BGC criticizes UK anti-gambling campaigners

Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) ensures that the prohibition of promotions or also called 'free bets' can cause almost a third of bets to be made on the black market. In this regard, they remember that it is one of the claims of the activists against gaming, who ask to include the prohibition in the next reform of the Gambling Act.
The BGC has shared the results of research by YouGov, which reveals that 69% of users think that free bets should be allowed, and 63% said that they considered promotions to be a valuable part of their hobby. Therefore, the ban on promotions would push almost a third of players into the black market and take millions out of horse racing.

However, one of the most worrying data published by the study is that almost one in three bettors (28%) said they would consider black market betting if ministers ignored their popularity and forced through a draconian ban.

As well as driving punters away from the regulated industry, analysis conducted by the BGC found the move would hit the horse racing Levy for approximately £5m a year, in a double blow on the industry.

Punters must request promotional offers when opening an account with a regulated betting and gaming operator in the UK and can stop receiving them at any point they choose.

Considering the above, Chief Executive of the Betting and Gaming Council, Michael Dugher, has expressed his concern and warned about the dire consequences, so we share his considerations with our readers:

“Promotions and offers are part of the customer experience for any vibrant industry, including our intensely competitive sector, which supports 119,000 jobs and brings in £4.4bn in taxes to the Treasury".

“Blanket bans on offers would be anti-punter and would severely degrade that customer experience, punishing the overwhelming majority of punters who bet safely. Problem gambling is 0.2 per cent. Imagine the outcry if supermarkets were forced to ban offers and promotions for beer and wine? We see no difference to our industry."

“A draconian ban would damage a sector which tens of thousands rely on for their livelihoods, by turning punters away from the regulated industry into the arms of unsafe, unregulated black market gambling, where the numbers using such sites have doubled in recent years and the amount bet is in the billions. These sites have none of the safer gambling tools the regulated industry employs."

“A move like this would also hit the horse racing levy for £5m, but the loss of punters to the unregulated black market would undoubtedly also hit other regulated funding for racing such as media rights and sponsorship".

“We support the Government’s ‘evidence-led’ approach to gambling reform, which is why any changes should be carefully targeted to protect vulnerable players and those at risk, not the vast majority who bet safely. Ministers should shouldn't be sticking their nose into how people choose to spend their own money, and the last thing they should be doing at this time is damaging business and sport."

On the other hand, the BGC reiterates that Black Market gambling has more than doubled in just two years, from 220,000 users to 460,000 and the amount staked there is now in the billions of pounds.

Banning free bets is the latest proposal suggested by the anti-gambling lobby that could hit horse racing revenues after blanket affordability checks.

These means tests, which would compel punters to produce personal financial records like bank statements before they are allowed to bet as little as £100 a month, could suck up to £100m a year out of horse racing, according to industry experts.

In total, the regulated betting and gaming industry contributes around £350m annually to horse racing in the UK through the levy, media rights and sponsorship. This funding was vital during the pandemic.

But there are growing concerns new measures being considered by the Government could jeopardize this vital funding.
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