Survey reveals only 34 per cent believe betting conducted fairly
Only 34 per cent of Britons believe gambling is conducted fairly and can be trusted according to a report published by the Gambling Commission, with the finger of blame pointed at concern over terms and conditions.
While 48 per cent of people surveyed had gambled in the previous four weeks – a figure that drops to 33 per cent after stripping out those just playing the National Lottery – 78 per cent of respondents felt there are too many opportunities to gamble while 69 per cent feel gambling is dangerous for family life.
Nevertheless, 67 per cent of those surveyed said they thought people should have the right to gamble whenever they want.
The figures were revealed in the Gambling Commission's gambling participation report for 2016, the data for which was gathered through a combination of telephone and online surveys carried out by market research company Populus.
The figure for those who agree gambling is fair and can be trusted represents a fall from 48.8 per cent in 2008 when the survey was first carried out.
"These findings could be linked to consumers' concerns about the fairness of terms and conditions," the report said.
The Gambling Commission and Competition and Markets Authority are investigating unfair terms and conditions in online gambling and those surveyed were asked why they felt terms were unfair.
The top three areas of concern were having to wager a certain amount before being able to claim a prize/winnings, unfair limits on free bets and it being too difficult to win or in the company's favour.
Among the survey's other findings was that 0.7 per cent of those that have gambled in the past 12 months identified as problem gamblers, compared to 0.5 per cent in 2015.
The Association of British Bookmakers welcomed findings that gambling on gaming machines in bookmakers had remained stable at 1.5 per cent and that awareness of self-exclusion schemes had risen eight percentage points to 37 per cent.
ABB chief executive Malcolm George said: "We welcome this latest independent evidence which disproves claims that there has been a big increase in the use of gaming machines in bookmakers.
"We are very encouraged that the Gambling Commission report shows a big increase in awareness of self-exclusion schemes that are aimed at helping the small minority of customers who have a problem with gambling."
Gambling Commission programme director James Green said of the report: "Effective protections come from strong evidence. Our research puts us in a powerful position to better understand the needs of gambling consumers."