William Hill CEO Bengtsson shows support for PWC black market report

William Hill CEO Bengtsson shows support for PWC black market report

William Hill CEO Bengtsson shows support for PWC black market report

Ulrik Bengtsson, the CEO of William Hill, has expressed his support of the PWC report on black-market threats which are affecting the UK gambling sector.

This report was commissioned by the BGC (Betting and Gaming Council) along with William Hill and Entain Plc’s backing. It is set to be turned in to the DCMS as evidence in the current review of the 2005 Gambling Act. Some of the highlights in the report present the massive growth of the number of customers who use unlicenced betting websites. This number grew from 210,000 to 460,000 in the span of only two years. Black market wagering numbers doubled in 2020, going from £1.4 billion to £2.8 billion.

William Hill and Entain Plc stood behind the findings, stating that they were a crucial response against the self-regard and suspicion from anti-gambling campaigns to recognise black threats. 

In a statement, the William Hill CEO mentioned that he agreed with the point of view of the Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McArthur. He stated:

Criminals seeking to circumvent the regulated sphere and exploit the vulnerable are demonstrating increasing sophistication, complexity and capability which poses challenges to us to keep pace. This is also our view on the black market. The reason is that unlicensed operators do not offer the same protections as licensed companies. They do not have any of the safer gambling protocols in place that we use, there are no age verification checks, no anti-money laundering precautions, or any of the consumer protections that are now standard in the industry.

Bengtsson repeated the BGC’s statement and said that the gambling review needs to be ‘led by the evidence’. This obviously majorly points to the fact that the black market has become an immense threat and the government has to put in more effort and impose restrictive customer affordability check measures.

If the government goes forth with the imposing of stricter compliance measures, Bengtsson believes that it would basically ‘undermine the Gambling Commission’s own record in confronting illegal operatives’. The PWC report proved that a large percentage of players felt indifferent when it came down to playing on unlicensed websites. Many respondents said that they preferred the ease of use of pay-outs and customer registration.

Bengtsson ended by saying:

This is not a new problem — sadly, there have always been illegal bookmakers, in Britain and elsewhere. What makes the current black-market threat so pernicious is its ability to exploit technology in order to make itself more available to gamblers. Now, a person on a legal betting site is only a few clicks away from a black-market option.

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