SEVEN IN TEN BRITS THINK PLACING COMPULSORY HEALTH WARNINGS ON BETTING PRODUCTS WOULD FAIL TO TACKLE PROBLEM GAMBLING
71 per cent of the public believe Government health messaging – like those on cigarettes – would be ineffective at preventing problem gambling. Meanwhile almost half of the public (47 per cent) think banning popular promotions like ‘free bets’ wouldn’t help tackle problem gambling rates either.
Both measures have been touted by anti-gambling pressure groups as the right tools to prevent problem gambling, despite just 0.3 per cent of the adult population struggling with their betting, down from 0.4 per cent the year previous.
Instead, just three per cent of the public think it would be “very effective” enforcing compulsory health warnings on betting products and just eight per cent think banning free bets would be “very effective at preventing problem gambling.”
The survey, conducted by YouGov for the Betting and Gaming Council, comes as Government prepares to finalise new regulations for the betting and gaming industry.
Around 22.5million adults buy a lottery ticket, play bingo, place a bet in a casino, have a wager on sports or play online games.
BGC Chief Executive Michael Dugher, said: “Problem gambling rates in the UK are low and have fallen, but still the anti-gambling lobby – prohibitionists who just want to ban things – are pushing for draconian measures which will only stigmatise those who enjoy a harmless flutter.
“Measures like these, however well meaning, will only serve to drive punters from the regulated sector to the unsafe, unregulated gambling black market where the numbers betting have doubled in recent years and the amount staked is in the billions.
“Anti-gambling prohibitionists are determined to treat betting like tobacco and to treat punters like smokers – but these two things are worlds apart and should be regulated entirely differently.”
The regulated betting and gaming sector – members of the BGC – support over one hundred thousand UK jobs, while raising billions in taxes.
Meanwhile the regulated industry is calling for a mandatory, non-statutory Ombudsman to improve customer redress and enhanced spending checks to identify those showing signs of problem gambling.
The regulated industry has already taken tough action on advertising to prevent young people being exposed to ads on social media.
While a ban on ads during live football games before the watershed has led to a drop of children seeing betting adverts by 97 per cent.