Analysis conducted for the new standards body, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), which represents UK regulated operators, reveals that consumers are exposed to large numbers of unlicensed operators (38%) through search results for key gambling terms on major search engines:
- four in ten search results for key gambling terms on major search engines are unlicensed black market operators;
- there is a danger that children are accessing illegal websites with no strict ID and age verification measures unlike UK licensed operators;
- there are 27 million visits from UK IP addresses to black market gambling sites; and
- it is estimated that 200,000 people in the UK have used illegal gambling sites in the past 12 months.
The BGC is calling on the Government to ensure that the Online Harms Bill includes action to crack down on platforms that profit from unregulated, black market gambling operators.
The BGC says that there is a particular danger that children are accessing these websites where there are no strict ID and age verification measures deployed by UK licensed operators. New strict age verification procedures introduced in May 2019 for UK licensed operators require full verification of name, age and address before anyone can open an online account or place a bet.
The regulatory Advisory Board for Safer Gambling (formerly RGSB) warned in 2018 that internet service providers, app stores, search engine companies, and other relevant providers should be vigilant to the possibility of third party use of their products to provide illegal gambling to children and young people, and should be proactive in preventing it. To read the BGC’s press release in full, click here.