UK – A new piece of legislation is soon to be introduced in to the United Kingdom by the ruling government known as the Online Harms Bill, which aims to provide more powers to Ofcom, ‘the UK government-approved regulatory and competition authority for the broadcasting, telecommunications and postal industries’.
The primary objective of introducing the bill is to bring regulation and protection to Internet activities, such as gaming and social media usage.
The authority will be given the power to make online organisations responsible for protecting people from harmful content and ensure that such content is removed promptly.
In light of the bill proposal, the Betting and Gaming Council is urging the UK government to include a segment within the legislation that also cracks down on black market gambling activities by unregulated firms.
Reportedly, more than a quarter of operators in the UK market are unlicensed gambling operators and potentially endangering vulnerable people, including children.
It is estimated that the gambling black market is worth an estimated one a half billion pounds as unlicensed and unregulated operators are able to tap in to the British audience via search engines and social media, whereby age verification measures are poor and lack robust checking.
Chief Executive of the Betting and Gaming Council Michael Dugher commented on the astonishing figures:
“Search platforms are promoting black-market gambling operators for profit, putting the British consumers, including children, at risk. None of the UK’s strict licensed safeguards are in place on these illegal sites.”
Dugher elaborated on the comparisons between legal and illegal gambling operators:
“Regulated bookies and online operators have a strict zero tolerance approach to underage gambling, yet unlicensed operators are free to prey on vulnerable consumers. We welcome the Government’s Online Harms Bill. But it also provides the Government with a chance to clamp down on the black-market and help protect punters who want a flutter in a safe environment.”
It is estimated that around two-hundred thousand Brits have used black market gambling operators within the past year and over twenty million IP hits have visited unlicensed providers.