A new pol by YouGov finds that almost two thirds of U.K. punters (65%) believe there is a large or substantial risk that setting limits on the amount of money spent on betting would drive more people to the unsafe, unregulated black market online. The survey also found almost 56 per cent of punters thought the Government should not impose limits on how much money they could bet.
Around 22.5 million adults in the UK place a bet each month, with the rates of problem gambling now down at 0.2 per cent of the population, down from 0.4 per cent the year previous, according to an independent study by the U.K. Gambling Commission
Conservative voters and Brexit supporters from key Red Wall constituencies say that ministers, in new legislation to be announced imminently, shouldn’t be “sticking their noses in” by interfering with individuals having a bet in the UK.
The Betting and Gaming Council supports enhanced spending checks for online gambling but also thinks these need to be non-instructive and carefully targeted at vulnerable customers and those at risk.
Commenting on the findings, Betting and Gaming Council CEO Michael Dugher said:
“At the BGC we support the Government’s Review of Gambling as an important opportunity to further raise standards, building on the changes introduced in recent times and the welcome reductions in problem gambling rates. But ministers need to act in a way that is carefully targeted at problem gamblers and those at risk, not the overwhelming majority of the 22.5 million Brits who enjoy having a bet each month.
“This latest polling and focus groups in key battleground constituencies shows how outraged punters will be if the Government listens to anti-gambling prohibitionists who want to interfere in people’s privacy and freedom of choice, by demanding personal documentation before you can have a bet, and by banning things and generally spoiling their enjoyment just because some politicians look down their noses at people who like a bet.
“People think politicians live on a different planet as it is. Telling them what they can and cannot do with their own time and their own money isn’t going to help fix that perception.
“Ministers should also stop being so complacent about the dangers of the unsafe, unregulated black market online. It’s real and it’s growing, and it is targeting vulnerable people and problem gamblers. This is not an argument against change. It’s an argument for getting changes right. Ministers need to be careful and smart – and they need to wary about overreaching themselves and interfering unnecessarily in people’s lives”.
A recent PwC study commissioned by the Betting and Gaming Council, has shown that Black Market gambling has more than doubled in just two years, from 220,000 users to 460,000 and the amount staked there is now in the billions of pounds, posing significant risk to consumers.
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