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BGC Chief Issues Warning About Strict Affordability Checks


Man betting on sports on his phone

The BGC has concerns that stricter affordability checks on UK gambling operators will drive more people towards black market sites. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

A warning

The UK Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) chief executive has warned against the potential introduction of stricter affordability checks. He cited a recent study that looked at UK usage of unlicensed gambling platforms during the recent FIFA World Cup.

restrictions lead to more people turning towards black market platforms

Dugher believes that the data highlights some concerning trends relating to the usage of unlicensed black market gambling sites. He is of the belief that more restrictions lead to more people turning towards black market platforms. Dugher has called on the government to not introduce “blanket intrusive affordability checks at low levels that push even more punters to these dangerous sites.”

Strict checks are possibly on the way

The potential introduction of stricter affordability checks has been one of the more controversial topics during the UK government’s review of gambling legislation. Reports last year claimed that stricter checks would be a part of the government’s white paper on proposed gambling legislation changes.

These reportedly would require background checks on users if their net loss was as little as £100 ($124) in a single month or £500 ($618) in a year period. Detailed checks would potentially be necessary for people who generated a net loss of £2,000 ($2,472) in a 90-day period.

still unknown when the UK government will actually publish its white paper

Following numerous delays, it is still unknown when the UK government will actually publish its white paper. The BGC clearly thinks that there is still time to influence what proposals are a part of this white paper.

Concerning trends

The study that Dugher cited reported that 250,000 people in the region accessed unlicensed websites in December. Yield Sec carried out the study on behalf of the BGC, highlighting that the increase was more than triple the number of people who accessed these sites in December 2021.

One interesting recent statistic was that the number of television betting ads during the World Cup group stage was down 34% compared to the previous World Cup in 2018. The BGC believes the decrease reflects the introduction of a whistle-to-whistle ban by operators.

The FIFA World Cup was likely a significant reason for the increase in activity. For last year as a whole, there was a year-on-year increase of 46% in the number of people accessing black market sites in an average month.

Unlicensed gambling sites can be unsafe and often do not have proper safe gambling tools in place. These operators do not pay taxes in the UK or contribute any money to problem gambling treatment services. Vulnerable players who might be excluded from using UK Gambling Commission-licensed sites can also bypass their bans by using black market platforms.

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