UK online gambling operators' claims of a growing black market are being denied by the UKGC ahead of the government’s review of the country’s gambling law.
According to a report, about 200.000 British bettors spent approximately £1.4b on unauthorized online gambling sites that were internationally licensed, in the 12-month period between 2018 and 2019.
Furthermore, according to the same source, internationally licensed betting sites not authorized to operate in the UK, had 27 million visits from British players during this year; equal to 2.5% of all online betting visits. Those sites also had a 9% share of all UK gambling search results.
Michel Dugher, the CEO of the British Gaming Council, stated that these statistics should help guide the government’s review of the Gambling Act 2005; due to the fact that there is “the danger of unintentionally driving punters into the arms of the illegal, online black market – which offers none of the protections of the regulated sector.”
On the other hand, UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) CEO Neil McArthur, replied back on the existing claims, by saying that the report was “not consistent with the intelligence picture.”
The UKGC’s own evidence suggested that the industry’s warning of a booming online black market was being “exaggerated” by “consultants paid for by the industry.” The regulator was not persuaded by the BGC’s argument that “raising standards in the licensed market will prompt consumers to gamble with illegal operators.”