Gambling Commission focused on “high impact, upstream disruption” in black-market fight

Regulator confirms 212 successful disruptions of illegal sites in 2023 as CEO highlights working relationships with police and HMRC in ongoing battle
The post Gambling Commission focused on “high impact, upstream disruption” in black-market fight first appeared on EGR Intel.  

The Gambling Commission (GC) has claimed it is “making progress” in the battle against the black market after issuing 452 cease-and-desist and disruption notices last year.

Speaking at the Westminster Media Forum yesterday, 13 May, GC CEO Andrew Rhodes delved into the efforts the regulator had been making as part of delivering “risk based, high impact, upstream disruption outcomes”.

The regulator boss told the gathered audience that in 2023 there were 291 cease-and-desist notices handed out to illegal UK-facing websites, while 161 gambling groups on Facebook were refered to the social media giant.

As a result, 212 of the 452 actions resulted in service being disrupted, with this being further broken down as 79 online sites and 133 Facebook closures.

Rhodes added that in the last six months the GC has referred more than 7,000 URLs to Google, resulting in the offending pages being removed from search results.

Additionally, in January alone, there were 98 cease-and-desist and disruption notices issued, with 39 successful disruptions.

In terms of progress, the GC noted that since 2022 it has ramped up its enforcement activity by more than 500% while trebling the number of successful illegal website disruptions.

Moving away from statistics, Rhodes confirmed the GC was continuing to work with the National Crime Agency (NCA), Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) and HMRC to deliver a “combined approach” to tackling illegal firms.

Rhodes revealed the GC has been addressing illegal Facebook lotteries via its partnership with HMRC.

That work has seen the lotteries shuttered, with the organisers also paying £600,000 in penalties to HMRC as well.

He also noted the GC was working with payment providers and banks to block transactions to illegal sites, while also partnering with search engines and social media to block illegal sites and their promotion.

The CEO also said the GC was in conversations with B2B firms to ensure their UK-licensed games are not available on illegal sites.                                                                                                                                   

Finally, the regulator confirmed it would continue to engage with licensed firms to ensure they are not working with illegal site

Rhodes said that while the GC would investigate cases when needed, the focus on disrupting the black market would centre on “high impact” actors.

He explained: “Although we will investigate and prosecute when appropriate, our focus is predominately on delivering risk based, high impact, upstream disruption outcomes. These are designed to restrict supply and access to illegal sites at scale.

“We use intelligence and software programmes to identify those websites with the largest Great Britain footprint or profile and focus on those which pose the highest risk, especially those websites and affiliates which target vulnerable consumers such as GAMSTOP self-excluded players,” Rhodes added.

The post Gambling Commission focused on “high impact, upstream disruption” in black-market fight first appeared on EGR Intel.


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