In its budget submission, the Betting & Gaming Council (BGC) has called for help with tackling unregulated online gambling in the UK.
The council has also asked for certain tax reforms, as well as other things.
A black market worth billions
Ahead of Rishi Sunak‘s first budget delivery as Chancellor of the Exchequer tomorrow, the BGC shed light on the size of illegal online gambling in the UK.
On its website, the commission said the following.
“The BGC are also calling for help to tackle the online black market which is estimated to be worth £1.4 billion or 1.2 per cent of turnover. The black market is a clear threat to licensed operators and has resulted in a loss of revenue to the Exchequer.
“There is also 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, require full verification of name, age and address before anyone can open an online account or place a bet.”
Michael Dugher, Chief Executive of the BGC, also shared his thoughts on the size of the country’s black market. He said the following.
“We welcomed the Government’s commitment to an Online Harms Bill as an opportunity to clamp down on the black market and the big platform search engines promoting these sites.
“Unlike rogue black-market operators, BGC members in the regulated sector adhere to the highest standards – including zero tolerance on under-18s betting. “We ask the Chancellor to press for change that will help boost Exchequer revenues and stop unlicensed operators from preying on vulnerable consumers.”
Tax reforms and help for retail bookmakers also requested
In its budget submission, the BGC also called for “support for the retail and leisure industry”, “through the reform of business rates including changing the rules to allow more small businesses to take advantage of the small business retail relief.”
At the moment, only a selection of businesses with a value lower than £51,000 “qualify for small business retail relief”.
The BGC also stated that since restrictions to fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) came into force last April, an average of five retail bookmakers are closing each day. The total number stands at over 1,500.