Rise of Black-Market Gambling: UK Fears for the Future of British iGaming

Fears for the future of online gambling in the UK
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Over the weekend, a survey relating to new gambling regulations reported that almost 80% of UK gamblers have major concerns about these restrictions, which are set to be introduced by the British government.

The Survey, conducted by YouGov for the Betting and Gaming Council, found that 79% of gamblers felt that new gambling restrictions could lead more people into gaming at unregulated casino sites, where they are currently no regulations in place.

The survey comes about just as the British people focus their attention on the Cheltenham Festival, an annual horse-racing event attended by almost 300,000 people and watched by millions more.

Survey Findings

According to the BGC survey, over half of all UK gamblers fear that the new regulations could have a negative impact on their ability to enjoy their favourite pastime. The survey also found that a significant number of UK gamblers are worried that increased regulation could lead to more black-market gambling.

‘Affordability Checks’

The UK government is currently considering a range of new measures to regulate the gambling industry. These include tighter controls on online gambling, limits on the amount that can be bet on high-stakes games, and new rules to prevent problem gambling.

However, both betting platforms and punters alike have suggested that ‘affordability checks’, which would force gamblers to provide private financial documents to prove they have the means to bet, could be deemed too intrusive to people’s privacy, thus resulting in refusing to bet with them.

Black Market Gambling on a Dangerous Rise

The BGC survey also highlighted concerns about the growth of black market gambling in the UK.

According to the survey, 27% of UK gamblers have placed bets with unlicensed operators. This is a worrying trend, as black market gambling can lead to a range of problems, including fraud, money laundering, and problem gambling.

One study reported that the number of UK gamblers using unregulated, black-market sites during the Qatar World Cup actually tripled.

Another study even found that the numbers using black market site amount to almost half a million, with money being staked in the billions.

“Out of touch”

The BCG has hit out at the proposed future reforms, criticising its feasibility and potential consequences.

CEO of the Betting and Gaming Council, Michael Dugher, said;

This research is the latest in a series 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.

Any intrusive and blanket approach risks having the opposite effect by pushing them into the unsafe, unregulated black market which offers no safer gambling tools like time outs and deposit limits, doesn’t support the economy or sport and doesn’t pay a penny in tax.

Importance of Gambling to the UK Economy

Dugher made the important point of highlighting just have important Gambling is to the UK economy, especially as the economy is facing a tough period.

The industry generated over £14 billion in gross gambling yield (GGY) in 2022. It also supports over 100,000 jobs across the country.

The BGC argues that the industry can continue to make a positive contribution to the UK economy if it is properly regulated and measures are put in place to prevent problem gambling, but not if people feel like their privacy is being violated.


The BGC survey highlights the concerns of UK gamblers over further regulation of the industry.

While it is important to prevent problem gambling and protect vulnerable individuals, it is also essential to ensure that the industry can continue to make a positive contribution to the UK economy.

As the government considers new regulations, it will be important to strike a balance between these competing interests.

Also, it will be interesting to see if the backlash from the BCG will prompt a reaction from the government in relation to the proposed Gambling Act White paper.


Betting and Gaming Council


UK Parliament



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Emily Thompson
Emily Thompson
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Emily is our Casino Researcher and statistical mastermind. She uncovers all the latest trends through the numbers and creates valuable insights to our readers and internally, so we can cover our articles and journalism from a statistical background and angle.

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