Banning free bets could cause a lot of people to go to the black market

Banning free bets could cause a lot of people to go to the black market

The data shows that a ban on promotions including free bets would push almost a third of people to the black market.

Despite a staggering 69 per cent of customers saying they should be allowed, anti-gambling groups are demanding a complete ban on punter promotions in the upcoming reforms of the Gambling Act.

69 per cent of people say that free bets should be allowed, and 63 per cent say that promotions are a valuable part of their hobby, according to new research conducted on behalf of the Betting and Gaming Council.

If ministers ignored their popularity and were forced through a ban, almost one in three people would consider black market betting.

The BGC’s analysis found that the move would hit the horse racing Levy for approximately £5m a year, in a double blow to the industry.

When opening an account with a regulated betting and gaming operator in the UK, gamblers must request promotional offers and can stop receiving them at any time.

According to the Chief Executive of the Betting and Gaming Council, 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 £4.4 billion in taxes to the Treasury.

The overwhelming majority of people who bet safely would be punished by a blanket ban on offers. 0.2 per cent is the rate of problem gambling. Imagine if supermarkets were forced to stop offering beer and wine promotions. We don’t see any difference in our industry.

A ban would damage a sector which tens of thousands of people rely on for their livelihoods, by turning them 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. The regulated industry uses safer gambling tools on these sites.

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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.

The Government has an 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. The last thing they should be doing at this time is damaging business and sport, is sticking their nose into how people choose to spend their own money.

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

Horse racing revenues could be hit by the anti-gambling lobby’s proposal to ban free bets.

According to industry experts, these means tests could suck up to £100m a year out of horse racing if they were put in place.

Horse racing in the UK is supported by a levy, media rights, and sponsorship from the regulated betting and gaming industry. During the Pandemic, this funding was crucial.

New measures being considered by the Government could affect funding.


Ban on promotions would push almost a third of punters to the black market. Almost one in three punters said they would consider black market betting. Ban would hit the horse racing Levy for approximately £5m a year. Black Market gambling has more than doubled in just two years.