New UK ‘Gambling Bill’ signed into law
The recently drafted Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) bill has been given Royal Assent.
The bill, which made it through the House of Lords two months ago, amends the 2005 Gambling Act in order to establish greater security for online players.
‘Point of consumption’
The new policy rules that the UK gambling industry is administered on a POC (Point of Consumption) basis meaning that betting companies, whether based in Britain or overseas, are required to be in possession of a UK Gambling Commission licence in order to trade in the UK.
The Act applies to remote gambling services such as online casino sites, betting sites, bingo and telephone gambling.
Furthermore, it is now the duty of overseas operators to notify the Gambling Commission of any concerns regarding irregular and suspicious betting patterns, in a move designed to combat illegal activities and corruption within sports betting.
Foreign betting companies must also pay a financial contribution towards research, treatment and the prevention of problem gambling in the UK.
A “welcome step forward”?
Philip Graf of the Gambling Commission
Chairman of the Gambling Commission, Philip Graf was confident the measures would ensure greater control over remotely operated sites, saying; “This is a welcome step forward – bringing the 85% of the remote gambling market currently regulated overseas within the Commission’s remit will provide us with direct access to and oversight of all commercial gambling provided to those in Britain.
He continued, “This means that we will be far better placed to protect players and to respond to and advise the government on emerging player protection and consumer risks and issues”.
Minister for Sport, Helen Grant added; “This Act marks a significant step in increasing protection to consumers based in Great Britain, by ensuring that all remote gambling operators will be subject to robust and consistent regulation. This includes a requirement for operators to support action against illegal activity and corruption in sport, and to comply with licence conditions that protect children and vulnerable adults”.
No escape for overseas bookies
During its passage through Parliament in March, the bill also outlined the government’s plans to extend the horse racing betting levy to overseas bookmakers.
The proposals are intended to secure a level playing field between on and offshore operators in order to ensure the quality of horse racing while also funding integrity, veterinary and breeding activities.
A public consultation on the proposed changes to the levy extension is expected to be published by the government shortly, along with governmental pledges to develop wider levy reform options and a review of the regulation of gambling advertising.