Illicit Betting Report by the UK’s Gambling Industry Misguided the Regulators

  • Richard Marley
  • January 19, 2021
  • 2 minutes read
  • 2177

UK’s Gambling Firms are being accused of exaggerating the numbers on the black market betting report to influence the decision regarding the regulations. According to a recent report, 200,000 people in the UK participate in the black market sites annually. The report claims that up to £1.4bn is spent on these black market sites. The report warns that if the regulations remain strict, more people could end up with unscrupulous operators. 

Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission’s chief executive, has declared the report to be inconsistent with the real picture and it is vague about distinguishing real customers and the bots using the black market sites. He states that according to the regulators’ own investigation, the impact of the illegal market has proven to be exaggerated. 

McArthur said, “black market concerns should be kept in proportion, despite … reports from consultants paid for by the industry, and should not distract from the need to continue to drive up standards and make gambling safer in the regulated market”.

This criticism can be a blow for the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), which has referred to the report to back their arguments against the regulations. The government is considering carrying out measures including limiting the stakes on virtual slot machines or forcing the web-based casinos to keep detailed affordability checks on customers depositing a certain amount monthly. The regulators have dismissed the suggestions by the gambling industry that these measures could increase the illicit betting. 

The Labour MP Carolyn Harris said: “The online gambling industry talks up the threat of the black market in an attempt to resist regulation and protect its profits, but trying to hijack the debate by manufacturing dodgy dossiers of information to further their own ends is an incredibly transparent tactic and will not be any kind of excuse to hold down standards.”

However, the gambling firms and BGC, who has revealed the report, have refused to provide a copy of the report. The final version of the report seems to have removed the involvement of three firms that commissioned the report.