Commission Dismisses Concerns About Illegal Market Impact
The chief executive of the Gambling Commission in Great Britain has written to the All-Party Parliamentary Group Carolyn Harris’s chair to reiterate that work continues to tackle unlicenced betting activity.
Neil McArthur penned the letter to reference and rebut information in a PWC report commissioned recently by William Hill and Entain, the group until recently known as GVC Holdings, the owner of LadbrokesCoral others.
The report used Gambling Commission data from 2017-2018 and a customer survey to show that it estimated that consumers staked some £1.4 billion with unlicenced, unregulated companies for a year.
Questions Over Data Used in the Report
McArthur has spoken out to say that, while the Commission always welcomes research in this area separate to his organisations own, the GC recommends that the figures contained within the PWC report should be treated with caution.
The chief exec thinks that the report doesn’t contain any real evidence of an increasing remote illegal gambling issue in the country.
The Commission clearly feels that the methods used within the report contain data from the summer of 2018, which indicates website traffic but doesn’t clarify whether customers used those web visits to bet in these amounts.
The report seems extrapolated figures of around 200,000 customers based in the UK using illegal gambling websites, which isn’t consistent with reports received by the Commission itself or the authorities.
2020 Mostly Stable Regarding Illegal Activity
The Gambling Commission in 2020 spoke with 15 other regulators from around the world, the aim is to come together to tackle illegal gambling. In the past twelve months, more than 180 reports of unlicenced activity were indeed received.
This figure is a concern for the industry, although Neil McArthur has reiterated that it has remained stable for the past year now except for January 2020. A year ago, the surge was attributed to businesses trying to tempt in British customers, but were based in Curacao.
The reasons for reports being filed on illegal operators also varies. 92 of the cases filed were for companies allowing access to British players when they shouldn’t have, 28 were for marketing and affiliate violations, and another 20 were for operators refusing to pay seemingly legitimate winnings to players.
Sites Can Be Shut Down, But Players May Seek Out Illegals
The latest data shows us that, while threats to legal gambling in Britain still exist, its scale should be kept in mind and is indeed manageable and not growing.
On its own turf, anywhere in Great Britain, the Gambling Commission has the power to issue demands for illegal operators to cease and desist if they do not have a Commission-issued licence. If the operator fails to do so, they are in breach of the law.
From this point, the Commission can use its close working relationships with all web hosting companies to have any such websites taken down. At the same time, they can also utilise powers to block payment transactions and block sites from appearing on search engines and social media platforms.
Alongside this, the Betting and Gaming Council in the UK (BGC) launched a new campaign to warn the industry that the government-led Gambling Review could unwittingly drive some customers towards illegal operators.
Before any further banning or restricting of players takes place, which indeed is needed overall, more web blocking and help for gambling-related harm really needs to be in situ.