British Bettors Might Turn to Black Market if Spending Checks Are Implemented

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The United Kingdom’s Betting and Gaming Council has forewarned the government that failing to properly handle the Gambling Review can benefit the black market. The commission explained that shifting to more restrictive policies and implementing spending checks will likely prompt local bettors to turn to the black market.

The People Oppose the Spending Checks

The chief executive officer of the BGC, Michael Dugher, spoke on the matter. Although he’s an avid fighter for a safer gambling space, he has some concerns about the current situation. As an example, he provided a recent survey from the British horseracing TV channel Racing TV that asked 2,000 people how they felt about the changes. The results showed that a large number of bettors are deeply opposed to the affordability checks – 95 percent to be exact.

To elaborate, the UK Government envisions forcing bettors to provide banks statements and/or payslips to the operators. On this basis, the bookmakers would assess the customers’ spending capacity and will work to ensure that they have a good time and don’t fall into the danger zone of problem gambling. This way gambling harm, one of the hot topics of the gambling space, would be reduced.

However, it seems that the gamblers themselves aren’t very happy with the idea. Almost all of the people who participated in Racing TV’s survey don’t want to provide gambling operators with vital information about their bank accounts.

Furthermore, around 85 percent of the survey respondents said that such measures would almost surely result in many punters turning towards the black market and unregulated offshore betting brands.

The Numbers Are Alarming to Dugher

Dugher said that those findings are alarming, to say the least. For him, the number of people who believe that bettors will turn to the black market is dangerously high. Dugher appealed to the government, asking it to be careful with its moves and at least listen to the punters’ views. He explained:

 “We strongly support the Gambling Review as an evidence-led process, but it’s vitally important that it strikes the right balance between protecting the vulnerable and not spoiling the enjoyment of the vast majority of customers who enjoy a flutter safely and responsibly.”

BGC CEO Michael Dugher

The BGC CEO added that the council thinks a more moderate approach is needed. He proposed keeping the spending checks as an idea is okay but that they should be reserved for people who are truly at risk instead of being implemented to all gamblers in the country. According to the Racing TV survey, 74% agree with this idea.

Dugher emphasized that the government should not risk turning bettors against itself and forcing them to migrate to the dangerous unregulated black market.

“Any shift to the unsafe black market would also jeopardize the £350 million ($463 million) a year which our members currently give to horseracing in sponsorship, media rights and the betting levy – financial support which has proved crucial during the pandemic,” Dugher concluded.

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