The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has published the findings of a new survey commissioned by YouGov. The survey focused on gauging public opinion of the planned compulsory spending limits which are rumored to be a part of the upcoming White Paper which should lay the groundwork for the reregulation of the gambling industry in the United Kingdom.
According to the survey, however, there is a very strong opposition against this move. For one, 67% of all gamblers who were interviewed by YouGov said that they would not be happy with compulsory limits, suggesting that this measure would most likely resort into more people skipping regulated operators and heading offshore.
Another 64% of those interviewed said that they feared illegal gambling websites will push up the rates of problem gambling, which remain steadily suppressed at present time, the BGC notes. Some 70% of all interviewed gamblers said outright that they do not want regulated gambling companies to conduct such compulsory affordability checks and that gamblers were not interested in proving that they can afford to gamble.
The BGC also warned that the number of punters using black market websites has increased to 460,000 users in recent years, with billions wagered on those offshore websites, although the organization previously confirmed that problem gambling levels in the UK remain fairly low. BGC CEO Michael Dugher was particularly concerned about the issue and said that YouGov’s survey gave a very clear insight into public opinion. Any changes that the government may consider moving forward, he said, should be based on a very careful approach that doesn’t use a blanket but distinguishes between at-risk and regular gamblers.
Dugher hailed the Gambling Review as a golden opportunity to make sure that the industry raises standards and protects customers better. All of this, though, must happen based on evidence and evidence alone, he suggested. Dugher further noted:
"Any changes introduced by the Government must be carefully targeted so that we protect the vulnerable and intervene on those showing signs of harm, whilst not driving the vast majority of millions of punters who bet safely towards the growing unsafe black market online, where there are none of the safer gambling protections used by BGC members."
Dugher reminded stakeholders, consumers and the government that many of the websites that punters end up visiting had no obligation to protect those consumers. They are not interested in consumer well-being and prioritize profit over assisting vulnerable gamblers, Dugher added, arguing that the government should not end up alienating people from the regulated market, but seek to protect vulnerable consumers instead.
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