Referencing research from Yield Sec, the BGC noted that 250,000 people visited black market sites in December alone, compared to 80,000 during the same month in 2021. The analysis aimed to assess the scale of black market gambling during 2022, which included last month’s World Cup.
The research also found online traffic to sites advertising services to problem gamblers who had self-excluded from UK operators climbed by 83%, while peaks in traffic to black market sites occurred in March and June, during which major horseracing events took place at Cheltenham and Ascot respectively.
“This research exposes the dire threat the growing unsafe, unregulated black market poses to punters,” said BGC CEO Michael Dugher.
“While the regulated industry was going to great lengths to protect young people during the World Cup and adhering to strict regulations and promoting safer gambling, black market operators were preying on the vulnerable.
“This data shows the World Cup drove a range of worrying gambling trends in the UK - not in the regulated sector as predicted by anti-gambling prohibitionists - but in the unsafe, unregulated black market online.”
The BGC added that the number of visits to black market sites from the UK increased by 46% in 2022, with around 148,000 customers accessing such sites each month.
Licensed UK operators must adhere to strict identity and age verification checks in order to prevent problem gambling and fraud, but unlicensed, black market operators have no such checks.
Yield Sec Founder and CEO Ismail Vali commented: “This trend of increased illegal gambling activity during prominent sporting events reflects the ever-present threat that illegal operators pose to players and the audience.”