International edition
September 21, 2020

If passed, the Gambling Bill is intended to amend the existing regulations

Gibraltar trade group disputes proposed UK legislation

(UK).- The Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association has called proposed changes to the UK’s 2005 Gambling Act that would force online gambling operators to hold a licence from the Gambling Commission in order to transact with British consumers “misconceived and unwarranted”.

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f passed, the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill is intended to amend the existing regulations so that remote gambling for British players including online casinos and telephone wagering would be regulated at the point of consumption no matter where the operator is based or licensed.

The draft legislation would also see operators selling into the British market required to inform the Gambling Commission regarding suspicious betting patterns involving home-grown customers while additionally contributing towards the research, education and treatment of problem gambling alongside regulatory costs.

In a letter to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the trade group stated that any assertion that UK consumers are being exposed to ‘a very large and rapidly increasing number of online gambling websites’ that may possibly be poorly regulated ‘is without foundation’.

“From a regulatory perspective, the only possible and partial justification for the draft bill is based on a perceived but unsubstantiated threat to UK customers arising from operators in emerging jurisdictions targeting the UK market,” read the letter from the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association.

“This is acknowledged by Department for Culture, Media and Sport in its regulatory impact assessment that clearly fails to establish any wider detriment based on consumer protection. Even if this limited justification was proven, the draft bill is clearly disproportionate since it does not bolster the current ‘white-list’ - including European Economic Area - regime with a requirement for increased reciprocity in the exchange of information and management of consumer protection, which would adequately protect against such risks.

“The proposed measures would be impossible to enforce [and] indeed no enforcement measures are proposed.”

The Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association additionally called the draft legislation, which is now undergoing a period of pre-legislative scrutiny, ‘ill-timed and counter intuitive’ as the UK is seeking such reforms just as the European Commission is ‘formulating policy at the European level’.

“Based on the foregoing, we would strongly urge the committee to persuade the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to abandon the regulatory changes proposed in the draft bill,” read the letter from the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association.

“In the event that the government determines to proceed with the proposed legislation and fiscal reforms, the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association will regrettably have little alternative but to institute judicial review proceedings to challenge these measures.”

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