UK Gambling Commission probes illegal bookmakers

  • 3 min read
UK Gambling Commission probes illegal bookmakers

UK Gambling Commission CEO, Andrew Rhodes, confirms ongoing probe into illicit gambling in recent interview.

The UK’s debate on proposed affordability checks amid gambling industry reforms has heightened. MPs engaged in a passionate discussion on spending checks following a petition by Jockey Club’s CEO, Nevin Truesdale, garnering 100,000+ signatures in under a month.

Meanwhile, the Gambling Commission, represented by CEO Andrew Rhodes, is actively investigating illegal gambling cases, adding to the regulatory focus on industry challenges.

Discussing the illicit market, the Rhodes emphasized the complexities of such inquiries. He noted the primary challenge is the limited individuals and anecdotal evidence. In a recent session with MPs, he detailed a multi-agency operation leading to gold and cash seizures and arrests.

Yet, Rhodes highlighted the clandestine nature of illegal betting rings, typically organized on platforms like WhatsApp, involving a few individuals who rarely disclose information unless a mistake occurs or money is lost.

He outlined the challenge posed by covert activities, making it challenging for the Commission to unearth illicit operations. Nevertheless, Rhodes encouraged individuals with knowledge of illegal gambling, particularly horse racing bookmakers, to report such occurrences to the regulator.

UK Gambling Commission CEO, Andrew Rhodes, said:

We can’t act on the things we simply don’t know about. WhatsApp betting rings, where it relies on a small number of individuals, are much harder because until somebody gets ripped off or somebody tells us, it’s harder for us to find. Which is why everybody who is concerned about illegal gambling, particularly around horseracing, when they become aware of these things they ought to be telling us.

Rhodes mentioned the Commission’s possession of covert surveillance and investigative capabilities in ongoing efforts to dismantle illicit gambling operations, though specific details weren’t disclosed.

This interview with Rhodes aligns with proposed gambling sector changes, encompassing stake limits and affordability checks. While the government aims for seamless spending controls to curb excessive gambling and mitigate harm, industry apprehensions linger. Concerns are raised by stakeholders who fear that intrusive alterations might steer gamblers toward the clandestine black market.