Study Says More Betting Products Means Less Illegal Gambling

March 7, 2024
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Restricting the availability of sports-betting products significantly increases the number of bettors who gamble on the black market, a new study sponsored by the International Betting Integrity Association has said.
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Restricting the availability of sports-betting products significantly increases the number of bettors who gamble on the black market, a new study sponsored by the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) has said.

The study found a strong correlation between the availability of betting products and the channelisation of online gambling to legal markets. 

The highest rates of channelisation were found in those with minimal restrictions on pre-match and in-play betting, and the worst either had the most restrictions or no licensing at all, according to the study, which was released yesterday (March 6).

Britain, Italy, Ontario, Denmark, Spain and Sweden all had minimal restrictions and channelisation rates of 90 percent or above, according to the study.

The worst were Australia, where online in-play betting is banned, at 75 percent; as well as Germany, with “impactful restrictions”, at 60 percent; and Canada outside Ontario, which has no online gambling licensing, at 11 percent, the report said.

But separately, a top UK Gambling Commission official told an audience of regulators this week that while illegal online gambling is clearly a problem, some “descriptions of the scale and nature of the risks may be overblown”.

“We have consistently held the view that whilst illegal online gambling exists and presents a risk which of course must be managed, some of the descriptions of the scale and nature of the risks may be overblown” said Sarah Gardner, deputy chief executive of the UK’s Gambling Commission.

“Either way, we do not accept that the presence of illegal gambling means that we should accept lower standards in the regulated market in a race to the bottom which ultimately could be dangerous for consumers”, she said.

Gardner was speaking Tuesday (March 5) at a seminar in Stockholm sponsored by the Swedish Gambling Authority. 

Gardner said the Gambling Commission, still the guardian of the world’s largest regulated online gambling market, has devoted more resources recently to combat the black market.

The UK regulator asks software licensees to block access to popular games when they seem available on illegal sites, it increased enforcement actions by 500 percent from the 2021 to 2022 fiscal years, and it asked social media to close hundreds of illegal lotteries and to stop influencers from promoting unlicensed operators, she said.

The IBIA is a not-for-profit sports betting integrity monitoring organisation funded by the betting industry.

Its report was prepared by H2 Gambling Capital and included information from gambling trade groups in Brazil, Canada, the Netherlands and Australia.

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