Tuesday, June 28, 2022 12:23 PM

A ban on ‘free betting’ would push nearly a third of punters into the black market while sucking millions out of horse racing, according to new data released today.

Anti-gambling campaigners have called on the government to introduce a complete ban on punter promotions in its forthcoming gambling law reforms – despite a staggering 69% of customers saying they should be allowed.

A new study by YouGov on behalf of the Betting and Gaming Council found that 69% of bettors said free betting should be allowed, 63% said they considered promotions a valuable part of their hobby .

Almost one in three bettors (28%) said they would consider betting on the black market if ministers ignored their popularity and imposed a draconian ban.

As well as driving punters away from the regulated industry, analysis by the BGC found the move would hit horse racing tax for around £5million a year, in a double blow to the industry.

Punters should request promotional offers when opening an account with a UK regulated betting and gaming operator and can stop receiving them at any time they choose.

Betting and Gaming Council chief executive Michael Dugher said: “Promotions and offers are part of the customer experience in any vibrant industry, including our fiercely competitive sector, which supports 119,000 jobs and earns 4 £.4 billion in taxes to the Treasury. .

“Blanket bans on offers would be anti-bettors and would seriously degrade the customer experience, punishing the overwhelming majority of bettors who bet safely. Problem gambling is 0.2 percent. Imagine the outcry if supermarkets were forced to ban offers and promotions on beer and wine? We see no difference in our industry.

“We support the government’s ‘evidence-based’ approach to gambling reform, which is why any changes must be carefully targeted to protect vulnerable and at-risk gamblers, not the vast majority who bet safely. security. Ministers shouldn’t stick their noses into how people choose to spend their own money, and the last thing they should be doing right now is damaging business and sport.”

Black market gambling has more than doubled in just two years, from 220,000 users to 460,000 and the amount wagered is now in the billions of pounds.

The ban on free bets is the latest proposal suggested by the anti-gambling lobby that could hit horse racing revenue after general affordability checks.

These means tests, which would require bettors to produce personal financial records like bank statements before they are allowed to bet as little as £100 a month, could suck up to £100m a year on racing of horses, according to industry experts.

In total, the regulated betting and gaming industry contributes around £350 million a year to horse racing in the UK through royalty, media rights and sponsorship. This funding has been vital during the pandemic.

But there are growing fears that new measures being considered by the government could jeopardize this vital funding

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