The Betting and Gaming Council has described a new survey as a “wake up call” for British legislators.
UK.- While the British gaming industry continues to await the government’s white paper on gambling legislation, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has raised concerns about a recent survey in which gamblers expressed a strong rejection of affordability checks.
The YouGov poll found that 58 per cent of respondents were opposed to affordability checks, which are being considered by the UK government as part of its review of the 2005 Gambling Act.
Meanwhile, 59 per cent believed that government-imposed probing of customer finances before being able to place bets would lead to “a large or substantial risk” of customers shifting to the black market. Just over half of respondents believed this would lead to a rise in problem gambling.
Only 16 per cent of bettors said they would welcome affordability checks. The BGC described the results as a “wake up call” for the government.
CEO Michael Dugher said: “We strongly support the Gambling Review as a once in a generation opportunity to raise standards and promote safer gambling. Ministers have said it will be an evidence-led process, and these findings are a wake-up call showing the potential dangers of introducing blanket affordability checks on anyone who likes a flutter.”
The industry standards body is in favour of enhancing affordability checks targeted at those who are most at risk and not at all bettors.
Dugher insisted that the government must “strike the right balance” between the protection of vulnerable players and ensuring that the “overwhelming majority” of bettors are not pushed towards the black market.
He said: “We believe that technology should be used to identify those showing signs of problem gambling so that swift interventions can take place. According to the Gambling Commission, the rate of problem gambling fell from 0.6 per cent to 0.3 per cent in the 12 months to September last year. But one problem gambler is one too many.
“Any changes introduced by the government must be balanced so that they rightly protect the vulnerable while not driving the vast majority who bet safely and responsibly towards the unsafe black market online, where there are none of the safer gambling measures which are used by BGC members.”