Published: March 24, 2022

YouGov data backs up UK black market fears

The polling company YouGov has released new figures on black market gambling in the UK.

UK.- Anti-gambling campaigners have criticised the industry for raising the spectre of the black market in order to avoid tougher restrictions, but new data from YouGov appears to justify those fears. A new update from the polling company suggests that 17 per cent of British bettors would place sports bets on unlicensed sites if they offered better odds or fewer restrictions. 

YouGov did find that although a significant number of players said they would be willing to use unlicensed operators, the majority (78 per cent) described regulation as important, while 14 per cent said it was not important and 3 per cent said it was not at all important. 

Only 2 per cent of respondents admitted currently using unlicensed sites, although another 3 per cent said they were not sure if the operators they used were licensed or not. 

In January, the firm questioned UK bettors who had gambled on sports in the last 12 months, a demographic it said represented 12 per cent of the British population. They did not ask specifically whether players would use unlicensed operators to avoid affordability checks but only whether they would use them if they offered “a betting advantage”.

However, 58 per cent of respondents rejected the idea of affordability checks and 59 per cent believed checks would carry a “large or substantial risk” of pushing customers to unlicensed betting sites. 

YouGov said: “It’s clear the potential changes to the industry brought on by mooted government intervention could have a significant impact.

“Both the government and the industry have a common goal of deterring consumers from entering the unregulated black market. YouGov will be following closely as the industry steps into a new era of betting.”

In the UK, campaigners and gambling operators alike are still awaiting the publication of the government’s delayed white paper on gambling following its review of the 2005 Gambling Act.

The British government’s under-secretary of state for technology and the digital economy, Chris Philip, has told campaigners that gambling reform is “long overdue” and that “change is coming”, but the paper has yet to be published.

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