Don’t Stick Your Nose In, warn Gamblers to Government

A new poll by YouGov has shown the strength of feelings against setting limits on the amounts that gamblers can spend on betting sites. Other research shows that those in the Red Wall constituencies don’t want to see strict gambling regulation introduced.

The poll showed that 65% of those asked believe that such an action would see more players leaving regulated sites and going onto the unregulated black market. Another finding was that nearly 56% of gamblers believe there shouldn’t be any limits set by the government.

One task the Conservative government has is to hang onto the Red Wall constituencies in the north of England. However, if they were to impose strict regulations on gambling, their hopes of winning those constituencies at the next General Election may well be diminished. Constituents replying to research carried out by Public First aren’t happy about how the government may review the 2005 Gambling Act.

A factory worker in Doncaster took part in the research last month. Their view is that the government “shouldn’t be sticking their noses in.” He added that “I should be allowed to do what I please with my money.”

In Blackpool, one voter told of their fear that any legislation might just drive people to the illegal black market and that would include those who don’t have a gambling problem. If this did happen, they believed it would possibly “create a whole new wave of problem gamblers totally unnecessarily.” Another Blackpool voter was scared a “nanny state” would be created and would make “a mockery of people and their ability to just be grown-ups.”

Wakefield is soon to see a by-election contested. A voter from that constituency said that the government should focus on those who do have a gambling problem. “It shouldn’t mean we all have to get regulated,” they said. The voter added that doing so is “ridiculous” and “too far to solve what is essentially a small problem really.”

The disquiet in Wakefield continued with another voter saying they gambled responsibly and knew what they can afford go gamble. “I’m not daft. I know what I’ll put on,” they said.

Affordability checks could see gamblers having to provide bank statements to prove they can afford to bet the amounts they are gambling. This didn’t go down well with a voter in Wolverhampton who said: “It sounds like something from a big brother style country. We can’t seriously be doing this sort of stuff in a free country. What are we going to have left?” Another spoke about the importance of the local racecourse and casinos to the area.

The Betting and Gaming Council agree that there should be enhanced spending checks when it comes to online gambling. However, they feel these should be aimed towards vulnerable customers and not be intrusive. They have called for a proportional and tiered system for the stake limits on slot machines.

Their chief executive Michael Dugher said of the focus group results and YouGov poll that it shows the outrage that gamblers would have if the government were to “interfere in people’s privacy and freedom of choice.” They don’t want to see personal documentation having to be presented before betting is possible. It would spoil their enjoyment “just because some politicians look down their noses at people who like a bet.”