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Betting and sport, a history to be proud of


Look at sporting events like the horse races, football matches or the greyhounds and pick any decade, there has always been a market for placing wagers.

We celebrated this long and mutually beneficial association at the Conservative Party Conference last month, with a reception to mark the relationship between the high street betting industry and British Sport.

Our chief executive, Malcolm George spoke at the event, at which guests could view various sporting trophies up close.

“The history of the British betting industry is certainly firmly rooted in the British people’s enjoyment of sport” he said, remarking that both industries were part of British culture and it was difficult to imagine one without the other.

He said that the industry recognises the “mutually beneficial” nature of this relationship, and was pleased to be able to provide numerous financial benefits to those sports as a result of betting activity.

Betting shops employ 43,000 people and contribute over £1bn to the economy each year, which in turn supports sporting industries.

The industry also recognises it must play its part in preventing sports betting from becoming a cause for concern. It promotes responsible gambling by investing significant resource in sports betting integrity initiatives.

High street betting operators work closely with the Gambling Commission, sports bodies, and law enforcement agencies via the Sports Betting Integrity Forum.

“It is also important for the industry that we give back at a community level” Malcolm George stressed, through support of grassroots sports and associated organisations, including Metro Blind Sport in London, the Swanside Community Centre in Liverpool and the NSPCC at a national level. We are proud of this track record.

We are also proud of the sponsorship we provide for British sport: £3 million for horse racing, £1 million for greyhounds, and £3 million for football. That is a significant cash injection. And then there are the direct payments for media rights and levies, totalling £250 million to horse racing, and £35 million to greyhound racing.

So the history of sports betting is venerable indeed, but we want the future to be bright too. How do we ensure that this mutually beneficial relationship continues to flourish?

In this, we need your support. Despite the contribution it makes, the betting industry is often misrepresented in the media and by politicians.

Now, the government has announced a review of the industry and there is talk of clamping down on the industry and introducing further regulation.

We need to stop such regulation which threatens the relationship between our industry and British sport.

How do we do that? We make our voice heard, by spreading the positive work that bookies do in their communities.

Support bookies who do so much for sport nationally and in their communities and spread the word, by sharing the petition with your colleagues, customers, friends and family. Together, we can ensure that the future of betting and sport is as fruitful and enjoyable as its history.

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