BGC Reveals an Increase in European Black-Market Gambling
A recent study by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) shows that offshore gambling is increasing as the European regulated market becomes more restrictive.
All across the globe, there are areas that offer online gamblers a chance to play games, such as poker, slots, and blackjack. In regions where online gambling is regulated, players have access to services that are safe and secure, without the threat of unpaid winnings or stolen personal information. In Europe, players have a wide selection of betting options, though the market is become restrictive in several ways. Now that regulators are pushing for a safer environment via various restrictions, players are retreating to offshore gambling instead. The Betting and Gaming Council reported these findings from a recent study involving offshore gambling.
Details of the Increase
Regulations are important for several reasons. First, they protect the player and operators with fairness and transparency. Regulations also ensure that local governments are paid for allowing the services to take place. When there are too many regulations in place though, it causes players to look elsewhere for gaming options, hence the increase in offshore participation in Europe.
The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) hired PWC to look into the black-market connected to gambling in Europe before the upcoming regulatory reform process in the UK. The study found that in several countries within Europe, players are taking part in illegal gambling sites. Norway is one of the most restrictive areas that offers regulated services and a whopping 66% of funds are going to offshore gambling sites to play games.
France is also victim to losing out on revenues, with 57% of all money staked going to offshore providers. France legalized online gambling over a decade ago but does not have any licensed operators in the country.
The report revealed that revenues from Norway to the black market have more than tripled while the French black market have almost doubled in less than 10 years. Many players are choosing to self-exclude from regulated and licensed sites only to join an offshore site and play from there, negating any chance of receiving help with a break in gaming.
Huge Increase in Player Activity Via Offshore Sites
The report shows that just two years ago, the number of players utilizing offshore sites sat at 220,000. Today, that number is more than doubled at 460,000. The amount of money going to the offshore accounts is in the billions of pounds according to PWC.
Research by the UK Gambling Commission shows that the changes in regulations over the past few years is lowering the problem gambling rate. The percentage has dropped from 0.6% to 0.3%, but are players just switching to offshore sites? That is likely the case.
If the lawmakers in the UK continue to push back on the gambling industry and create more regulations, it could be harmful. Players could continue to switch to offshore sites and then funds would not be contributed to local coffers. It would also put players in a compromising situation where they may be at risk.
According to the BGC, up to 120,000 are at stake currently in the gambling industry. On top of job loss, additional restrictions could see the government lose around $6.12 billion in tax revenues from the industry.
It will be interesting to see if regulators and lawmakers heed the information from the BGC. The group is not calling on a ban of regulations but hope that a commonsense approach will be taken as to how regulations are created from this point onward.