BGC backs tougher stance against black market actors

Issuing a response to the Government’s Online Harms white paper, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has requested that measures are put in place to crackdown on technology platforms which profit from unregulated gambling operators.

The BGC has welcomed efforts from the Government to tackle online gambling harms and the mitigation of risks to underaged gamblers.

However, following research carried out by the BGC, it has been revealed that four in 10 search results for key gambling terms on major search engines have returned results linked to unlicensed black-market operators.

Further BGC guidance details that black-market actors secured ‘27 million visits’ from UK-registered IPs, as an estimated 200,000 UK players have engaged with unlicensed gambling domains within the past 12-months.

Michael Dugher, Chief Executive of the BGC, said: “Search platforms are promoting black-market gambling operators for profit, putting the British consumers, including children, at risk. None of the UK’s strict licensed safeguards are in place on these illegal sites.

“Regulated bookies and online operators have a strict zero tolerance approach to underage gambling, yet unlicensed operators are free to prey on vulnerable consumers.

“We welcome the Government’s Online Harms Bill. But it also provides the Government with a chance to clamp down on the black-market and help protect punters who want a flutter in a safe environment.”

Back in 2018, the regulatory Advisory Board for Safer Gambling (formerly RGSB) warned that more needs to be done to implement further verification measures relating to name, age and addresses.

The board emphasised that internet service providers, app stores, search engine companies, must be more vigilant to the possibility of third party use of their products to provide illegal gambling to children and young people, and should be proactive in preventing it.

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