The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) which is the gambling watchdog in the UK has dismissed a recent report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) coopers which suggests that illegal gambling could become a bigger problem in the UK, if gaming regulations are made more stringent.
The UK Government has a special commission looking at the 2005 Gaming Act which governs all forms of gambling in the UK.
Gambling opponents have criticized this outdated gambling regulation which they claim does not offer sufficient protection to modern day UK players.
The UK has witnessed an increase in problem gambling numbers in both adults and children during the last 5 years. These numbers have become a serious concern for the UK government and the UKGC as both parties have received criticism from anti-gambling groups for not doing enough to protect players.
The UK Government finally commissioned a review of the 2005 Gaming Act which is currently underway. Reports suggest that a number of changes are going to come about based on the review which will make things are lot more stringent for licensed iGaming operators in the UK.
iGaming operators have warned the special commission to carefully consider their options before pushing forward more stringent regulations. Their big concern is that if market regulations are made more stringent, UK players will avoid licensed gaming sites and flock to illegal gambling sites which will flourish.
A report from PwC backs these claims as it shows that during a 12 month period between (2018-2019), the UK gambling market so £1.4 billion being spent at illegal gambling sites by an estimated 200,00 bettors. The report also shows that 27 million visits occur at illegal betting sites and ten percent of all gambling related searches target illegal gaming sites.
UKGC Says Report Is Exaggerated
UKGC CEO Neil McArthur has dismissed both the findings of the PwC report and the claims made by licensed gaming operators as exaggerated. McArthur wrote a letter to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling Related Harm and said the numbers provided by the PwC report do not conform to the numbers gathered by the UKGC.
The UKGC report shows that the gambling regulator took action against 59 illegal gaming sites during 2019-2020. While the 2020-2021 period is not yet completed, the numbers show that the UKGC has taken action on 79 illegal gaming operators so far.