonds, he will be given the responsibility of supervising the entire process of putting the white paper into action. The white paper, which was published in April 2023, provided an approach to the regulation of gaming in the United Kingdom. The general consensus of the Council was that the government’s gaming white paper should be supported, particularly with regard to casino reform. Among the recommendations that are included in the white paper are those concerning machine numbers, sports betting, and affordability checks. But in November of 2023, the British Gaming Commission (BGC) accused the government of the United Kingdom of conducting a “stealth tax raid” on casinos.
There is a possibility that it might cost the industry £5 million (€5.8 million or $6.4 million) annually. It was also mentioned that casinos pay a total of 300 million pounds in taxes each year. Annually, the sector is anticipated to contribute a gross value of approximately 800 million pounds to the economy as a whole. In his own words, Dugher has indicated that the “stealth tax” has the potential to slow down the recovery process and hinder future progress.
The British Gambling Commission (BGC) hailed the rejection of a blanket ban that some individuals had called for, which came after the culture, media, and sport committee (CMS) called for a reduction in the amount of visible gambling advertising at stadiums.
In addition, the BGC asked for a code of conduct regarding sponsorship of sports to be “published without delay” in order to “drive up standards.”
BGC under fire from some quarters
Not all of the work that the BGC has done has been favorably appreciated, despite the fact that it is responsible for representing the gaming industry. Rather than bringing the two opposing factions closer together, industry analyst Jon Bruford said in a piece for iGB that the BGC is rather further polarizing them.
Bruford questioned whether or not the body is suitable for the task at hand. Bruford asserted that the British Government Commission operates solely “for its own luxury,” and then, in a separate essay, he criticized the BGC for its lack of action over advertising within sports stadiums. Due to the fact that the then-chief executive referenced Samaritans’ advise that “suicide is complex” when providing evidence to the culture, media, and sport select committee on gaming in July 2023, the British gaming Commission (BGC) was placed in the position of having to defend Dugher in August. In response to the complaint lodged by the Samaritans, the British Government Council (BGC) responded by denying that Dugher intended to “manipulate guidance” and referring to the allegations as “a smear.”