A new YouGov survey conducted for the Betting and Gambling Council (BGC) has found that only 16% of those who enjoy betting would submit themselves to affordability checks.
As part of its Gambling Review, the UK Government is considering implementing affordability checks, but the new YouGov survey has found that 58% of bettors would not allow regulated gambling operators to carry out the proposed checks, which campaigners have been calling for.
In addition, the poll found that almost 60% of bettors believe that Government-imposed checks on whether customers can afford to bet would push customers to play at unlicensed websites in what the BGC has described as the “unsafe black market”.
The so-called “black market” websites don’t adhere to the strict regulations of the licensed sector, which means they fail to carry out ID and age verification checks, do not offer safer gambling tools, and are inflicted with numerous other issues too.
The same poll also found that 51% of respondents believe that an increase in black market use will spark a rise in problem gambling, while 4% believe it would reduce the rate of problem gambling.
Michael Dugher, the BGC Chief Executive, described the poll’s results as a “wake-up call” for ministers and urged the Government to ensure they strike a balance between protecting the vulnerable and driving responsible gamblers to unsafe websites.
He 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.
“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.”
He ended the statement by adding: “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 responsible towards the unsafe black market online, where there are none of the safer gambling measures which are used by BGC members.”
Ministers are expected to produce a white paper on their review of the Gambling Act 2005 this spring, and its thought that the review could lead to a slew of new rules, including a ban on gambling sports sponsorships and more.