BGC Warns of 27M Visits a Year to Black Market Gambling Sites

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In a statement on the Betting and Gaming Council website, the trade group argues that there were 27 million gambling black market visits between 2018 and 2019, totaling at £1.4 billion in lost handle.

BGC Publishes Statistic of Visits to Black Market Gambling Sites

The Betting and Gaming Council has revealed that the number of British punters visiting unregulated markets to seek products they are happy with has increased over the past year. According to the BGC, there have been 27 million visits in a year. This comes in the context of increasingly better results for the regulated online gaming market.

In an official statement, the BGC cited a PWC survey that revealed that estimated 200,000 customers opted for offshore gambling in the 12-month period between 2018 and 2019, generating an estimated £1.4 billion in total handle.

According to the data published by the council, 9% of the total search volume in relation to gambling was targeting black market terms and websites.

All of the above findings are part of a renewed effort to regulate the industry while offering the government a maximum clarity on the matter and avoiding the over-regulation of operators without achieving meaningful, long-lasting solutions for consumers.

The Gambling Review already plans to roll-out a specific set of measures that would allow gambling companies to provide consumers with the necessary level of protection, they fail to receive.

Do Not Alienate Consumers to Black Markets

However, the Gambling Review is taking a rather more belligerent approach towards gambling in the country, paying particular attention to online gambling, which has long grown unperturbed by regulation.

Meanwhile, the government is ramping up ID and age verification checks along with deposit limits and safer gambling tools. Some MPs have been even calling for the disbandment of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), citing poor performance, something that the regulator has denied vehemently.

Commenting on the numbers of offshore searches, BGC CEO Michael Dugher had this to say: “As the standards body for the regulated industry, we strongly welcome the Gambling Review, which we think is a great opportunity to drive further change on safer gambling.”

According to Dugher, overregulation is “unintentionally” driving consumers into the arms of black markets. Dugher reminded that the industry contributes £3.2 billion a year to the Treasury and that it provided employment for 100,000 people.

Anything that puts that at risk, Dugher explained, would be the wrong thing to do. Dugher said that millions of people in the UK placed an occasional bet and that it was important that they did so in a safe environment.

Not everyone entirely agrees with the position put forward by the Betting and Gaming Council, however. Re-regulated the industry, some argue, is a way to ensure consumer protection not to alienate or shutter the industry.

Not Everyone Agrees with BGC

Jimmy Justice, a Twitter account that insists on sterner measures against gambling companies and better consumer protection, has called BGC’s general argumentation “lacking evidence.”

The recent numbers by BGC are important, but overhauling the industry doesn’t mean alienating consumers form local markets. It simply means finding a way to suspend foreign operators without a license from accessing the country’s vast consumer base.

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