The BGC Report Shows More and More Britons Visit Offshore Gambling Sites
December 24th, 2020 2.00pm
The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has posted a report that reveals the number of British gamblers visiting unregulated markets has gone up during the past year.
The data collected by the BGC say there have been more than 27 million visits to unregulated gambling sites over the twelve months of 2019. The association representing the country’s gambling and betting industry cited a PWC survey, which estimates that nearly 200,000 customers chose to gamble offshore during the said period.
In total, that generated around £1.4 billion in total handle for gambling sites operating outside the UK law.
Alienating Consumers Leads to the Rise of Black Markets
According to the information provided by the BGC, nearly 10% of all gambling-related searches targeted offshore websites and terms connected to the black market.
The report is a part of a more comprehensive strategy aimed at regulating the British online gambling industry. Simultaneously, the data gathered by the council should offer government insight into the current situation in the market. That way, the authorities can avoid overregulation and help find successful solutions for customers.
The ultimate goal of the review conducted by the BGC is to produce a specific set of steps and procedures that would enable gambling operators doing business in the UK to offer their players a level of protection they can’t get at the moment.
However, the report, aptly named the Gambling Review, has taken a somewhat different approach towards gambling in the country, as it mainly focuses on its online vertical. Online gambling has long remained undisturbed by the regulator, and many aspects of it require immediate attention.
Industry Can Benefit from the Gambling Review
In the meantime, the government introduced age and ID verification checks while raising deposit limits and promoting tools for safer gambling. Some MPs are not satisfied with the UK Gambling Commission’s performance and often call for its disbandment. On the other hand, the UKGC denies it hasn’t been doing its job correctly.
Speaking about the latest report, Michael Dugher, CEO at the BGC, said the Gambling Review was an excellent opportunity to improve gamblers’ safety.
Dugher explained that overregulation had backfired and unintentionally drove players to the black market. He said the gambling industry needed to pay attention to these trends and correct its mistakes in the coming period.
Britain’s gambling industry brings more than £3 billion to the Treasury every year, while at the same time employing 100,000 people all over the country. So, jeopardising the contribution it makes would be a foolish thing to do.
Dugher said that millions of Britons only bet occasionally, but pointed out the importance of ensuring they did that in a safe and secure environment.
Not Everyone Agrees
However, some disagree with the changes proposed by the Betting and Gaming Council. They feel the UK gambling industry’s re-regulation, although aimed at protecting the consumers, could have an opposite effect.
Jimmy Justice, a Twitter account that advocates the introduction of stricter measures against gambling operators and the higher level of customer protection, said there was no evidence that changes proposed by the BGC would create a safer playing environment.
The data revealed by the BGC in its Gambling Review is fundamental, especially as they show that overhauling the industry can have undesired effects on consumers and local markets alike. The gambling legislation needs to stop unlicensed operators from accessing players in the UK, but also needs to provide players with what they want, or they’ll eventually try to find it somewhere else.
The key to a thriving market is not to alienate customers