Betting and Gaming Council draws attention to black market iGaming in Europe

In the UK, the influential lobbying group Betting and Gaming Council has drawn attention to the extent of the European black market in iGaming and warned that the British gambling landscape is now at a "dangerous crossroads."

The Betting and Gaming Council represents about 90 percent of British gambling, sports betting, casino and bingo operators, including giants such as William Hill, Entain and Flutter Entertainment. The organization used an official press release to state that it recently commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers to conduct a formal investigation into the extent and scope of illegal online gambling in several regulated European jurisdictions, which revealed higher rates of illegal activity related to the "introduction of strict new measures against regulated operators."

The stated desire:

The body, headquartered in London, explained that the results of this examination came at a time when the British government is preparing to outline its future vision for the country's domestic online gambling market through the publication of a white paper. In addition, the government said it wanted this upcoming regulatory environment to include "targeted measures to protect vulnerable players" rather than a "blanket approach that could force the vast majority" of gamblers into the hands of unlicensed operators.

Alarming trend:

The Betting and Gaming Council noted that the number of British players using unlicensed sites has more than doubled in the past few years to about 460,000, and their total turnover is now in the billions of pounds. Nevertheless, the organization says the situation is no worse than in Norway, where a state gaming monopoly, along with strict checks on betting, advertising and accessibility, has led to an increase in black market operations, which now account for about 66% of all casino kampagner.

Grim Scenes:

The lobbying group also reported that the situation in France is almost as grim, with the black market accounting for about 57% of the country's total gambling turnover, compared to about 23% in neighboring Italy. The Council on Betting and Gambling reported that the former country has a state monopoly model, while the latter recently imposed a total ban on online casino and sports betting advertising.

Naive navigation:

To make matters worse, the organization claims that the black market for iGaming in Spain now accounts for about 20% of that country's total turnover because of the "near-complete ban on gambling advertising" from 2020, leaving players "unaware of where to bet safely." Similarly, the company disclosed that Denmark recently saw a 9% increase in illegal gambling activity due to its decision to limit the use of loyalty rewards such as bonuses.

Pessimistic potential:

Betting and Gaming Council chief executive Michael Dugher (pictured) warned that any sweeping changes to the current landscape of online gambling in the United Kingdom could lead to "a smaller regulated industry and a significant increase in the illegal black market." The former Labor politician also said that such a development would jeopardize the jobs of the 120,000 people who work for members, in addition to the £4.5 billion ($6.1 billion) in taxes they pay annually.

Read Dugger's statement...

"This study clearly demonstrates the dangers of the black market, and we must learn lessons from abroad and make the right choices at this dangerous crossroads. Any shift to an unsafe black market would also jeopardize the 350 million pounds ($476 million) per year that our members currently provide to the equestrian sport in the form of sponsorships, media rights and betting tax; financial support that proved crucial during the pandemic."