Transitional arrangements for move to new approach to regulation of online and mobile gambling published

Out-Law News | 27 Jun 2014 | 10:52 am | 1 min. read

The new 'point of consumption' (POC) regulatory framework for remote gambling, introduced by the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act which was passed by the UK parliament in April, is now expected to come into force on 1 October 2014.

Under the Act, all gambling operators, regardless of where they are based, will be required to have a remote gambling licence from the Gambling Commission if they want consumers in Great Britain to be able to gamble via their websites. 

The Gambling Commission has started to accept applications for the new licence this week. The Commission expects it to take at least 6 weeks to process an application; the first licences may be granted on or after 16 July  when the statutory instrument implementing the Act is expected to come into effect.

Providers of remote gambling services who are currently licensed anywhere in the European Economic Area (EEA) or in Gibraltar or one of the white-listed countries, and who apply for a licence from the Gambling Commission on or before 16 September, will be granted a continuation licence to enable them to continue to operate and advertise in Great Britain after 1 October until the application process is completed, if their application has not been approved by that date. 

The white list countries are Alderney, Antigua & Barbuda, Tasmania and the Isle of Man – the Isle of Man was omitted in error from the list of white list countries covered by the statutory instrument published this week, but we understand this will be corrected.

A new licensing regime, including amendments to accompany the change to POC regulation, has also been introduced by the Gambling Commission.  All gambling operators licensed by the Gambling Commission will have to adhere to the new licensing conditions from 4 August 2014.

However, the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association (GBGA), which represents Gibraltar-based remote gambling operators, has informed the UK government and the Gambling Commission of its intention to apply for judicial review of the changes, on the basis that they are in breach of European law because they are neither a reasonable nor proportionate means of achieving the government's stated aim of better consumer protection.

The UK government and the Gambling Commission are due to respond to the GBGA’s requests for information on the plans by 2 July, but have asked for an extension.

Separately, plans for a general 15% tax rate to apply on profits made by gambling operators on remote betting and gaming by players who usually live in the UK are contained in a new draft Finance Bill also currently before parliament.