UK Betting & Gaming Council picks music man as new CEO


uk-betting-gaming-council-ceo-dugherThe UK gambling industry’s newest trade association has appointed a former music industry exec as its chief executive officer.

On Friday, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) announced the appointment of Michael Dugher as its new CEO. Dugher, a former Labour MP for Barnsley East and Shadow Secretary of State for the UK government department that oversees gambling issues, will officially join the BGC next spring,

Dugher said he looked forward to working with BGC chair Brigid Simmonds and the body’s other members as they “tackle the critical issues facing the sector.” Dugher copped to having placed the odd wager in his life, adding that “creating a safe gambling environment will be my top priority.”

The appointment garnered praise from Tom Watson, who until recently was deputy leader of the Labour party and a noted gambling industry antagonist. Watson tweeted that that Dugher’s appointment was “an important and smart hire.”

Dugher is currently the CEO of UK Music, the umbrella body for the local music industry, a role he will relinquish at the end of January. There’s perhaps something a tad ominous about the UK’s struggling gaming industry hiring a man whose last role was overseeing a wholly different business sector that has also witnessed far better days.

The BGC, which began life this summer as a fusion of the Remote Gambling Association and the Association of British Bookmakers, has been busy – or at least very much wants to be seen as being busy – since its inception.

In November, the BGC issued a list of five Safer Gambling Commitments it expects its members to follow, and followed up quickly with plans to enforce ‘time outs’ on gaming machines in betting shops.

The UK gaming industry will be watching next week’s general election with far less suspense than most, given that all parties have declared their intention to impose further curbs on gambling and betting. Tune in next year, when the Tories blame the gaming industry for their failure to get Brexit done.