Michael Dugher, Chief Executive of the BGC, speaks out on free bets
Speaking on the recent debate of banning promotions such as free bets, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) spoke up on the topic. They begin the debate by stating that it would push almost a third of punters to the black market whilst sucking millions out of horse racing.
There have been many anti-gambling campaigners demanding that the UK Government completely ban these types of promotions in the upcoming White Paper despite 69% of customers saying that they should be allowed.
28% of players would consider the black market
A new research study conducted by YouGov on behalf of the BGC found that 69% of betters say that free bets should be allowed and that 63% of people said they found promotions a valuable part of their hobby.
The study also found that the ban would hit the horse racing Levy by approximately £5m a year which would be a huge blow to the industry.
A concerning statistic was that almost one in three people (28%) stated that they would consider black-market betting if ministers ignored its popularity and banned them entirely.
Gambling on the black market has more than doubled in just two years from 220,000 to 460,000 and the estimated amount staked there is now in the billions of pounds.
Blanket bans would punish the majority of punters, says BGC
Chief Executive of the Betting and Gaming Council, Michael Dugher, said: “Promotions and offers are part of the customer experience for any vibrant industry, including our intensely competitive sector, which supports 119,000 jobs and brings in £4.4bn in taxes to the Treasury.”
“Blanket bans on offers would be anti-punter and would severely degrade that customer experience, punishing the overwhelming majority of punters who bet safely. Problem gambling is 0.2 per cent. Imagine the outcry if supermarkets were forced to ban offers and promotions for beer and wine? We see no difference to our industry.”
A full ban would damage the sector, says BGC
“A draconian ban would damage a sector which tens of thousands rely on for their livelihoods, by turning punters away from the regulated industry into the arms of unsafe, unregulated black market gambling, where the numbers using such sites has doubled in recent years and the amount bet is in the billions. These sites have none of the safer gambling tools the regulated industry employ.”
“A move like this would also hit the horse racing levy for £5m, but the loss of punters to the unregulated black market would undoubtedly also hit other regulated funding for racing such as media rights and sponsorship.”
“We support the Government’s ‘evidence-led’ approach to gambling reform, which is why any changes should be carefully targeted to protect vulnerable players and those at risk, not the vast majority who bet safely.”
He concluded: “Ministers shouldn’t be sticking their nose into how people choose to spend their own money, and the last thing they should be doing at this time is damaging business and sport.”