BGC survey shows lack of public support for health warning on betting products

Seven in 10 British consumers say compulsory health warnings on betting products would fail to address issues related to problem gambling, according to a new survey by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC).


The YouGov survey found 71% of respondents believed warnings similar to those placed on cigarette packs would be ineffective at preventing gambling-related harm such as addiction, with only 3% saying they would be “very effective”.

Almost half of those who took part in the study also said banning popular promotions such as free bets would not have any impact on problem gambling rates in Great Britain, compared to 8% who said a ban would be “very effective”.

Both measures have been touted by anti-industry pressure groups as the possible tools to prevent problem gambling and reduce gambling-related harm, the BGC noted.

Adverse consequences

BGC chief executive Michael Dugher added that these measures may even have adverse consequences.

“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,” BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said.

“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.”

Gambling Act review

The survey comes as the British industry continues to await the results of the Gambling Act Review, which launched in November 2020 but has faced a series of setbacks.

A white paper on the subject was expected in late 2021, but this did not occur, with delays influenced partly by changes at the Gambling Commission. The document appeared to be ready for publication in July, but its status was thrown into doubt by a string of government resignations, including that of the minister responsible for the review, Chris Philp. Soon after Philp stepped down, prime minister Boris Johnson announced he would also leave, which meant the document was pushed back until the new prime minister, Liz Truss, took charge. However, Truss resigned after only 44 days in her post, which set the Gambling Act review back further. The new prime minister, Rishi Sunak, then appointed Paul Scully as the minister in charge of the review in a cabinet reshuffle, potentially delaying publication once again.