Governments and regulators continue to turn the screws on the clamps holding down the regulated gambling industry. As they do, they are inadvertently allowing the size of the unregulated market to grow. This is the revelation of a new report conducted by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), which shows that offshore gambling across Europe is on the rise.
Too Much Regulation Hurts the Regulated Market
The BGC addresses roughly 90% of British gaming, sports betting, and gambling operators, including William Hill, Entain, Flutter Entertainment, and others. The organization recently appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers to lead a conventional examination concerning the size and reach of unlawful iGaming across different directed European regions, revealing a higher pace of illicit activity connected to the arrival of “strict new measures on regulated operators.”
In a press release, the entity noticed that the quantity of British iGaming bettors utilizing unlicensed destinations has dramatically increased throughout the past couple of years. The group is now about 460,000 strong, with their accumulated handle presently running into the billions of pounds.
However, the BGC emphasized that this is not even close to the damage seen in Norway, where a state gaming monopoly, reduced stakes, affordability checks, and strict advertising controls have prompted an expansion in underground market activities. Currently, the black market segment represents around 66% of all cash spent through online gambling.
The entity likewise pointed out France, with an underground gambling market that has 57% of the country’s accumulated iGaming handle. In Italy, the offshore segment controls around 23%. France’s iGaming segment has higher tax rates and a lack of international player pooling, which limits possible winnings. Italy has a complete ban on gambling advertising, which means consumers in the country have no transparent way of separating the licensed from the unlicensed operators.
BGC Calls for Commonsense Approach
The CEO for the BGC, Michael Dugher, forewarned that any enormous scope changes to the current iGaming scene of the UK could prompt the growth of the black market and shrinkage for the regulated market. This, asserts Dugher, means the potential loss of 120,000 jobs in the country’s gambling industry, as well as the loss of the £4.5 billion ($6.1 billion) the industry pays to the government in taxes each year.
He added, “This research is stark about the dangers of the black market and we have to learn lessons from abroad and make the right choices at this dangerous crossroads. Any shift to the unsafe black market would also jeopardize the £350 million ($476 million) a year our members currently give to horseracing in sponsorship, media rights, and the betting levy; financial support that has proved crucial during the pandemic.”