According to the study conducted by the UK Betting and Gaming Council, the usage of services provided by black market operators is increased during the last two years.
The news about the casino sector in Great Britain is interspersed with mentions of tight restrictions related to the gambling industry. In such a way, the government tries to control the market, however, as the report shows, its “black side” is thriving.
Players choose unlicensed gambling for bigger opportunities
BGC has analyzed the unregulated market to get a clear picture of the current situation there. It has set the aim to find out about the number of unlicensed operators, their accessibility to the UK citizens, how much players spend on illegal gambling, and their motivation to use it.
It is worth mentioning that the British government has done much during recent years to protect players and make the gambling industry safer. Among them are the ban on credit card usage for gambling purposes, additional security measures for high-value users, prohibition for customers who are less than 25 years old to join the HVC programs. In addition to this, the regulatory body has also introduced several requirements for license holders. They have to comply with anti-money laundering requirements, check players’ identity and source of funds to make sure that gambling is affordable for them, monitor and detect the signs of possible harm.
Although the regulator has taken considerable measures, the report shows that the usage and amount of money spent on illegal gambling have grown during a couple of years. Although Google users see fewer websites of unlicensed operators in their search results, in comparison to previous years, the number of online gamblers who use such websites has increased from 210 000 to 460 000.
Analyzing the awareness of both unlicensed and licensed operators, BGC has also found out that 90% of respondents are aware of regulated providers. The awareness of illegal gambling websites is much lower – it varies between 3-16% (individual operators). The survey has revealed many interesting facts about the connection of spending habits with customer awareness. For example, players who spend much on gambling have more information about illegal websites than those who spend less. Fifty-seven percent of high spend respondents were aware of at least one unlicensed operator from the list.
According to the UK gambling law, even the operators, which are located abroad, have to hold the British license. Otherwise, they aren’t allowed to provide services in the country’s territory. However, within the framework of the study, it has been revealed that 86% of illegal websites can be reached from Great Britain. More than four percent of customers had an experience of the usage of an unlicensed website, at least one from the list. In comparison to 2019’s results, the usage of illegal gambling products has increased. Considering the rise in spending on illegal gambling by product, the study shows that every sector has seen growth within the last 1-2 years, except for slots. Bingo games lead among all verticals.
Users’ motivation was one of the key points to discover during the survey. The poll shows that the major reasons for choosing unlicensed operators are the ability to make bigger bets (especially for VIP customers), a wider selection of games and types of bets, and loyalty programs. The report has also provided a list of negative effects of the black market. Among them are loss of tax revenue for the UK government, poor customer protection, and unfair terms.
Read more: Legislation for online gambling in Europe