Thursday July 14, 2011 : But future restrictions on advertising confirmed
As reported Wednesday, the British government's Department of Culture, Media and Sports announced today that sweeping changes affecting the online gambling industry will be implemented in the future.
However, the announcement contained little firm detail beyond confirming that the changes will involve secondary licensing for offshore operators wishing to offer their services to UK punters.
The demand that such operators will be required to take out British licensing with the UK Gambling Commission has long been expected following hints from government officials and politicians. There have been complaints that online gambling companies licensed in more tax-friendly offshore jurisdictions have an unfair competitive edge over British licensed companies, and that the playing field should be leveled.
Several major British gambling groups have moved their online gambling divisions offshore in recent years to better compete.
The new requirements, once implemented, will effectively remove the current ‘white listing' system through which selected jurisdictions – principally those in the European Economic Area – are allowed to access the UK market.
Popular jurisdictions such as the Isle of Man and Alderney have asserted that their regulations will present no problems for operators going after UK licensing, and the DCMS has already indicated that it will ‘apply a lighter touch' in the case of formerly white listed jurisdictions.
The UK minister responsible for gambling, John Penrose, said Thursday: “All overseas operators will be subject to the same standards and requirements as those based in Britain, as well as being required to inform the Gambling Commission about suspicious betting patterns to help fight illegal activity and corruption in betting.”
However, the announcement was lacking in any information on proposed licensing fees or tax implications, or on timelines for the development and implementation of the system, which could take some time.