Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Majority Of British Voters Oppose Gambling Limits, YouGov Poll Finds

Gambling Limits

A majority of British voters are opposed to legislated gambling limits, a new YouGov poll has found.

The poll, commissioned by the Betting And Gaming Council (BGC), surveyed 1,683 adults and comes as the UK Gambling Commission carries out its affordability consultation with calls for the implementation of a £100 loss limit on gambling. According to YouGov, however, 51% of those polled are opposed to said betting limits while only 27% of voters support them.

In addition, the YouGov poll also found that 59% of voters agree that if too many limits are placed on gambling, gamers will move towards the unlicensed and illegal black market. In contrast, only 10% disagreed with the statement.

The survey’s question comes after a PwC report from earlier this year claimed that the number of British gamers using black-market gambling sites, which have no protections, increased from 210,000 to 460,000 in the last two years. The report also found that the amount of money wagered at said illegal operators had also doubled from £1.4 billion to £2.8 billion.

In addition to commissioning the survey, the Betting and Gaming Council also commissioned a series of focus groups held across the Midlands and the north of England to discover their opinions on betting. The focus groups 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 between November 2020 and February this year.

According to the BGC, the focus groups found that betting is a normal leisure and social past-time for millions of Brits, and many expressed concern over the state’s further control on how people lived their lives.

Speaking about the poll’s results and the BGC’s focus groups, Betting and Gaming Council 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 ‘makers 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 continued: “I hope politicians will also take heed of the findings and listen to voters in Northern and Midlands marginal seats – who will be key to the result of the next election – who are wary of being told by Westminster how to live their lives, especially in the wake of the Covid pandemic. The BGC fully supports the Gambling Review and we want to see big changes, but it’s important that ministers get those changes right.”

Operators and organisations with the gambling industry have been debating the introduction of tighter limitations, including loss limits, over the last few months. In January, the UK Gambling Commission criticised the “exaggerated” concerns over the illegal online gambling black market in the UK after the release of the PwC report.

The regulatory body also dismissed claims that tighter limitations could push players to illegal websites. Days later, the Gambling Business Group (GBG) criticised the Commission’s proposed affordability checks, calling them “prohibition by another name”.

The publishing of the YouGov poll findings comes as the UK Government continues to carry out its review of the Gambling Act 2005 and is looking to make some major changes to the industry, including a potential ban on sports betting sponsorships, a new sports rights levy, and tighter overall restrictions. Just last week, it was confirmed that Conservative MP John Whittingdale has taken over the review from Sports Minister Nigel Huddlestone due to his workload.

White Hat Strikes Content Agreement With Swintt

While the UK Gambling Commission is looking at imposing tighter restrictions on the industry, it continues to grow. Just this week, leading gambling operator White Hat Gaming, which owns several well-known online casinos in the UK, has announced a content partnership with game developer Swintt.

Under the partnership, Swintt will provide White Hat Gaming’s casino brands with its games. The first two games to launch with White Hat Gaming websites will be Master Of Books and Lost World, with Egypt King and Extra Win set to launch within the coming months. More games will be gradually added to White Hat Gaming sites over time.

Andy Whitworth, the CCO at White Hat Gaming, said in a statement to CasinoBeats: “Adding content across our many brands allows us to effortlessly increase our reach. We look forward to offering Swintt games across our network. Swintt has built a formidable reputation for the quality and diversity of its content in a short space of time, and the provider makes for a great addition to our already impressive game portfolio.”

David Mann, the Chief Commercial Officer at Swintt, added: “This is a great partnership for us, allowing us to put our games in front of more operators and players than ever before. Our portfolio is diverse and localised, and our games have proved to be hugely popular to date. White Hat Gaming has been an excellent partner to work with.

“The process from initial discussions to launching the content has been smooth and seamless, and we now look forward to seeing our titles line-up n White Hat’s game lobbies and for players to enjoy the fun and entertaining experience they provide.”