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GBGA challenges UK Gambling law

Wednesday June 18,2014 : GBGA INTENDS CHALLENGING UK GAMBLING LAW
 
GBGA places UK Government and Gambling Commission on notice of a claim for judicial review
 
The Gibraltar Betting & Gaming Association (GBGA) has instructed the Olswang legal firm to write to the UK Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Sajid Javid MP, the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve QC MP and the Gambling Commission to spell out the risks posed by the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 and to declare its intention to challenge it.
 
The GBGA said "the new law establishes the Gambling Commission as the industry’s regulator across the globe" which in its opinion "not only threatens the safety of consumers online but is unlawful".
 
Peter Howitt, chief executive of the GBGA argues that the new law, combined with planned tax changes, will drive consumers to the unregulated or poorly regulated market rather than its intended purpose of protecting them.
 
“This is bad for UK consumers, bad for the regulated industry, bad for Gibraltar and is in breach of European law, but fantastic news for operators who choose to avoid proper regulation," Howitt said.
 
"We know of no precedent where any regulator in any industry will be granted the role of licensing and regulating operators all over the world in this way, threatening to criminalise companies and people who fail to submit to its regime.  This is plainly unworkable.
 
"This Act allows operators from 165 new jurisdictions to gain licences to operate and advertise in the UK and the Gambling Commission is supposed to regulate this industry with no extra-territorial information gathering or enforcement powers.  Clearly that spells a new danger for British consumers.”
 
According to Dan Tench, a partner in the Olswang legal firm:  “The Government announced that this law was introduced with the express intention of addressing concerns it said it had about the protection of consumers.
 
“The measures introduced through this Act are neither reasonable nor proportionate to achieving that goal and are likely to have adverse consequences for consumers.   All this Act achieves is a wholly unjustified, disproportionate and discriminatory interference with the right to free movement of services, a right enshrined in European Law.  For these reasons the Government must reconsider this law or we shall have no option but to ask the courts to review it for them.”
 
In closing, the GBGA says that the new law is unnecessary, believing Gibraltar has one of the most effective regulatory regimes in the world.  It argues that a more effective means to promote consumer protection was rejected by the Government without proper consideration or explanation.
 
This proposal, called Passporting, would ensure that "highly experienced and effective local regulators retain responsibility for licensing their domestic industry" but work with and share information with the Gambling Commission on a formally structured basis.
 
The GBGA has through written notice to the UK Government and the Gambling Commission effectively placed them on notice of a claim for judicial review.  They have 14 days in which to respond.
 
InfoPowa readers can access the letter addressed to the UK Government at:
 
http://gbga.gi/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Letter-to-the-UK-Government-dated-18-June-2014.pdf
 
And the letter to the Gambling Commission at:
 
http://gbga.gi/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Letter-to-the-Gambling-Commission-dated-18-June-2014.pdf



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