Brigid Simmonds, the current chairman of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), has announced that she will step down in April 2023. Simmonds has held this position since the formation of the BGC in 2019 and has been instrumental in representing the interests of the UK’s gambling industry. She will be succeeded by Michael Dugher, who has been serving as the BGC’s chief executive since February 2020.
Simmonds expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to contribute to the BGC and represent the 110,000 individuals whose livelihoods depend on the regulated betting and gaming industry. She emphasized the importance of fostering safer gaming practices, raising industry standards, and building trust within the sector.
Following the leadership transition, Michael Dugher will oversee the implementation of a white paper released in April 2023 that outlines proposed regulations for the gambling industry in the UK. While the BGC supports many aspects of the white paper, it has criticized the government for imposing what it refers to as a “stealth tax raid” on casinos. This move is estimated to cost the industry £5 million annually and could hinder the sector’s recovery and growth.
In addition to its advocacy for the industry, the BGC has faced criticism from some quarters. Industry expert Jon Bruford has questioned the effectiveness of the BGC and accused it of exacerbating divisions within the industry. Furthermore, the BGC defended Dugher’s remarks regarding suicide during a parliamentary committee hearing, rebutting allegations that he attempted to manipulate guidance from the Samaritans.
As the BGC undergoes leadership changes and continues its efforts to represent the gambling industry, it faces both support and scrutiny from various stakeholders and industry experts.