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BGC: Black market “stands to benefit” if UK Government gets gambling review wrong

The UK Government has been told to “take heed” over concerns its proposed spending checks could push punters towards black market gambling.

Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) Chief Exec Michael Dugher issued a dire warning to policy makers after a survey from horse racing broadcaster Racing TV showed opposition to affordability checks.

Customers may be forced to hand over payslips and bank statements to assess their spending capacity, a move aimed at preventing unaffordable losses that is being considered as part of the Government’s Gambling Review.

But some 95% of respondents to Racing TV’s survey were opposed to bookies having access to their bank accounts, while 85% were concerned that punters may turn toward unregulated operators if restrictions were imposed.

“I’m alarmed at the findings — particularly the high number who believe that punters will simply move to the unsafe, unregulated black market online if blanket enhanced spending checks are introduced — and hope that ministers will take heed of punters’ views,” said Dugher.

“We strongly support the Gambling Review as an evidence-led process, but it’s vitally important that it strikes the right balance between protecting the vulnerable and not spoiling the enjoyment of the vast majority of customers who enjoy a flutter safely and responsibly.”

However, Dugher and the BGC reiterated their support for spending checks, but argued they should be reserved for “people who are vulnerable or at higher risk” rather than “blanket checks on every punter.”

Dugher added: “The Racing TV survey — like the poll we commissioned earlier this year — show that the unsafe, unregulated black market online, which has none of the safer gambling measures used by our members, stands to benefit if the Government fails to get the necessary changes in the Gambling Review right.”


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