Study department of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has published new data showing ‘no increase in the number of complaints’ related to illicit gambling websites during the national lockdown.
According to the UKGC’s monitoring data since 23 March, there has been no increase in complaints – with a total of 12 conflicts over nine websites in March and an further 11 complaints over 11 websites in April.
Overall, the UKGC detailed that the complaints over the past 12 months have been stable, with only January 2020 showing a significant above-average trend in illegal gambling commitments.
Richard Watson, Executive Director of the Gambling Commission, commented: “Our data does not indicate there has been an increase in any illegal gambling in Britain during the Covid-19 crisis.
“It is an area we monitor carefully and where we find problems we use our broad range of investigatory powers, alongside stakeholders such as software providers, payment businesses and hosting companies.
“Tackling illegal websites and unlicensed operators is challenging and it is also resource-intensive, but we are committed to continuing our work in this area to protect consumers here in Britain.”
The UKGC has formed a specialist team to track illicit gambling domains in support of its regulation of the UK Gambling industry. A range of resources will be given to the team to counter illegal acts, ensuring that unlicensed entities are impeded in delivering services to UK customers.
The Commission is also collaborating with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to inform stakeholders in the industry and the public about the risks of illegal activities.
Despite reporting low contact with illicit websites, the UKGC imposed a series of immediate steps on operators last week in a bid to further protect lockdown consumers.
The UKGC has directed online operators to introduce immediately tighter oversight of player control, consumer actions, due diligence and tests on affordability.