BGC reiterates affordability check opposition citing Racing TV survey

A recent survey by Racing TV has been cited by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) in its argument against enhanced affordability checks. 

Issuing a statement earlier today, BGC Chief Executive Michael Dugher stated that he was ‘alarmed’ at the findings and remarked that he was ‘hopeful’ that ministers would take into consideration the opinions of surveyed bettors.

Overall, the results demonstrated that 95% of respondents would not be happy if bookmakers were to have access to their bank accounts or if they were made to hand over payslips as proof of funds. 

The BGC was most concerned, however, with a figure suggesting that 85% of punters believed that there is a danger consumers would move towards unregulated black market operators should restrictions be implemented.

“I am not opposed to spending checks, but believe we should use the technology that is now available to target those people who are at vulnerable or at higher risk of problem gambling and providing them with the help they need, rather than blanket checks on every punter,” Dugher remarked.

“The Racing TV survey – like the poll we commissioned earlier this year – show that the unsafe, unregulated black market online, which has none of the safer gambling measures used by our members, stands to benefit if the Government fails to get the necessary changes in the Gambling Review right.”

Although supportive of affordability checks as a tool, the BGC argues that this measure should only be targeted towards customers classed as vulnerable or high risk, an opinion echoed by 74% of survey respondents. 

Additional findings showed that 88% of surveyed bettors believed they should have ‘the freedom to choose how much they bet without government interference’.

Dugher continued: “Any shift to the unsafe black market would also jeopardise the £350m a year which our members currently give to horse racing in sponsorship, media rights and the betting levy – financial support which has proved crucial during the pandemic.”

Despite the concerns of both the betting industry and its customers, Gambling Minister Chris Phlip suggested at the GambleAware 2021 Conference earlier this month that enforcing bettors to hand over payslips or bank details after a spend of £100 a month was “unwelcome, disruptive and disproportionate to the risks”.

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