UK Gambling Industry at Risk says Labour MP

A Labour MP has warned the UK government to be “sensible and proportionate” in its proposed changes to the gambling white paper, arguing that the £7.1bn ($9.7bn) industry is a “Great British success story” and must not be put at risk. John Spellar, MP for the Betting and Gaming Council, argued that the sector contributes 110,000 jobs to the national economy, with a further 15,000 projected in tech and £4.2bn in taxes to the Treasury and significant sums to various sports.The gambling white paper has faced numerous delays, causing uncertainty for the industry. Spellar has cautioned against the impact of these delays and potential changes, saying that the sector “needs some certainty.” He added that the government must ensure that any changes proposed in the white paper are “sensible and proportionate,” warning that suggestions such as “imposing blanket affordability checks at very low levels” would only fuel the growth of the unregulated black market.

Threat of Black Market Gambling

The MP also warned of the potentially dangerous implications of opening the gates to the black market, citing a report commissioned by the BGC which showed that illicit operations accounted for 66% of the money staked in Norway, 57% in France, and 23% in Italy following the imposition of tougher sanctions across Europe.”At a time when the public finances are in disarray, the country cannot afford for thousands of punters to be heading offshore to the black market,” Spellar said. “Any money spent there will not contribute to the UK economy nor fund our essential public services.”

The Future of the UK Gambling Industry

Spellar concluded by calling on the government to “get on with publishing the gambling white paper,” stating that it is vital to provide protections for the industry while also not putting it at risk. “We cannot have this uncertainty for such a large and successful industry going forward,” he said. “That is why the government needs to get on with publishing the gambling white paper, providing protections where they are needed but must not put at risk yet another British industry.”

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