A poll by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has revealed a large number of opponents towards betting spend limits.
The research was conducted in collaboration with YouGov and included 1,683 adults across the UK.
The poll also found that many people believed that tight restrictions on betting would lead to increased activity on unregulated betting sites.
How many participants opposed betting limits?
In the BGC’s poll, 51% disagreed with the idea of new maximum spend caps. Just over a quarter (27%) supported a potential introduction of these restrictions.
When it came to black-market operators, only 10% of participants felt that strict gambling measures would not channel players away from legal websites. 59% agreed.
Recent research by PwC claims that stakes through illegal betting sites have increased from £1.4 billion to £2.8 billion over the past years. The total number of customers wagering with these operators has also gone up from 210,000 to 460,000.
Further research also conducted
Alongside the poll, the BGC also conducted various focus groups in the UK. For the most part, it received respondents from traditional Labour Party strongholds that voted Conservative in the 2019 election.
These groups, according to the BGC, showed that gambling is a “normal social and leisure pastime for millions”. Voters were also worried about too much state control.
BGC Chief Executive Michael Dugher said: “My view is that limits are good, which is why people betting are now strongly encouraged to set their own limits on how much they spend. Affordability checks are also a good thing.
“But 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.”
Dugher was also hopeful that the lawmakers and politicians would listen to those in marginal areas. He said that people “are wary about being told by Westminster how to live their lives, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic”.
Critics of betting caps are not limited to the BGC’s poll
The BGC commissioned its research in the midst of the affordability and player interaction consultation launched by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The DCMS is looking for evidence as it carries out its review of the 2005 Gambling Act.
A £100 ‘soft cap’ on gambling losses has been proposed as part of the consultation, in a bid to reduce the number of people who suffer from severe gambling issues.
In January, the Gambling Business Group slammed proposed betting limits as “prohibition by another name”.