BGC-commissioned poll claims majority oppose betting limits

A YouGov survey commissioned by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) shows that 51% of British adults are opposed to legislated maximum-spend limits, with 27% in favour.


The poll surveyed 1,683 British adults, and also found that 59% agreed with the statement that if too many limits are placed on people’s gambling behaviour, more will shift to the unlicensed black market. Only 10% of respondents disagreed with this statement.

The BGC pointed to a report published by PwC last month, which claimed that the number of British customers using black market sites to place bets had increased from 210,000 to 460,000 in the past two years.

The amount staked through unlicensed operators had doubled from £1.4bn to £2.8bn over this period, it said.

The poll was commissioned as the Gambling Commission continues its affordability and player interaction consultation ahead of the Government's wider Gambling Review. The consultation on interaction included a proposed “soft cap” of £100 a month on gambling losses.

Critics have said that setting affordability limits could reduce the money horseracing receives from the betting levy by over £60m, the BGC pointed out.

In addition to the poll, the BGC has also commissioned a series of focus groups across the country, mostly drawing respondents from “Red Wall” constituencies that had recently swung from Labour to Conservative in the 2019 general election.

The BGC said that the groups showed that betting was a “normal social and leisure pastime for millions” and that voters were concerned about the state exercising too much control.

“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,” said Michael Dugher, chief executive of the BGC.

“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 also pointed to the horseracing industry’s reliance on money received from the betting levy, and said he hoped politicians would heed the findings and listen to voters in marginal seats, “who are wary of being told by Westminster how to live their lives, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

In January, British cross-sector organisation Gambling Business Group described the Gambling Commission’s proposed affordability checks as “prohibition by another name”, warning that they could lead to an increase in players accessing unlicensed operator websites.