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Assessment of online games design changes

Gambling Commission report focusing on research conducted into the impact of the online gambling games design changes.

Displacement to other markets


There is no evidence of displacement to the offline or unlicensed illegal market.

As with the risk of displacement to harmful gambling behaviours discussed previously, the potential of displacement to largely anonymous land-based gambling activities was highlighted. The risk of displacement to the unlicensed illegal market was also highlighted, with the latter being a particularly undesirable potential consequence.

Comparisons of participation in land-based activities before and after the games design changes is challenging due to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19). It is inherently difficult to robustly measure the scale of the unlicensed illegal market. However, there is no evidence to suggest a causal link between the online game design changes and the promotion or uptake of illegal product offerings.

Preventing illegal gambling is a key priority for the Gambling Commission. We do this by monitoring intelligence and collecting evidence to inform our enforcement approach and by working closely with a range of stakeholders to disrupt illegal activity.

We welcome the Government’s commitment in The High Stakes: Gambling Reform for the Digital Age White Paper (opens in new tab) to give us increased powers to support disruption and enforcement activity, such as to pursue court orders which require internet service and payment providers to take down or block access to illegal gambling sites.

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