HUGE MAJORITY OF PUNTERS BACK BETTING PROMOTIONS
Over 80 per cent of punters believe betting companies should be allowed to offer promotions such as free bets.
According to a YouGov survey on behalf of the Betting and Gaming Council, 82 per cent of punters said betting and gaming companies, “should be allowed to offer promotions such as free bets” to their customers.
Meanwhile 54 per cent think banning promotions would likely drive punters to unregulated, unsafe black market gambling sites which do offer promotions.
The survey results come as thousands flock to Cheltenham Festival for the biggest week of racing in the calendar, and millions more watch online.
Around 274,000 will attend Cheltenham, generating an estimated £274m for the local economy, while as estimated £1bn will be staked across four days of racing.
Punters can enjoy an expected 20 hours of live TV coverage across the week, with around one million viewers expected per day, with a peak expected during the Gold Cup on Friday after 1.6 million tuned in last year.
Anti-gambling campaigners have repeatedly called for a ban or heavy restrictions on promotions to be included in upcoming Government reforms to betting and gaming, expected to be published within weeks.
Michael Dugher, CEO of the Betting and Gaming Council, said: “This survey reinforces what anyone who knows anything about betting already understands - that betting customers, just like consumers of any other product, value offers like small free bets which are subject to strict controls and restrictions to protect the vulnerable.
“The market for betting is hyper competitive with most customers using a number of different operators. Banning or severely restricting free bets would be another attack on the punter, it degrades the customer experience, and it also hurts business and that jeopardises jobs. What’s more, as this survey makes clear, if promotions are restricted or banned, there’s only one place punters will go, that’s the growing, unsafe, unregulated gambling black market.
“Ministers should consider the millions of responsible punters enjoying a bet during Cheltenham and not bring in draconian measures in a weak attempt to further placate the tiny minority of anti-gambling prohibitionists.”
Betting is a hugely popular British hobby. Around 22.5 million adults in the UK have a bet each month - whether it’s buying a lottery ticket, having a game of bingo, visiting a casino, playing online or having a wager on football, horseracing and other sports.
Meanwhile problem gambling rates in the UK are low by international standards, according to the independent regulator. The latest figures from the Gambling Commission show 0.2 per cent of the adult population are problem gamblers, down from 0.3 per cent the previous year.
Unlike the black market, which does not support the economy, regulated betting and gaming supports around 110,000 jobs in the UK, generates £7.1bn for the economy and contributes £4.2bn in tax for vital frontline services.
However, one recent study found the numbers using black market sites has doubled in recent years from 210,000 to 460,000, and the money staked is in the billions.
Meanwhile a recent survey of RacingTV members showed 15 per cent of 3,500 respondents said that they bet, or they know someone who bets, with an unregulated online bookmaker.
In addition, nearly 80 per cent of the respondents said they would not want to see mandatory limits imposed by bookmakers on how much punters can spend.
RacingTV has now launched a letter writing campaign allowing punters to contact their MPs, to outline concerns about potential changes to betting regulation.
You can email your MP by clicking on this link, entering your postcode to find your MP, and putting your name to the letter – a process which is straightforward and will take less than a minute to complete.