John Spellar MP on the Importance of the Gambling Industry
Labour MP John Spellar has written a passionate article in support of the gambling industry and its importance for the British economy. According to the Warley MP, the gambling industry in this country is one of the big British success stories and it is vitally important that it is supported and protected. Discussing the worldwide recession and the grim economic conditions in which British businesses are struggling to survive, Spellar points out that the gambling industry brings jobs, investments, and revenue, which helps alleviate some of the current economic struggles.
Discussing the findings of a recent EY report, Spellar praises the gambling industry and its ability not only to operate successfully within the UK at these difficult times, but also to expand overseas, while at the same time helping develop the UK tech industry and creating some valuable high-skilled jobs. According to Stellar, the betting and gaming industry is responsible for supporting over 110,000 jobs in the UK, and 20,000 of these jobs are in the county where his constituency is – West Midlands. These statistics follow recent news from across the industry that UK sports betting providers such as bet365 are expanding and creating more tech jobs in the UK.
Spellar also points out that the sports betting and iGaming industry in the UK creates £7.1bn for the British economy, and the Treasury receives much needed £4.2bn in tax every year. It is interesting to compare these numbers to statistics from the European Union, where bookmakers who are members of the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) report gross gambling revenue of £96bn for 2022 – a number which includes the UK revenue.
Spellar specifically mentions bet365 in his article, stating that the UK sports betting provider invests in the development of cutting-edge, state-of-the-art technology and employs 4,500 staff in their headquarters in Stoke-on-Trent. This makes bet365 the biggest employer in the area. Spellar points out that the jobs created by bet365 are of a high quality and are offered to highly skilled professionals. Jobs in the gambling industry are seen as great long-term careers by many of the residents in Stoke-on-Trent and the surrounding areas.
According to the EY report cited by Spellar, the UK betting and gambling industry has not even reached its full potential yet. Taking into consideration the different sectors such as online sports betting, iGaming, physical betting shops, online casinos, tourism-boosting physical casinos, and the ongoing expansion of the industry, it has been predicted that 15,000 more jobs may be created in the next 5 years.
In addition to this, Spellar recognises the important role of the gambling industry in developing and supporting the UK technology sector. He calls it “global high-tech powerhouse industry”, and this follows recent news such as the expansion of leading iGaming technology BetConstruct (based in London), and the announcement of a milestone partnership between bet365 and Sports Information Services (SIS), a leading UK production and content services provider.
Spellar also acknowledges the important role of sports betting in British life, pointing out that every month 22.5 million adults in the UK partake in it as a favourite pastime in a safe and responsible manner. According to the EY report, problem gambling in the UK is among the lowest in Europe, currently sitting at estimated 0.3%.
Another important benefit of the UK gambling industry, Spellar suggests, is the vast contributions it makes to the UK sports industry:
“It is not only on high streets that the industry contributes, horseracing benefits from the industry to the tune of £350m through sponsorship, media rights and betting levy payments. They also contribute at least £40m a year to the English Football League and its clubs, more than £10m to darts and snooker and over £2.5m for rugby league.”
Spellar finishes his article by warning against toughened measures and increased sanctions applied to the sports betting industry. Urging the Government to be cautious with the introduction of new rules and regulations, Spellar points out that other European countries who implemented similar legislation ended up fuelling black market, unregulated, unsafe gambling. Spellar explains that such gambling is unsafe for those taking part in it as it does not have the same levels of protection and support. Furthermore, black market gambling does not contribute anything to the UK economy, does not pay taxes, does not fund sports, and is not concerned with creating jobs or giving back to communities. As Spellar explains it, in the uncertain economic times faced by the UK, it is worth going the extra mile in order to preserve the fine British betting and gaming tradition and all the positives associated with it.