Michael Dugher emphasizes the importance of evidence-based review

Michael Dugher emphasizes the importance of evidence-based review

Industry reforms must be “driven by evidence,” according to Michael Dugher, chief executive of the Betting and Gaming Council, who advised MPs to “avoid extremists” attempting to influence the conclusion of the government’s white paper. 

UK online casino

Evidence-based review

Dugher maintained in an editorial article on legislative news site PoliticsHome that the study should move away from the sensationalism surrounding the issue, most especially player affordability, which has been dubbed the inquiry’s most contentious subject.

Anti-gambling ministers recently urged the government to require customers to submit to obligatory affordability tests. Dugher cautions that if the government proceeds, there will be a direct consumer conflict, citing a YouGov poll published last month that found less than one in five people would tolerate random checks.

Balancing a complex subject, Dugher emphasized “the need of getting future adjustments right” – since 59 percent of players believe that imposing universal affordability checks “would result in a significant danger of users choosing illegal sites.”

Dugher further stated that the UK had already become a target country for black market operators, as auditor PWC reported that “UK punters using unregulated sites more than doubled in less than two years.”

Cooperation between operators and regulators was regarded as essential to ensuring the protection of UK customers since BGC members had voluntarily implemented vigorous age verification checks, a ban on credit card payments, advertising limitations, and improvements to game designs to improve safety.

The Commission reports that problem gambling rates have decreased to 0.3 percent, down from 0.6 percent last year at this time. Dugher concluded his opinion post by stating that “there are fanatics on both sides of this argument.” That, in addition to anti-gambling prohibitionists, there are a few people in the industry who “are not prepared to embrace change,” but that it “will come.”

The seriousness of illegal gambling

“The research also discovered that billions were staked on the illegal market during the same period,” he claimed in the article. Thousands of illegal gaming websites do not adhere to the tight regulations that govern the licensed and regulated market.

“This includes pursuing problem gamblers, failing to conduct thorough identification and age verification checks, and failing to offer the range of safer gaming measures offered by BGC members, such as deposit restrictions and cooling-off periods.”

Dugher also voiced dismay at the recent Betting and Gaming APPG’s report, which he described as “extremely scathing” of the Gambling Commission.

“That is why it was disheartening to see a report published this week by the Betting and Gaming APPG that was so scathing of the regulator, the Gambling Commission,” he said of the report.

“Ironically, the study reminded me of Iain Duncan-prior Smith’s advocacy for the GC’s abolition. I take issue with both. The GC is not perfect and is changing, but the regulator is taking steps to increase standards for safer gambling, which is commendable.

“We have worked closely with the Gaming Commission to implement a range of safer gambling measures, including tight age verification checks, a prohibition on credit card gambling (though this does not apply to the National Lottery), game design adjustments, and advertising limits.”

About Lou De Aguila

Lou Aguila is a news and feature writer for Golden Casino News. For over a decade, Lou has published news and featured articles for some of the most reputable sports betting and online casino sites in the world, including BetNow.UK, VegasOdds, and BWin. Apart from being a hardcore live casino punter, he also covers sports stories in North American leagues from time to time.