GC rebuffs “exaggerated” concerns over illegal market impact

| By Robert Fletcher
The Great Britain Gambling Commission has played down concerns over the impact of illegal online gambling operators on the regulated market, saying the sector is stable and not expanding.

In a letter to Carolyn Harris, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Gambling Related Harm, the Commission’s chief executive Neil McArthur said work to combat unlicensed activity in Britain is ongoing.

McArthur also referenced a recent PWC report commissioned by William Hill and Entain, formerly GVC Holding, whereby based on Commission data from 2017-18 and a UK consumer survey, it was estimated players staked £1.4bn with the British illegal gambling market over a 12-month period.

“Whilst we welcome research in this area, we recommend that the figures in the PWC report should be treated cautiously,” McArthur said. The report is absent of any evidence of an increasing remote illegal gambling problem in Great Britain.

“Their methodology makes clear they had to use data from August 2018, which indicates traffic to websites but does not differentiate whether that was by consumers or reflective of the vast amount of automated transactions that bots and other system tools conduct.

“Further, the report’s extrapolated figure of potentially 200,000 UK consumers using illegal websites is not consistent with the intelligence picture, including reports received by the Commission, from the public or other appropriate bodies such as law enforcement.”

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