SMF: UK economy could benefit from strict gambling laws

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SMF: UK economy could benefit from strict gambling laws

According to the Social Market Foundation, an independent British think tank, tighter gambling laws could benefit the UK financially.

A report compiled by the SMF is due to be presented to the Government today. The think tank believes that if spending on gambling fell by £1bn ($1.38bn), the Treasury could profit via £171m in tax revenues.

The SMF says consumers would spend more in areas like retail, which have longer supply chains and generate more taxes.

However, not everyone agrees that a negative impact to the gambling industry would be so beneficial. Some believe it would just alter the behaviour of British gamblers.

Michael Dugher, CEO of the Betting and Gaming Council, said: “If people were restricted from betting in the regulated industry, they would simply migrate to the growing unlicensed, unsafe black market that employs no one, pays no tax and contributes nothing to UK plc.”

Recent data from the NHS shows around 300,000 people in England identify as problem gamblers.

RD at SMF, Scott Corfe, said the think tank does not want to ban gambling and is concerned with the social and economic impacts on addicted gamblers.

However, the SMF says the industry shifting online is a reason to be more prudent with gambling.

SMF feels that due to the rise of internet gambling, fewer jobs are created, making the sector less productive (although this is a very questionable prognosis given the jobs generated by online gaming).