An increasing focus exists around the threat of black-market gambling operators.
Recent reports and proposed recommendations from UK politicians increase the likelihood of UK players being forced to choose to play with ‘black market’ gambling operators who don’t hold a UK Gambling Licence.
The current climate
Enforced stake limits, deposit limits, bonus restrictions are among several measures being proposed as a way of reforming the online gambling industry in the UK.
Unfortunately, many of the UK politicians proposing these measures have become misinformed during the course of their research into the online UK gambling market; the current trends around online search, payment methods, products; and the overall global gambling market.
There is a clear lack of understanding of what over-regulation will mean in the UK and how easy it is for online players to gain access to online operators outside of the UK, leading to the concerning growth of black market gambling operators.
Changes for the Sake of Changes?
Whatever about the issue of problem gambling which affects a small percentage of the overall player-base and the desire to enforce strong measures, the fact remains that the vast majority of UK gamblers play in a responsible manner and generate revenues that benefit the UK in the form of tax revenue and employment.
Enforcing excessive regulations will lead to a fundamental change in consumer behaviour of online UK gamblers.
Being unable to deposit and stake beyond a certain level will mean a large number of players will search online for operators who can offer them large sign-up bonuses, reload bonuses and a place to play to whatever stake level they wish.
These operators are primarily casino-only operators who have no regard for player protection. They are only interested in short term profits and taking full advantage of players.
Their modus operandi is to offer large sign-up deposit bonuses, reload bonuses with high wagering requirements, delay on processing withdrawals and market aggressively to problem gamblers. They were the same group of operators who were targeting self-excluded UK problem gamblers via SMS with aggressive signup bonuses during Corona lockdown.
What’s Next for the Gambling Industry?
Whatever the outcome of the new UK gambling legislation, an aggressive and coordinated approach needs to be taken with non-UK operators to ensure players are protected.
Legislation, payment providers, banks, international law treaties should all be utilized to eradicate fully these parasite operators who target the UK consumer.
These black market gambling operators cause enormous damage and are responsible for much of the negativity around the UK gambling industry. They are the nasty underbelly of the industry and UK legislators and the regulators have a duty to ensure UK players are fully protected from them.