The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has warned about the dangers of illegal, online black market betting, amid the Government’s ongoing review of the UK gambling industry.
The 2005 Gambling Act is currently under review from the UK Government, with many leading politicians arguing that current legislation is outdated and unsuitable in the modern, digital era.
The BGC has, however, issued a warning about the potential implications the review could have regarding the safety of online black market operators.
It comes after a PricewaterhouseCoopers report revealed that 200,000 customers used an unlicensed gambling operator over a 12 month period between 2018 and 2019.
The report found that unregulated operators accounted for 2.5% of all visits to betting websites, which amounted to 27 million visits in total, with customers staking around £2.4bn ($3.19bn).
A total of 9% of all gambling search results were for black market sites.
“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,” said BGC chief executive Michael Dugher.
“However, these figures demonstrate the danger of unintentionally driving punters into the arms of the illegal, online black market – which offers none of the protections of the regulated sector.
“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.”
On the other side of the debate, safer gambling campaigners argue that black market warnings are a red herring, with there being enough safety threats for vulnerable players within the regulated market.