BGC points out exaggerated numbers in SMF economic report
The Betting and Gaming Council has expressed that it is mortified at a report that has suggested that the economy would perform better if there weren’t as many people spending their money on gambling and betting.
This specific report is titled ‘Double or nothing? Assessing the economic impact of gambling‘, and was released by the Social Market Foundation. This foundation claims that it is a cross-party think tank, and has Derek Webb, a renowned anti-betting campaigner, as one of its benefactors.
This foundation’s recently published report states that it would be ideal for the economy if people did not waste a large portion of their money on activities tied to gambling, and went on to spend that money on retail and food instead, as this provides higher ‘economic multipliers’.
Aside from that, other numbers in this report mention that the gambling industry is now a major part of the United Kingdom’s economy, as it brought in £8 billion worth of GVA in 2019, which was a huge 45% boost compared to the same figure in 2010.
Social Market Foundation’s Research Director, Scott Corfe, further explained the report saying:
“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.”
The SMF is led by James Kirkup, who is a political strategist, and the foundation now calls itself an independent think tank that is aiming to ameliorate social welfare and mobility. It also firmly states that it is politically impartial, since it has been guiding the Conservative and Labour governments.
BGC CEO Michael Dugher has stated that the numbers revealed were not really accurate, and that the benefits that the Social Market Foundation report showcased were not likely to happen. He went on to say:
“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.”