The BGC’s Chief Executive wants consumers to be very aware of where they spend their money, as recent research undertaken by the PwC has shown that between 2018 and 2019, approximately 200,000 people used an unlicensed gambling site.
And it’s not just the shocking number of consumers who were duped into thinking that they were playing with legitimate gambling operators that are a cause for concern. The same statistics also show that people staked around £1.4 billion at black-market betting sites in the same 12-month period.
As the head of the Betting and Gaming Council Michael Dugher is eager to slow, or even stall, the growth of these underhand companies who seek to profit from innocent British punters.
Despite his faith in the upcoming Gambling Review as a way to “drive further change on safer gambling”, Mr Dugher remains highly concerned that the “illegal, online black market” does not offer British consumers any of the “protections of the regulated gambling sector”.
He also warns the Government that a big chunk of the £3.2 billion the Treasury receives every year via the regulated betting and gambling industry is at risk of being lost if the unlicensed betting market continues to take customer funds.
Furthermore, he believes that protecting consumers who “enjoy an occasional flutter on sports, at the bingo, on the Lottery or online” is imperative to ensure that can they bet in “a safe environment”.
High levels of player protection are often only available at licensed gambling sites and venues, including a range of safer gambling tools and strict age verification and ID checks.
The PwC data is likely to influence the Betting and Gaming Council’s input into the Gambling Review, particularly as it shows that black-market sites make up 2.5% of total visits to betting-related sites.
If you’re concerned about whether a gambling site is licensed, you can check whether it contains a valid UK Gambling License number in the footer. Alternatively, you can search for the brand name or operator on the UK Gambling Commission’s website.