The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has repeated its warning to MPs that nanny state rules will not protect British gambling consumers.
The trade body calls on the government to follow the evidence in which a new survey by YouGov details “compulsory spending limits on betting risks driving more people to the unsafe, unregulated gambling black market” according to 67% of participants.
The survey, commissioned by the BGC, was undertaken to provide the perspectives of real players as the government reviews gambling laws.
The introduction of compulsory limits being discussed by MPs sees 64% of the public fear an increased use of illegal sites would trigger a rise in problem gambling rates.
Michael Dugher, Chief Executive of the standards body, said that the YouGov polling was important for ministers to consider as they prepare to publish the gambling white paper in the coming weeks.
He urged the government to adopt a “carefully targeted approach” to ensure they strike the right balance between protecting the vulnerable, whilst not driving the overwhelming majority who bet safely and responsibly towards the unsafe unregulated black market online.
Further survey findings showed that nearly 70% of people who place a bet said they would not be willing to allow a licensed operator to carry out compulsory affordability checks.
Respondents outlined that they did not want to prove to an operator that they can afford to gamble, regardless of compliance measures.
Current threats see the number of people gambling on unsafe black market sites in the UK has doubled from 220,000 to 460,000 in recent years, and the amount staked is in the billions.
The latest figures from the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) indicate that the rate of problem gambling among adults in the UK remains low by international standards at 0.3%, down from 0.4% the previous year.
The BGC is in favour of further enhanced spending checks but believes the focus should be on problem gamblers or those at risk rather than everyone who bets.
Dugher concluded: “We strongly support the Gambling Review as a further opportunity to raise standards and promote safer gambling.
“Ministers have rightly always said it will be an evidence-led process. These poll findings are an important reminder of the risks of getting this wrong by introducing arbitrary blanket spending checks on anyone who likes a flutter.
“Any changes introduced by the Government must be carefully targeted so that we protect the vulnerable and intervene on those showing signs of harm, whilst not driving the vast majority of millions of punters who bet safely towards the growing unsafe black market.”