59% of Punters Would Consider Black Market Over Loss Limits
A YouGov survey reveals that more than 50% of gamblers would oppose the introduction of mandatory loss limits. The Betting and Gambling Council commissioned poll also shows 59% would consider black market operators if limits were introduced.
According to a YouGov poll, the Gambling Commission’s proposal to introduce mandatory loss limits would be unpopular with gamblers. When surveyed, 51% of the 1,683 polled stated they would be against their introduction. A minority of 27% voiced their support for the idea.
The survey, commissioned by the industry’s trade body, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), responds to the regulators call for evidence regarding mandatory limits. The UKGC wants to introduce a loss cap, believed to be in the region of £100 per month.
The YouGov survey also revealed that 59% of respondents said they would use a black market operator if they deemed too many restrictions were being placed on them.
BGC CEO Michael Dugher said of these findings:
“Black market online operators are the modern-day internet equivalent of the ‘Peaky Blinders’ – dangerous, illegal backstreet bookies, run by organised crime,”
“Anti-gambling prohibitionists may downplay the threat posed by the black market, but this poll reinforces the importance of the UK not sleepwalking into changes which lead to unintended consequences like fuelling illegal operators online,” Dugher added.
Dugher re-iterated his support for customers setting their own limits rather than those being imposed by the government and called affordability checks a “good thing”, but he did feel technological advances can also help. Saying:
“Technology enables betting companies to see where customers are starting to display what we call ‘markers of harm’. In this way, potential problem gamblers and others who may be more at risk could be subject to enhanced affordability checks.
“Such a move would potentially also have serious ramifications for horseracing in particular, which relies heavily on the money it receives from the betting levy,” he added.
On the BGC’s statement regarding the survey, they also point to an earlier report by PwC, which showed that the number of British gamblers who had used a black market site had increased drastically over two years. According to the data, the number had increased from 210,000 to 460,000, and the money spent had doubled from £1.4bn to £2.8bn.
The BGC stated that visitors to these sites would not need to prove they are over 18 and would not employ the many tools that its members are obliged to offer. These include setting deposit limits, time limits, and reality checks, providing an overview of profit and loss.
The BGC also highlighted the series of focus groups they have held in the north of the country. Sessions took place in Long Eaton, Mansfield, Dudley, Walsall, Warrington, Doncaster, Oldham, Grimsby, Scunthorpe, Stoke, London, Richmond-on-Thames, Birmingham, Durham, Wakefield, Blackpool and St Helens last year. These groups were held to find out participants views on betting and wider cultural issues.
The BGC claim these focus groups showed that rather than “normalise” gambling, as many critics claim, their research showed betting is already a “normal social and leisure pastime for millions of Brits.”