Even low levels of gambling have been linked to financial hardship and unemployment, while heavier gambling activity is associated with early mortality. These harms are exacerbated by certain features of gambling products, their ease of access, and the bombardment of advertising, which polling commissioned by the Gambling Health Alliance indicates both gamblers and non-gamblers want the Government to address. Less than 10% of gamblers and non-gamblers said they would oppose:

  • A £2 limit to online slots in line with the Fixed Odds Betting Terminal maximum bet amount that was cut from £100 to £2 in 2019;
  • A ban on VIP schemes, which can encourage gamblers to bet more than they would otherwise*;
  • A new levy on the gambling industry, so a proportion of their profits go towards independent research, education and treatment of gambling harms;
  • For gambling products to only be allowed to enter the market once the level of harm they cause has been assessed and found to be below a certain level.

The majority of gamblers and non-gamblers also said they would support:

  • A ban on all gambling advertising in or near sports grounds or venues, which normalises gambling, particularly for young people;
  • Affordability checks for anyone who gambles to prevent unaffordable play that could be harmful;
  • A ban on all gambling for under-18s (who are currently able to access low-stake fruit machines, coin pushers and crane grabs).  

The Gambling Health Alliance has called for the Government to take a public health approach to gambling in its current review of the 2005 Gambling Act. The public health approach should include protecting the whole population and those at risk of and currently experiencing harms, including young people; taking a precautionary and preventative perspective; de-normalising gambling by reducing exposure to it; having equivalent measures in place between the online and offline worlds; investing in research, education and treatment to build the evidence base for effective policy making; and collaboration between key stakeholders from different backgrounds. This polling suggests there is public appetite to reform gambling legislation using this approach. 

With the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Gambling Act Review consultation due to close in one week, the Gambling Health Alliance is calling on the Government to act on the strong support from both gamblers and non-gamblers for greater protections against gambling harms and the need for robust regulation.

Louisa Mason, Gambling Health Alliance Lead said: “We have a real opportunity right now with the Gambling Act Review to make gambling safer. For too long the gambling ecosystem has developed into a powerful mechanism that has the potential to unleash harm and devastate lives. We now have the chance to do better and protect all those who gamble in the UK – and the public supports this. Let’s drive up standards that will improve safety and enjoyment.”    

Matt Zarb-Cousin, Director of Clean Up Gambling said: “Public support for gambling reform is overwhelming. It’s one of the few issues uniting the country across political, demographic and regional lines. There is a growing consensus that our gambling laws are outdated and regulation is not fit for purpose. The government cannot waste the opportunity this review presents to make it right."

*Our polling found that 15% of gamblers reported that promotions such as VIP schemes had encouraged them to gamble more than they usually would.

About the research

Polling was conducted by Yonder from 26th to 28th February 2021, and included a representative sample of 2,094 UK adults (18+). In the population sampled, 1,442 reported that they had ‘ever gambled’, (examples of gambling provided to respondents were the lottery, sports betting, bingo, casinos, slots, online gambling or scratch cards), while 652 had ‘never gambled’.



Support (gamblers)

Support (non-gamblers)

Oppose (gamblers)

Oppose (non-gamblers)

£2 limit to online slots





Ban on VIP schemes





Levy on the gambling industry





Licensing of products based on assessment of harm





Ban on all gambling advertising in or near sports grounds or venues





Affordability checks for anyone who gambles





Ban on all gambling for under-18s