The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), the industry body representing the gaming and betting industry in the UK, released details of a new study that probed into the potential of introducing mandatory health messages in an effort to reduce problem gambling.
Brits Disapprove Gambling Compulsory Health Warnings
On Tuesday the BGC released the results of the study which was conducted by YouGov. The new white paper points out that an overwhelming majority of the public in the UK considers that Government health messages like the ones used for cigarettes, won’t prove to be effective against problem gambling.
The results of the new study reveal that 71% of the interviewed individuals do not believe such messages would be effective. In contrast, only 3% showed support for “enforcing compulsory health warnings on betting products” and admitted that those warnings would be very effective.
Focusing on free bets, 47% of the participants in the study acknowledged that banning such promotions won’t reduce the rates of problem gambling. Similar to the previous result, only a tiny segment of the public, or 8%, responded that banning free bets will prove to be “very effective at preventing problem gambling.”
Problem Gambling Rate Is Only 0.3%, Reminds BGC
The results of the new study come amid proposals from anti-gambling groups that seek to implement bans on promotions such as free bets and enforce mandatory health messaging for gambling products. Still, the BGC reiterated that there are 22.5 million adults that gamble every month by participating in online casino games, visiting a casino, playing bingo or buying lottery tickets. From that total, only 0.3% of the adult population is impacted by problem gambling, the BGC reminded. What’s more, the council said that the rate of problem gambling in fact dropped from 0.4% for the previous year.
According to the BGC, the gambling ads ban in the UK during live soccer games helped significantly reduce the exposure of children to betting ads by 97%. At the same time, the Council acknowledged that the industry supports the creation of a non-statutory Ombudsman to help with the prevention of gambling harm and reduce the rates of problem gambling.
“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 stigmatize those who enjoy a harmless flutter.“
Michael Dugher, chief executive of the BGC
Michael Dugher, BGC’s chief executive, said that the problem gambling rate was low and has fallen even further. However, he acknowledged that tough measures are proposed by the anti-gambling supporters that may impact people who are enjoying gambling responsibly. Such measures, according to Dugher, can impact the market negatively and push gamblers toward the dangerous unregulated gambling market. Finally, he compared the proposed restrictions to the ones that are used for tobacco and pointed out that betting activities need an entirely different type of regulation.