The number of British gamblers using black market websites has more than doubled, according to new research carried out by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC).
The PwC report called ‘Review of unlicensed online gambling in the UK’ is based on data collected between November and December 2020, and shows the amount of money staked with unlicensed operators increased from £1.4bn ($1.9bn) to £2.8bn compared to a similar 2019 study.
The new research also found that the number of customers using an unlicensed betting website has increased from 210,000 two years ago, to 460,000.
The study comes amid the ongoing Government review of the 2005 Gambling Act, which seeks information about the black market as part of its Call for Evidence. Fears have been expressed within the gambling industry that more customers could turn to black market sites if the review produces measures that are too strict and limiting.
“This new report by PwC is an impressive and comprehensive piece of work which demonstrates how the unsafe, unregulated black market is a growing threat to British punters,” said BGC chief executive Michael Dugher.
“These illicit sites have none of the regulated sector’s consumer protections in place, such as strict ID and age verification checks, safer gambling messages and the ability to set deposit limits.
“It is important to stress that the big increase in the black market is not an argument against more changes to the regulated industry, but an argument that we need to get them right.”
The new report also suggests the online black market is larger in countries with tougher regulations, highlighting Spain, France, Italy and Norway as examples where the black market share is bigger than in the UK.