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Study Shows Most UK Gamblers Prefer’ Black Market’ Fearing Restrictions

Last update: May, 2024

Written by: Lisa Cheban Content writer
Study Shows Most UK Gamblers Prefer’ Black Market’ Fearing Restrictions

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) recently commissioned a study on the UK gambling scene, and the results are out. In the survey carried out by YouGov on behalf of BGC, 79% of bettors in the UK worry that strict gambling restrictions encourage them to use unlicensed, underground gaming sites. Another 70% said they would consider joining a new gambling site if required to submit “private financial details” before placing a wager.

The survey is released when the country is readying for the prestigious Cheltenham Festival. This is one of the UK’s most attended horse racing events, with at least 280,000 people expected to participate. The event contributes an estimated £274 million to the local economy during the four days of racing. In addition, at least £1 billion ($1.2 billion) is expected to be wagered across the country.

It’s also worth noting that the UK government is on the verge of publishing a Gambling White Paper with potential reforms to gambling and betting. The BGC is worried that the “affordability” checks, which look to confirm if a gambler has enough money to bet, will only drive customers away from licensed operators to the illegal gambling market. The group is also concerned that gamblers and bettors in the UK might refuse any affordability check requiring financial documentation proof.

Michael Dugher, BGC CEO, noted: “This research is the latest in a series of outlining the genuine concerns of millions of ordinary punters who feel that the people making decisions about the future of betting are out of touch and have never had a bet in their lives.”

“We want to see genuinely non-intrusive checks, which use technology to carefully target and protect the tiny minority of vulnerable punters, but intrusive, blanket, low level so-called ‘affordability’ checks will be universally rejected by punters,” Dugher added.

'Black Market' Bettors Increased During the World Cup

According to a recent report from BGC, the number of people utilizing black market websites rose in recent years, from 210,000 to 460,000. The study also adds that these players have used billions of dollars to place wagers. Another study discovered that UK gamblers visiting illegal internet black market gambling sites during the World Cup last year increased sharply.

In December 2022, black market websites saw an increase in traffic by around 250% compared to the same month in 2021, when just 80,000 people did so. BGC also says this increase was seen in November.

Meanwhile, a recent survey by RacingTV revealed that 15% of the 3,500 participants had a placed bet with unregulated internet bookmakers or know someone who does so. The RacingTV study also says nearly 80% of British gamblers wouldn’t want to see obligatory spending caps on gambling.

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