Entain plc has launched ‘The Player’s Panel,’ a new initiative aimed at ‘giving consumers a voice’ on issues relating to betting and gambling in the UK.
The Panel consists of a range of Entain’s customers from across the UK, who participate on a voluntary, unpaid basis. The members will interact with ‘political decision -makers, stakeholders and the media to give the perspective of the day-to-day customer.’
In addition, the panel members come from a diverse variety of backgrounds, including a customer service executive, a health and safety executive, a library worker and a retired printer.
Elizabeth (36), a health and safety executive from Walsall, voiced her opinion on the current debate surrounding betting regulations: “There are loads of people like me who play a little slots and bingo for fun. Until now we didn’t have any voice in the elite debate about gambling – even though it’s our hobby that’s being discussed.
No one wants to see kids betting or people putting themselves at risk, but freedom of choice and personal responsibility are also really important. There must be more that can be done to protect people, but we have to get the right balance.”
Newcastle-based library worker Ken (55) also added Ken (55), a library worker from Newcastle, said: “Betting is my enjoyment. Some people go to the cinema or theatre or just have a couple of beers – all good social outlets which cost a bit of money – and for me it’s bingo and sports betting.
“Like most people I’m fair with my betting. The small amount that I am prepared to lose is around the cost of two pints of beer a week, and I believe I get good value for money. There are so many people out there like me and I’m glad to get our voice heard through The Players’ Panel.”
Entertain has also published statistics breaking down the personal opinions of betting consumers.
73% believe that betting and gambling is normal leisure activity, 71% hold the opinion that staking limits should be voluntary and set by gamblers themselves, and 81% agreed that individuals should be free to decide whether they gamble, with 68% believing that individuals should be free to decide how much they gamble.
A further 73% are concerned about their privacy rights with regards to data sharing when participating in gambling activities, although 69% agreed that playing the lottery is a form of gambling, suggesting consumer support for the government’s decision to raise the age limit for playing the National Lottery.
Furthermore, the statistics also showed evidence of black market interaction by a significant minority of consumers, an issue which has recently become a key topic of discussion in the debate on gambling regulations between the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) and the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) and parliamentary reformers.
The UKGC’s ongoing review of the gambling act could result in a range of new regulations being introduced, including more extensive proof of income checks and a possible £2 stake limit on online slot gaming, among other reforms.
The existence of a black market for gambling has often been pointed to as a threat by legal bookmakers, which have expressed concerns that bettors may turn to this illicit sector if the legal industry is over-regulated.
According to Entain’s survey, 30% of consumers had either direct or indirect experience with gambling on the black market, whilst a further 45% of bettors said they could consider gambling on the black market if they had to provide proof of income in order to gamble.
Finally, black market interaction is most prevalent among younger bettors, who claimed that they would be more likely to consider switching to black market alternatives if a £2 stake limit is imposed or if they are required to provide proof of income at legitimate gambling enterprises.
“Betting and gambling is a popular pastime for many people, yet the individuals who take part in it regularly and recreationally are rarely asked their opinion,” said Grainne Hurst, Corporate Affairs Director at Entain.
“At Entain we are committed to putting our customers first, and the Players’ Panel is an additional way to ensure that the voice of our regular customers are considered in the debate about the future of our industry.”
Carrying out its ‘consultation phase’ of the 2005 Gambling Act, DCMS stated that it would place consumers’ trust and relationship with licensed operators at the forefront of inbound changes.
Proposals brought to DCMS, have called for the strengthening of consumer advocacy across all gambling disciplines, with a government appointed civic ombudsman managing UK gambling disputes, standards and consumer rights.