What is the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC)?
The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) is an industry association representing 90% of the UK’s gambling industry, i.e., online gambling businesses, betting shops, and casinos.
Those who bet frequently will likely be acquainted with the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC). That said, they may not be as aware of the Betting and Gaming Council. This is likely due to the fact that they only started operating in 2019.
The Association of Remote Gambling Operators and the Interacting Gaming, Gambling, and Betting Association decided to merge in August 2005, thus creating the Remote Gambling Association. Based in Brussels and London, the newly formed body was introduced to represent and regulate the European online gambling industry.
The RGA’s primary purpose was to become a voice for the gambling industry regarding regulation and legislation. It was about representing online companies without intervening with the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB), the representative body for land-based bookmakers.
However, the ABB gradually lost its relevance since very few bookmakers operated without any online presence. As a result, both organizations risked conflicting with each other when attempting to take on regulation and legislation. The RGA was viewed as being more prominent due to the proliferation of online gambling.
It soon became apparent that the betting industry would be better represented by a unified body – the Betting and Gaming Council.
What does the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) do?
Simply put, the Betting and Gaming Council is responsible for ensuring gamblers get the best possible gaming experience.
The Betting and Gaming Council has formed a cross-industry Ad Tech Forum to protect vulnerable people and children online. It involves Google, Twitter, and Meta offering their input on protecting minors online, including how data can help improve age accuracy.
The Council’s Player Protection Forum 2022 was set up to look into the causes of problem gambling and combat it in terms of prevention and treatment. The event also discussed creating a business culture supporting best practices, spotting problems early on, and addressing them.
Additionally, the Council urged the then Chancellor to take steps to help the retail leisure industry, including casinos and bookmakers, to take on and regulate the online gambling black market in the UK.
Who are the members of the BGC, and what are their goals?
As stated, the Betting and Gaming Council is the single voice representing nearly 90% of the UK’s licensed gaming and betting businesses.
The Council’s extensive list of members includes William Hill, Paddy Power, Entain, Betfair, Sky Betting and Gaming (now part of Flutter Entertainment), Jackpot Joy and Virgin Games, 888casino (part of 888UK Limited), Betway, and many more.
The Council’s members vigilantly adhere to its strict code of conduct, actively committing resources and funding to help improve standards.
Thus, the body has taken responsible strides since its establishment in 2019. Such actions include introducing a social media code of conduct for gambling sites and urging its members to apply a “whistle-to-whistle” ban on ads during football matches.
BGC members are encouraged to operate under its strict Codes of Conduct, working together to:
- Stay up-to-date with industry initiatives
- Access research data and resources
- Spread best practice
- Take on a substantial role in the industry’s representation to the regulator and government
- Show commitment to improving standards
- Adhere to safer gambling commitments
How does the BGC work with other associations and regulators?
Soon after the BGC’s establishment, its main goal was to work closely with the rest of the gambling industry, including lawmakers and regulators. The UK Gambling Commission is perhaps the most prominent example. The Council promptly set out its desire to take on a countrywide approach to address problem gambling.
A significant part of the plan was to work next to the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) and GamCare (the gambling support organization).
In early December 2020, the council’s Culture Secretary initiated a comprehensive gambling review. Ministers at DCMS (the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport) led the review. It also included participation from the government, the UK Gambling Commission, the health and charitable sector, the industry, those with problem gambling experience, and other stakeholders.
The council welcomed the gambling review, believing it would provide an opportunity to drive further improvements in safer gambling.
In the Gambling Act Review, which ran from December 8, 2020, to March 31, 2021, members were urged to call for evidence regarding the way gambling was regulated in Great Britain, specifically:
- Age restrictions and authorization
- Sponsorship, branding, and advertising
- Consumer protection
- Online safety (products and players)
- Land-based gambling
- The UKGC’s power and resources
What impact does the BGC have on the gambling landscape (regulators, sportsbooks, etc.) in the United Kingdom?
As mentioned, approximately 90% of betting companies fall under the Betting and Gaming Council’s jurisdiction. Therefore, it champions industry standards to guarantee a fairer, safer, and more fun betting experience for gamblers across the UK.
Problem gambling will most likely continue to be one of the industry’s chief issues. Therefore, it has always been the council’s aim to tackle the ever-present issue. By combining the efforts of various firms, the council set up a new “code of conduct” for its members.
The landscape of gambling and its regulations is subject to constant change with the continuous growth of online gambling. To comply with UK and European gaming regulations, operators must adhere to essential rules. Regarding running gambling operations, adhering to relevant regulations is crucial while ensuring gambler safety and lawful practices.