The UK Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced plans to reform the UK Gambling Act, Thursday. All e-gaming businesses that wish to continue operating in the British market will be required to obtain a license from the UK Gambling Commission. Amendments are not expected until late 2012.
According to the official press release, remote gambling will be regulated “at point of consumption not the point of supply,” meaning any transaction with a British citizen can only occur if a valid license is held.
Currently, any overseas operator can offer online gaming to UK residents, and those licensed in a jurisdiction listed on the UK casino whitelist may advertise in the UK. This system is set to be replaced when the legislation is amended, with operators already in a whitelisted jurisdiction receiving “an automatic transitional licence to prevent them having to cease trading.”
“It is unfair to GB-licensed gambling operators that overseas competitors benefit from access to the market in Great Britain,” wrote John Penrose, Minister for Tourism and Heritage, in a written ministerial speech. All operators should “[bear] a fair share of the costs of regulation, or of research, education and treatment of problem gambling.”
The amendments will be largest shake-up in gambling legislation since the UK Gambling Act of 2005, which opened the doors for advertising of online sites and created the Gambling Commission.
As yet there are no concrete details as what the proposed amendments will entail, leaving many open questions: changes to taxation, restrictions of games, a provisional timeline, or effects on advertising. Until more details come out, players are left wondering how they will be affected.
The Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) – a white-listed jurisdiction now infamous worldwide for its ongoing licensing dispute with Full Tilt Poker – has issued a press release [pdf] in favor of the changes.
“The developments in the UK are good news for Alderney,” said André Wilsenach, Executive Director of the AGCC. “We are committed to the highest standards of regulation and enforcement, and to the greatest level of cooperation with other regulators.”
The press release states that amendments will not likely come “until late 2012 at the earliest,” and until that time “[t]he current white-list will be maintained, though it will be closed to additional jurisdictions.”
The gambling commission of the Isle of Man also issued a statement today, also indicating a “streamlined point of entry and significantly reduced administrative costs when they obtain a UK license.”
“The eventual timescale for these proposals to enter into force are not yet determined and before the proposals become law we will remain in close dialogue with the UK Government to ensure that the interests of our sector continue to be heard. Alongside this the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission will work with its counterpart in the UK to establish how they will work effectively together under the new regime.”