BGC survey finds low support for health warnings on gambling products

BGC survey finds low support for health warnings on gambling products

Seven out of ten say warnings would be ineffective to prevent problem gambling.

UK.- The industry association the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has published the results of a survey that finds a lack of support for government health warnings on gambling products. The survey found that 71 per cent of respondents thought messages like those on cigarettes would be ineffective.

Only three per cent of respondents to the YouGov survey said they thought it would be “very effective” to enforce compulsory health warnings. Meanwhile, 47 per cent thought that banning promotions such as free bets would not tackle problem gambling. Only eight per cent thought banning free bets would be “very effective”.

The BGC noted that both measures have been proposed by anti-gambling pressure groups. It did not say how many people participated in the survey.

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 BGC again expressed its support for proposals to create a mandatory, non-statutory ombudsman to improve customer redress in the gambling sector as well as enhanced spending checks to identify those showing signs of problem gambling. 

Last week, Brigid Simmonds OBE, the chairman of the BGC, criticised anti-gambling lobbyists for using the World Cup to make “a torrent of baseless allegations” against bettors and operators.

She said that anti-gambling lobbyists were being backed by poorly informed commentators in attempts to find “even more extreme reasons” to claim the World Cup was causing harm.

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