May 16, 2024 3 min read


DCMS Official Discusses the Fight Against Gambling Black Market

Despite the UK government’s efforts to combat the proliferation of illegal entities in the gambling sector, black-market operators remain a pressing concern

In a recent address at the Westminster Media Forum, Ben Dean, director for Sport and Gambling at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), highlighted the persistent challenges in combating the black market for gambling. He likened the efforts to a game of “whack-a-mole,” emphasizing the difficulty of keeping up with unlicensed companies that can quickly reestablish their operations after enforcement actions.

Illegal Operators Remain Resilient

Dean explained that despite close cooperation with the Gambling Commission, the battle against illegal gambling platforms remains arduous. He lamented that black market organizations were flexible in their approach and often circumvented restrictions, reemerging in unexpected places. Dean stressed the importance of cooperating with authorities, urging a united front against this threat.

These organizations can (quickly) pop their site up elsewhere. Working with internet service providers and payment agencies is key.

Ben Dean, DCMS director for Sport and Gambling

According to Dean, cutting off financial transactions to such sites was vital, noting that stopping individuals from using their credit or debit cards with black market entities represented the most efficient solution to the government’s problem. However, such measures would require the full cooperation of financial institutions, making enforcement increasingly more challenging.

Despite the ongoing efforts, Dean acknowledged the black market’s persistence, admitting that individuals adamant about using unregulated operators would find a way to do so. However, he remained convinced that proper regulations could protect most consumers, reducing their exposure to illegal practices and channeling them towards regulated offerings with adequate customer protection practices.

The Gambling Commission Continues Its Efforts

The subject of illegal gambling operators has recently taken center stage with UK lawmakers as the country enters the final stages of its ongoing gambling reform consultations. UKGC CEO Andrew Rhodes recently commented on the matter and was significantly more optimistic, lauding the Commission’s successful efforts in the fight against the black market sector.

In 2023 alone, the UKGC issued 452 cease-and-desist notices, referred over 7,000 URLs to Google for removal from search results, and achieved 212 successful disruption outcomes against illegal gambling operations. The regulator successfully disrupted unlicensed operators targeting British consumers, collaborating with law enforcement and other government bodies.

As the DCMS and the Gambling Commission continue their efforts to regulate and mitigate the impacts of both legal and illegal gambling, the ongoing battle against the black market remains a significant challenge. The cooperation between government bodies, financial institutions, and internet service providers remains crucial in making meaningful progress in this area.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

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