GAMBLING in Britain is booming. The advent of online and mobile betting platforms means punters can now place bets anytime, anywhere and on pretty much anything. Britons are set to bet £1bn on the World Cup this summer.
However, the betting bonanza has led to criticism. Bookmakers have been grilled over the presence of fixed-odds betting terminals on their premises, with some arguing the machines encourage gambling addiction.
But what does the public think of the industry? New YouGov research shows that more than 60 per cent believe the government should increase the regulation of gambling firms, with a tiny proportion, just four per cent, thinking the industry should have looser supervision. Around a quarter believe the balance is about right.
To put these numbers in context, our study shows the public think that only the energy and banking sectors are more in need of tighter regulation.
When it comes to betting terminals, 58 per cent of those who favour tighter rules want them banned.
Other measures to curb the industry’s influence also command broad support. Over 80 per cent of those who want regulation say there should be fewer betting shops on the high street. The sector is known for its high-profile advertising campaigns, but over three quarters support a ban on betting ads.
Although only one per cent of the population say that gambling would be an important issue when deciding how to vote next year, much of the public clearly think the betting industry should be monitored more closely.
Given the number of people gambling on events in Brazil, though, many politicians will be wary of interfering in an area that gives large swathes of the electorate a lot of pleasure.
Stephan Shakespeare is the chief executive of YouGov