Concerns over scale of unregulated gaming in Britain

The report suggests that unregulated sites accounted for 2.5 per cent of all visits to gambling websites.
The report suggests that unregulated sites accounted for 2.5 per cent of all visits to gambling websites.

A new report has found that Britons stake £1.4bn a year on unlicensed gambling sites.

UK.- British consumers visit unregulated gambling sites almost 30 million times in a year, according to research by PWC.

The report found that 200,000 customers together staked £1.4bn using services offered by unlicensed gambling operators over a 12-month period between 2018 and 2019.

That suggests that unregulated operators accounted for 2.5 per cent of visits to betting websites – 27 million visits in total. 

The report also found that nearly one in 10 of all search results for gambling were for black market sites.

The Betting and Gambing Council (BGC) says that the results show that the introduction of any tighter restrictions on licensed operators following the UK’s current review of gambling legislation could push more customers to the blackmarket.

BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said: “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.

“However, these figures demonstrate the danger of unintentionally driving punters into the arms of the illegal, online blackmarket – which offers none of the protections of the regulated sector.

“The regulated betting and gaming industry employs 100,000 men and women and pays £3.2bn a year in tax to the Treasury, so the Government needs to be wary of doing anything that puts that at risk.

“Millions of people in the UK enjoy an occasional flutter, whether that is on sports, at the bingo, on the Lottery or online, and it is vitally important that they are able to do so in a safe environment, rather than the unscrupulous black market.”

The current review of British gambling legislation is expected to consider new online gaming restrictions including stake limits and spin speeds.

The BGC welcomed the review but called for an evidence-led assessment.

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