New Poll Sheds Light Into Public Opinion of UK Gambling Advertising
The UK betting and gaming industry is bracing itself for the sweeping changes that will come with the White Paper on UK gambling, whenever that may be published. In fact, in anticipation of the White Paper and the new rules it will bring about, some key interested parties have already started making changes. One example that has been very well-covered by the media in recent weeks is that of the English Premier League – last week all clubs unanimously agreed to stop advertising betting sites and bookmakers on the front of their matchday shirts. It is widely believed that this decision came with pressure from the UK Government and with hints that betting sites could be banned from football shirts and stadiums altogether should the Premier League not come to a voluntary agreement.
In the wake of this decision, one of the most active opponents of gambling in the UK as a whole, the Christian charity CARE has released the results of a poll in order to establish what people in the UK thought of gambling advertising and the promotion of betting sites. According to the poll, a lot of people are of the opinion that there are too many gambling adverts on television, and that tougher controls need to be put in place to manage and regulate these ads.
The exact numbers suggest that 64% of poll takes were of the opinion that the gambling ads on TV are “too many”. Further to this, a staggering 90% of those who took part were of the opinion that any advertising of betting sites, bookmakers, or other gambling services in relation to football should be regulated by an official body. 85% of the participants expressed their support for having a part of gambling profits fund services that are required by those who suffer from a gambling addiction. 90% of people were supportive of checks that would help ensure safer and more responsible gambling by preventing those in financial difficulty from placing bets. Finally, 2/3 of those asked stated that betting sites and bookmakers should not offer VIP promotions.
The poll, ran by data and market research services provider Savanta on behalf of CARE, touched upon a large number of controversial issues such as gambling advertising, gambling harm, and safer gambling and social responsibility. CARE has considered the survey a successful example that the UK public is supportive of stricter controls and measures when it comes to the relationship between football and gambling advertising. CARE’s Gambling Policy Lead Tim Cairns said:
“We again urge the government to introduce a robust statutory levy on industry profits to help those harmed by industry products. If leaks are accurate and the levy is to be one percent of profit, this will not be enough to help. If the government are serious about introducing a levy that will bring change, then it must be set at five percent. This is the minimum required to begin to address the immense harms we are witnessing to individuals, families, and whole communities.”
Cairns also reiterated that, according to the results of the survey, the UK public wants advertising of betting sites and gambling in football to be “properly regulated” He pointed out that 9 out of 10 people in the UK would like to have a regulator who has the power to ensure safer and more responsible gambling advertising during football matches, and promotion of gambling that would not lead to any harm. According to Cairns, people who took part in the poll would like to have less advertising of gambling during live football events. He pointed out that an average game from the UK Premier League features 300 impressions of betting sites and other gambling providers, and 64% believe this is a too much. According to Cairns, the poll “illustrates public support for tougher measures, including a levy on gambling company profits, better oversight of advertising in sport, and an end to unethical promotions” and “change is needed”.
Naturally, other parties involved in the debate may question some of the results of the poll, asking if UK adults feel this way just about betting sites and bookmakers being advertised during live football events, or if they would like to see all advertising cut down, no matter what the product. CARE has also touched on the complicated issue of a mandatory levy on gambling – something which is rumoured to be coming with the White Paper, but which other industry experts are treating with a lot of care. For example, the UK Betting and Gaming Council have already suggested that any levy should be tiered, and that retail bookmakers would struggle paying even 1% of profits on top on the existing taxes. 5% as requested by Cairns would mean that a lot bookmakers may have to go out of business. This can be problematic for the already struggling UK economy, as betting and gaming brings £4.2b in taxes to the UK coffers, and the industry sponsors 42,000 jobs.
Most importantly, the poll results show that there will be a vigorous debate surrounding all the measures introduced by the pending White Paper on UK gambling. The UK Government has already stated that it would listen to, and engage with, all parties involved in order to get it right and turn the UK Gambling Industry into a leading example of a good system.