The UK Gambling Commission’s (UKGC) research department has published new data revealing ‘no increase in the number of complaints’ related to illegal gambling websites during the national lockdown.
Tracking data since 23 March, the UKGC stated that there has been no spike in complaints – with a total of 12 disputes related to nine websites in March, and a further 11 complaints pertaining to 11 websites during April.
Overall, the UKGC detailed that complaints have been stable over the past 12 months, with only January 2020 displaying a significant above-average trend in illegal gambling engagements.
Richard Watson, Gambling Commission Executive Director, said: “Our data does not indicate there has been an increase in any illegal gambling in Britain during the Covid-19 crisis.
“It is an area we monitor carefully and where we find problems we use our broad range of investigatory powers, alongside stakeholders such as software providers, payment businesses and hosting companies.
“Tackling illegal websites and unlicensed operators is challenging and it is also resource-intensive, but we are committed to continuing our work in this area to protect consumers here in Britain.”
Supporting its governing of the UK gambling industry, the UKGC has developed a specialist team to monitor illegal gambling domains. The team will be provided with a variety of tools to combat illegal actions, ensuring that unlicensed actors are impeded in offering services to UK consumers.
The Commission also works with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to educate industry stakeholders and the public about the risks of illegal activity.
Despite recording low engagement with illegal websites, last week the UKGC enforced a series of immediate measures on operators in a bid to further protect consumers under lockdown.
The UKGC ordered online operators to immediately implement closer scrutiny of player monitoring, customer interventions, due diligence and affordability checks.