The Betting and Gaming Council urged UK ministers that responsible bettors be considered when deciding whether to ban free bets and promotions. This could lead to a shift towards the unregulated market.
Recently the BGC YouGovcommissioned a survey in which it found that 82% of bettors believed betting operators should be allowed to offer free bets to customers.
54 percent of survey respondents also believe that if promotions were banned, it would drive bettors to the unregulated market where promotions still exist.
“This survey confirms what everyone who is familiar with betting knows – that customers of betting products, like any other consumer, value offers such as small free bets, are subject to strict control and restrictions to protect vulnerable,” stated Michael Dugher CEO of the Betting and Gaming Council.
“The betting market is highly competitive with many customers choosing to use a variety of operators. Another attack on the punter would be to ban or restrict free bets. It degrades customer experience and hurts businesses, which in turn can lead to job losses.
“Moreover, this survey shows that if promotions are banned or restricted, punters will only go to the growing, unsafe and unregulated black market for gambling.”
The survey’s findings are made public as the Cheltenham Festival starts. This is one of the UK’s most important horse racing events and draws close to 274,000 people. Millions also watch online.
The festival is expected generate PS274m in local economic activity. Bettors will wager PS1bn over the four-day event that includes 20 hours of live TV coverage, and approximately one million daily viewers.
Campaigners called for strict restrictions, or outright bans, on promotional offers that are to be included in the UK government’s forthcoming betting and gaming reforms.
Dugher stated however that ministers should consider responsible bettors in deciding whether to ban free bets or promotions.
“Ministers should be mindful of the millions of responsible punters who enjoy a Cheltenham bet and not introduce draconian measures to placate the small minority of anti-gambling prohibitionists.”