Unlicensed gambling operators are a scourge that tempt unwitting UK punters and draw players, and revenue, away from legitimate operators. That’s the final conclusion of a recently published report by the UK Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) a gaming industry-funded trade group.
The 66-page report titled, Review of Unlicensed Online Gambling in the UK was produced by the accounting firm of Price Waterhouse Cooper on behalf of the BGC and surveyed 2,363 active UK gamblers late last year. Players interviewed for the study were asked specifically about their knowledge and use of unlicensed gambling sites. More importantly, the survey also queried as to the motivation of players visiting offshore gambling sites.
Members of the BGC were particularly keen to hone in on exactly why punters go to offshore sites when regulated, local sites objectively offer one major benefit for the consumer – regulatory accountability. Not surprisingly, the survey found that UK punters are less interested in the security of their credit card numbers and the ability to get a customer service agent on the phone as they are in increased odds on their favorite games. This, of course, is likely due to recent moves by UK gambling regulators to reduce both stakes and payouts in games like video poker and online slots (which are not necessarily bad moves).
Other players pointed out other regulatory moves, such as enhanced credit card checks as the main reasons for going offshore.
Of course players who move their action offshore to avoid limits meant to curb problem gambling are exactly the kind of players that regulators are trying to protect by enhancing protections at regulated gambling operators.
The study concluded that black market operators were likely to see continued growth from UK punters, though it doesn’t specifically advocate rolling back the measures that are apparently drawing players in in the first place. (Though they probably wouldn’t oppose such a move.)