Majority of UK Voters Oppose Betting Limits Imposed by Politicians, New Poll Reveals

  • 51% of Brits participating in the survey opposed governmental betting limits, with 27% in support
  • A total of 59% said unlicensed black market activity will increase if more limits are imposed
  • BGC also found gambling support and opposition to restrictions in marginal “Red Wall” seats
  • The findings come as the UK government and gambling regulator consider introducing limits
Online poll on computer keyboard
According to the results of a new poll commissioned by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), 51% of British voters oppose betting limits imposed by politicians. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Enlightening survey results

A new survey conducted by YouGov and commissioned by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has revealed that the majority of British adults oppose betting limits imposed by politicians.

The BGC took to Twitter to share the results on Monday morning:

The opinion poll includes submissions from 1,682 British adults. Of that total, 51% oppose limits set by politicians, while just 27% support them. In addition, 59% of participants agree that too many limits would see bettors shift towards the unlicensed black market. Only 10% disagree with this.

59% of participants agree that too many limits would see bettors shift towards the unlicensed black market

The poll results come as the UK government considers the introduction of loss limits during its review of the Gambling Act 2005. BGC CEO Michael Dugher said the body “fully supports” the review, but urged MPs to consider all the evidence to make the right changes.

Testing the “Red Wall”

The BGC also commissioned a series of 20 focus groups to ascertain the UK public’s perception of gambling. The study focused on former “Red Wall” seats across the Midlands and Northern England, many of which switched from Labour to Conservative in the 2019 general election.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson ultimately won the general election in December 2019 by a landslide victory, establishing an 80-seat majority in the process. The swing of former Labour areas such as Stoke, Blackpool, and Scunthorpe proved vital in Johnson’s victory. These were all included in the BGC study.

According to the industry body, the focus groups revealed that millions of British citizens consider gambling “a normal social and leisure pastime.” They also brought to light public concern regarding stricter government control over their lives after the pandemic, referred to as the “post-COVID mission creep.”

In a statement, Dugher urged MPs to “take heed of the findings and listen to voters.” The executive also highlighted the importance of the “Red Wall” marginal seats, which he described as “key to the result of the next election.”

Change on the way

The BGC has publicized its findings at a vital time, with the UK government and the Gambling Commission both in the midst of debate regarding regulatory reform.

The UKGC began an affordability consultation in November last year. The national regulator identified failures in regard to the completion of affordability checks for online gambling customers. As a result, the commission called for views from the industry, consumers, and stakeholders concerning the introduction of stronger requirements. As of yet, the Gambling Commission is yet to introduce its new affordability measures.

restrictions on gambling advertising, curtailing gambling sponsorship in sport, and introducing staking limits

Meanwhile, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport is currently carrying out its own review of the Gambling Act 2005, which began in December 2020. Some of the measures thought to be under consideration include restrictions on gambling advertising, curtailing gambling sponsorship in sport, and introducing staking limits. National authorities announced a ‘Call for Evidence’ as part of this review, requesting information on the UK’s gambling market.

In response to the Call for Evidence, Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP published its Review of unlicensed online gambling in the UK in January. The study found that the amount staked with illegal UK operators more than doubled year-on-year in 2020, from £1.4bn ($1.9bn) to £2.8bn ($3.8bn). The number of Britons using black market sites grew from 210,000 to 460,000 over the past two years.