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UK – BGC Chief Executive Michael Dugher to take over as Chairman from Brigid Simmonds

By - 15 January 2024

The Betting and Gaming Council, the standards body for the regulated UK betting and gaming industry has announced that Brigid Simmonds OBE, is to step down as Chairman on 20 April 2024.

Following a meeting of the BGC’s Executive Committee, which represents members from across the sector, BGC Chief Executive Michael Dugher will take over as Chair from 21 April 2024.

Michael Dugher, Chief Executive, BGC said: “I would like to pay tribute to Brigid for all the incredible work she has done at the BGC. She has made a massive contribution during her four and a half years as Chairman, launching the organisation and bringing together the different sectors. She has also led a change programme across the industry that has seen a relentless focus on raising standards on safer gambling. Brigid is a high integrity leader who is rightly held in huge regard, not just in the betting and gaming industry, but across so many other industries and sectors, and across the political divide.

“Together with a new CEO in the Spring, I look forward as Chair to building on that success – continuing and intensifying the work of change on standards, speaking up for the tens of thousands of men and women who work in the industry, and ensuring that the millions of people who enjoy a regular bet can do so enjoyably and safely.”

Brigid Simmonds OBE, outgoing Chairman, commented: “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 honour to represent the 110,000 people whose jobs rely on the regulated betting and gaming industry.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed working with our members, large and small, to raise standards, create a culture of safer gaming and build public and institutional trust in our world class industry.

“I would like to thank the Executive Committee, colleagues, members, charities and stakeholders, who have supported me and worked very hard to deliver all of the achievements of which the BGC is rightly proud.”

Since the BGC was established, it has worked with members to significantly raise standards across the regulated betting and gaming sector, while working closely with Government on the wide ranging package of balanced, proportionate and effective reforms, contained in the White Paper.

In 2020 the BGC announced it would increase contributions to Research, Education and Treatment services to tackle gambling related harm and problem gambling, committing over £100m to charities to carry out their vital work.

BGC members have also increased the prominence of safer gambling messaging in advertising, committing 20 per cent of TV, radio and online advertising to safer gambling messaging and signposting to help and support for those who need it.

Meanwhile the Whistle to Whistle ban on advertising during live sport has significantly reduced the numbers of ads being seen by young people at that time. Other measures introduced include cooling off periods on gaming machines, encouraging and promoting the use of safer gambling tools like timeouts and deposit limits and introducing new ID and age verification checks.

A BGC code of conduct was also implemented, placing a ban on football clubs using their social media accounts – which are popular with youngsters – posting direct marketing on betting odds and sites.

The Government’s White Paper also contained a number of measures the BGC campaigned for, including frictionless enhanced spending checks online, a new Ombudsman to improve customer redress and modest, but mission critical modernisation plans for the land-based casino sector, as well as mandatory RET contributions. The BGC is now working on eight consultations and 62 workstreams alongside our members, Government and the regulator, which will continue to drive up standards.

As well as supporting over 110,000 jobs, our members contribute £7.1bn to the economy and raise £4.2bn in taxes to fund vital public services every year. BGC members play a vital role supporting the economy, on hard-pressed high streets through betting shops, in the hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors through land based casinos and bingo, and though world leading technology firms working in online gaming.

BGC will shortly begin the process to hire a new Chief Executive.

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