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Raising Standards for consumers - Compliance and Enforcement report 2020 to 2021

The Gambling Commission's report on Compliance and Enforcement action 2020 to 2021. Archived: Report represents information and guidance valid at the time of publication.


Part of our statutory remit and a key licensing objective is to keep crime out of gambling. When consumers access potentially illegal gambling sites, they expose themselves to many risks and are not afforded the protections in place that are expected in the regulated sector.

To tackle this issue, we use an intelligence led approach, assessing information gathered from multiple sources and working closely with partner agencies to prevent access to illegal websites by GB consumers.

Our initial action is to issue Cease and Desist (C&D) letters. If this action does not prove successful, we use disruption techniques, which include utilising our relationships with web hosting companies to suspend or IP block GB consumers from accessing the websites, contacting payment providers to remove payment services and liaising with social media sites to prevent websites appearing on search engines or being hosted.

These methods help to ensure that we continue to react proportionately and appropriately to the illegal provision of gambling facilities and prevent unlicensed operators interacting with GB consumers. If these methods fail then a criminal prosecution may be authorised.

We are particularly focused on identifying and disrupting websites which are targeted at young or vulnerable people, those who experience significant harms from their gambling and self-excluded gamblers.

The most widely reported complaints from members of the public related to the allowance of gambling. This accounted for 62% of all unlicensed remote reporting for the financial year 2020 to 2021 representing a 17% increase compared to the financial year 2019 to 2020.

Reports from members of the public concerning refusal to payout accounted for the second highest reporting category during the period 2020 to 2021. 37 reports were identified, which is consistent with previous levels, some of which also complain about allowance of play.

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