Regulatory Resistance? Narratives and Uses of Evidence around “Black Market” Provision of Gambling during the British Gambling Act Review
1.1. Gambling, Regulation and the “Black Market”
1.2. The Gambling Act Review and the “Black Market”
- What, if any, evidence is there to suggest that there is currently a significant black market for gambling in Great Britain or that there is a risk of one emerging?
- What evidence, if any, is there on the ease with which consumers can access black market gambling websites in Great Britain?
- How easy is it for consumers to tell that they are using an unlicensed illegal operator?
1.3. Initial Gambling Industry Responses to the Gambling Act Review
- What is the nature of reporting and discussion around unlicensed gambling in the UK in the initial stages of the Gambling Act review (December 2020–May 2021)?
- What type of publications/authors invoke the use of the “black market”, and how is this framed?
- What is omitted/not discussed from this public discussion?
2. Materials and Methods
3.1. Search Results and Characteristics of Studies
3.2. Narrative Themes Identified within Articles
3.2.1. “Black Market” Growth
“There are people in the anti-gambling lobbying regimes that seem to deny that the black market exists…To me that is sort of saying that the Earth is flat. It’s very clear that there is a black market for gambling and I think anyone should be worried by the fact that the numbers have doubled in about a year”.
“[T]he biggest single challenge in making any real impact assessment of any black market is that no-one knows the real scale or scope of such a market, by definition. It is not measured, not is it easily measurable.”.
3.2.2. Determinism and Displacement
“If people were restricted, they would simply migrate to the growing unlicensed, unsafe, black market”.
“If checks are unnecessarily onerous, punters will go to the unsafe black market”.
“Black market betting will rocket if new laws are too strict”.
“The risks of driving people to the black market may be offset by more expansive powers and funding for the Gambling Commission”.
3.2.3. Economic and Political Contribution and Loss
“The regulated betting and gaming industry employs 100,000 men and women and pays £3.2 bn a year in tax to the Treasury, so the Government needs to be wary of doing anything that puts that at risk.”.
“[U]nlicensed, unsafe [black market online] that employs no one, pays no tax and contributes nothing to UK PLC”
“I hope politicians will also take heed of the findings and listen to voters in Northern and Midlands marginal seats—who will be key to the result of the next election—who are wary of being told by Westminster how to live their lives, especially in the wake of the COVID pandemic”.
3.2.4. Safety and Protection
“[The] modern day internet equivalent of the ‘Peaky Blinders’—dangerous, illegal backstreet bookies, run by organised crime”.
“I have never met a problem gambler who has not gambled on the black market”.
3.2.5. Balance and Proportion
“It is important to stress that the big increase in the black market is not an argument against more changes to the regulated industry, but an argument that we need to get them right”.
“It is important the review is evidence-led, strikes the right balance between protecting the vulnerable and the continued enjoyment of the many tens of millions who happily place the occasional bet, as well as taking a critical look at the growing risks of the black market”.
“You’ve got to be careful and reasonable in what you do. A £2 limit on table games [such as online roulette] would give you a problem with the black market.”.
3.2.6. Retort and Response
“The UK has been highly successful in suppressing the development of a black market for gambling. This is likely to be the result of laws to permit the range of betting and gaming products that consumers wish to play; the maintenance of taxes (with some exceptions) at reasonably sensible levels; and by effective enforcement by the Gambling Commission and other relevant authorities”.
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Title||Publication||Publication Type||Date||By-Line||Article Type||Tone|
|William Hill CEO: important that gambling review strikes right balance ||Gambling Insider||Industry press||8 December 2021||Tim Poole||Opinion piece||Pro-industry|
|Betting and Gaming Council chair cautions against severe gambling review ||Racing Post||Industry press||8 December 2021||Jonathan Harding||News piece||Pro-industry|
|UK government launches consultation on updating gambling laws for digital age ||Mondaq||Legal press||10 December 2021||Geraint Lloyd-Taylor||Opinion piece||Balanced|
|Betting and Gaming Council issues renewed black market warning ||Casino Beats||Industry press||21 December 2020||NA||News report||Pro-industry|
|UK sees 27 m visits to black market sites in a year ||iGaming Business||Industry press||21 December 2020||Richard Mulligan||News report||Pro-industry|
|UK online black market sees 27 m visits in a year: BGC warns over gambling review ||Yogonet||Industry press||22 December 2020||NA||News report||Pro-industry|
|Government must tackle rates gambling addiction which crisis waiting happen according to MP ||Dewsbury Reporter||Regional press||7 January 2021||Ian Hirst||News report||Balanced|
|UK gambling operators criticized for overstating black market threat ||Gambling News||Industry press||18 January 2021||Fiona Simmons||News report||Balanced|
|UK gambling firms accused of exaggerating scale of black market betting ||The Guardian||National press||18 January 2021||Rob Davies||News report||Industry-critical|
|Teens blowing 1.4 billion black market gambling ||The Sun||National press||20 January 2021||David Wooding||News report||Pro-industry|
|Winning Post playing it straight on black market threats ||SBC News||Industry press||25 January 2021||Regulus Partners||Opinion piece||Pro-industry|
|Sunak monitors gambling review closely ||SBC News||Industry press||29 January 2021||Ted Menmuir||News report||Pro-industry|
|Rishi Sunak raises concerns of enhanced affordability checks ||Inkedin||Industry press||29 January 2021||NA||News report|
|Higher license fees to help gambling commission address modern challenges ||Gambling News||Industry press||31 January 2021||Fiona Simmons||News report||Balanced|
|Cruddace shares concerns on gambling review ||Racing TV||Industry press||31 January 2021||NA||News report||Balanced|
|Cruddace airs concerns on gambling review ||Evening Times (Glasgow)||Regional press||01 February 2021||Matthew Johnstone||News report||Balanced|
|Entain launches consumer representation initiative the players panel ||SBC News||Industry press||01 February 2021||Ted Orme-clay||News report||Pro-industry|
|UK betting faces bigger threats than losing its sport shirts ||The Guardian||National press||01 February 2021||Rob Davies||Opinion piece||Balanced|
|BGC determined to drive change as UKGC clamps down on slots ||Casino beats||Industry press||02 February 2021||NA||News report||Pro-industry|
|Industry urges GC to heed black market warnings in gambling act review ||iGaming Business||Industry press||04 February 2021||Robert Fletcher||News report||Pro-industry|
|Number of British punters using black market gambling sites more than doubles ||Politics Home||Political press||04. February 2020||BGC||Opinion piece||Pro-industry|
|Black market doubles during pandemic ||The Telegraph||National press||04 February 2021||Oliver Gill||News report||Pro-industry|
|Even low levels of gambling linked to financial hardship study finds ||The Guardian||National press||04 February 2021||Rob Davies||News report||Balanced|
|Ministers should beware driving gamblers to the black market ||The Times||National press||04 February 2021||Michael Dugher, BGC||Opinion piece||Pro-industry|
|Gambling limits an invasion of privacy ||Sunday Express||National press||07 February 2021||David Maddox||News report||Pro-industry|
|PWC report shows British black market gambling doubled since 2018 ||City A.M.||National press||05 February 2021||Clara Dijstrak||News report||Pro-industry|
|Its long overdue: Northern Ireland gambling laws set for significant reform ||Racing Post||Industry press||08 February 2021||Bill Barber||News report||Pro-industry|
|William Hill’s Ulrik Bengtsson: claiming the black market doesn’t exist is like saying the earth is flat ||SBC News||Industry press||08 February 2021||NA||Opinion piece||Pro-industry|
|Bad bet: how the gambling industry is lobbying hard against online betting reform ||Left Foot Forward||Political press||09 February 2021||Howard Reed||Opinion piece||Industry-critical|
|BLACK MARKET DANGER MP warns of ‘disastrous’ consequences affordability checks on punters will have on racing ||The Sun||National press||09 February 2021||Bruce Archer||News report||Pro-industry|
|Donoughue cuts ties with all party betting gaming group ||SBC News||Industry press||12 February 2021||Ted Menmuir||News report||Pro-industry|
|Flutter’s Ian Proctor outlines affordability approach ||SBC News||Industry press||12 February 2021||Ted Orme-clay||News report||Pro-industry|
|British Racing bodies hit out at disastrous affordability checks plans ||iGaming Business||Industry press||15 February 2021||Robert Fletcher||News report||Pro-industry|
|Government’s review into gambling laws must take heed of black market threat warn industry experts ||London Post||Regional press||15 February 2021||NA||News report||Pro-industry|
|All bets are off for gambling reforms in the UK ||London on the inside||Regional press||25 February 2021||NA||Review||Balanced|
|Stadium walks held to call for end to football betting ads ||BBC News||National press||06 March 2021||NA||News report||Industry critical|
|ILLEGAL BET SITE FEARS Black market betting ‘will rocket if new laws are too strict’ ||The Sun||National press||07 March 2021||David Wooding||News report||Pro-industry|
|BGC poll reveals public opposition to bet limits ||SBC News||Industry press||8 March 2021||Ted Orme-clay||News report||Pro-industry|
|Poll: Gambling Limits Prove Unpopular in Britain ||The Blood-Horse||Industry press||08 March 2021||Scott Burton||News report||Pro-industry|
|Brits oppose gambling limits poll concludes ||Casino.org||Industry press||09 March 2021||Devin O’Connor||News report||Pro-industry|
|SMF: UK economy could benefit from strict gambling laws ||Gambling Insider||Industry press||10 March 2021||NA||News report||Balanced|
|Study claims 5% of accounts responsible for 70% of British GGY ||iGaming Business||Industry press||12 March 2021||Daniel O’Boyle||News report||Pro-industry|
|Consultant: More research into black market motivations needed instead of “misplaced critique” ||Gambling Insider||Industry press||12 March 2021||Iqbal Jonal||Opinion piece||Balanced|
|BGC reasserts zero tolerance approach to betting by under-18 s ||Casino Beats||Industry press||15 March 2021||NA||News report||Pro-industry|
|Natcen report fails to highlight recent work to raise standards says BGC ||Casino Beats||Industry press||15 March2021||NA||News report||Pro-industry|
|How to control gambling in a digital age ||The Yorkshire Post||Regional press||18 March 2021||Christopher Snowdon||Opinion piece||Pro-industry|
|How can we make gambling regulation fit for the digital age? ||Politics Home||Political press||31 March 2021||Jette Nygaard-Andersen, Chief Executive, Entain||Opinion piece||Pro-industry|
|Battles ahead for British bookies ||iGaming Business||Industry press||31 March 2021||Daniel O’Boyle||Review||Balanced|
|Striking the legal balance ||Gambling Insider||Industry press||19 April 2021||NA||Opinon piece||Balancd|
|Betting and gaming industry unites once again for safer gambling week 2021 ||Politics Home||Political press||20 April 2021||BGC||Opinion piece||Pro-industry|
|Betting and Gaming Council Statement—Response To The ‘Peers For Gambling Reform’ Report ||Politics Home||Political press||26 April 2021||BGC||Opinion piece||Pro-industry|
|Modernisation of Gambling Taxes and How It Will Affect the Industry ||Warrington WorldWide||Regional News||26 April 2021||Hannah Skentelbery||Review||Balanced|
|Gamcare urges a unified response to address gambling block loopholes ||Casino Beats||Industry press||26 April 2021||NA||News report||Balanced|
|Gamcare workshop highlights how gambling blocks can be bypassed ||SBC News||Industry news||27 April 2021||Ted Menmuir||News report||Pro-industry|
|Betting and Gaming Council’s response to peers for gambling reforms report ||European Gaming||Industry press||27 April 2021||Niji Narayan||News report||Pro-industry|
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Wardle, H.; Reith, G.; Dobbie, F.; Rintoul, A.; Shiffman, J. Regulatory Resistance? Narratives and Uses of Evidence around “Black Market” Provision of Gambling during the British Gambling Act Review. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 11566. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182111566
Wardle H, Reith G, Dobbie F, Rintoul A, Shiffman J. Regulatory Resistance? Narratives and Uses of Evidence around “Black Market” Provision of Gambling during the British Gambling Act Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(21):11566. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182111566Chicago/Turabian Style
Wardle, Heather, Gerda Reith, Fiona Dobbie, Angela Rintoul, and Jeremy Shiffman. 2021. "Regulatory Resistance? Narratives and Uses of Evidence around “Black Market” Provision of Gambling during the British Gambling Act Review" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 21: 11566. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182111566