Friday April 5, 2013 : EUROPEAN COMMISSION HIATUS ON BRIT ONLINE GAMBLING BILL ENDS
Compulsory EU standstill period on secondary licensing and point-of-consumption tax proposal ends
Despite protests from online gambling licensing jurisdictions like Malta and Gibraltar on the British government's draft law notification to the European Commission on changes to its internet gambling laws , the mandatory stand still period, including an add-on occasioned by the complaints, has now ended.
The UK government wants to impose a secondary licensing and point-of-consumption tax on internet and mobile gambling operators accessing the British gambling market, backed by restrictions on marketing and advertising.
The end of the mandatory EC hiatus means that UK parliamentarians and civil servants can progress their plans with a further parliamentary reading and preparations aimed at a target implementation date no later than December 2014, or if possible earlier.
The lucrative licensing jurisdiction businesses of the Malta and Gibraltar governments could be impacted by the new UK law, as could the businesses of major Brit online gambling groups that re-located their online operations to the two jurisdictions some time ago due to high UK tax rates that were making them uncompetitive in the market.
The end of the stand still period does not mean that Malta, Gibraltar or indeed the European Commission itself are precluded from continuing to object to or resist the UK government's plans enshrined in its Draft Gambling (Licensing & Advertising) Bill.
Gibraltar-based operators in particular have signalled that they are prepared to contest the issue in court on the basis of EU law principles, and to that end have already amassed a substantial war chest.