UK remote gambling bill given Royal Assent

16 May 2014

The Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill is to enter into UK law after it was granted Royal Assent by the British monarchy.

The new legislation amends the 2005 Gambling Act and will enable the Gambling Commission licensing system to cover all UK remote gambling operators.

Under the previous Act, remote gambling operators that located their remote gambling equipment overseas did not need a remote operating licence from the Gambling Commission regulatory body, where as UK-based companies were required to have one.

The new legislation will require all remote gambling operators in the UK market to obtain a licence from the Gambling Commission to allow them to transact with British customers and advertise in the UK.

In addition, overseas operators will be required for the first time to inform the Gambling Commission about suspicious betting patterns in order to help combat illegal activity and corruption in sports betting.

Operators based outside of the UK will also be required to pay and to contribute to research, education and treatment in relation to British problem gambling and regulatory costs.

“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,” Minister for Sport Helen Grant said.

“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.”

Philip Graf, chairman of the Gambling Commission, added: “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.

“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.”

In addition, the government’s intention to extend the horserace betting levy to overseas bookmakers was also announced during the passage of the bill through Parliament.

The government said this will create a ‘level playing field’ between UK-based and offshore operators so that all will contribute to the support of horseracing and also fund integrity, veterinary and breeding activities.

The government is expected to publish a public consultation on proposed changes to the levy extension shortly.

Related article: House of Lords gives final approval to new UK gambling bill