The chairwoman of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), Brigid Simmonds is urging government ministers to listen to the opinions of the British public when carrying out their review of the 2005 Gambling Act.
She believes that any political party which hopes to win the next general election will fail to win public support if they “turn a deaf dear to ordinary people’s views” when it comes to what they think about betting.
To help influence ministers with their Gambling Act review, the BGC has commissioned a YouGov poll, as well as 20 focus groups to find out what the general public thinks about betting.
The majority of the locations that were chosen for the focus groups were “Red Wall” areas such as the Midlands and the North of England, as they include several traditionally Labour areas that fell to the Tories in 2019.
As the Government has claimed that it wants the review process to be led by evidence, Brigid Simmonds believes that understanding what the average member of the public thinks is key to a successful review.
For example, she states that betting often divides opinion. While around 30 million people see betting as a “leisure activity which is integral to British culture and society”, while a small number see it as conflicting with their faith and personal morals. There are also casual bettors to consider such as women who attend Ladies Day perhaps only once a year.
The BGC chairwoman says that she agrees with affordability checks and deposit limits, but that if the Government takes personal intervention too far, it runs the risk of upsetting voters who are already tiring of having restrictions forced on them, as well as pushing punters towards black-market betting operations.
She adds that she supports further change to the way that the industry is regulated but urges ministers to “make sure they get them right”.