Black Market on the Water: UKGC Review Prepares to Address Uncomfortable Data

Published February 10, 2021 by Lee R

Black Market on the Water: UKGC Review Prepares to Address Uncomfortable Data

Operators are joining the UKGC's review to protect the safety of players from the black market.

The well-known UKGC gambling review is taking into account all components of iGaming in the world's largest market, including the region's lingering and potentially problematic black market.

License Operators Unite

Licensed UK operators have concurred with Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) research indicating black market activity is on the rise, with William Hill calling it a “growing problem we must confront.”

Alarming Data

Dating to November and December 2020, the data indicating the rise in black market play was provided by PwC and published by the BGC on 4 February in the commission's “Review of unlicensed online gambling in the UK.”

Black Market Use Rising

Findings indicate an unhealthy increase in the amount of money staked with unlicensed operators from £1.4bn ($1.9bn) to £2.8bn since the last similar study in 2019. New research further indicated the number of players using black market betting sites increased from 210,000 in 2019 to 460,000.

William Hill CEO Speaks

The urgency of the black market situation is clearly rising in the UK, with UK operators calling on the government as well as stakeholders to address the rise now.

William Hill CEO Ulrik Bengtsson represented general operators concerns:

“We have long been concerned by the black market in gambling and the threat it poses to’s a growing problem that we must confront.”

Supporting UKGC

Bengtsson called for protection of all UK players from illegal operators:

“We must do all that we can to make sure that remains the case.”

Flutter UK Boss Speaks

Gaming powerhouse Flutter Entertainment seeks increases in safe gambling practices, with Flutter Entertainment UK and Ireland Division chairman Ian Proctor calling for operators to look within:

“The Gambling Act Review is a moment for regulated and responsible operators to ask ourselves how we can raise our game to drive forward enhanced safer gambling practices.

Heeding the Data

Proctor called the new data a reminder of “complex challenges” still facing operators, government and stakeholders in ensuring the greater review delivers “genuine improvements” rather than “cosmetic change” which could open the door to “unlicensed participation in the UK market.”


It is encouraging to see operators not only support the safety review publicly, but begin to take an active role assisting the process.

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