Remote Gambling to Get New Licensing Regime in UK

Remote Gambling to Get New Licensing Regime in UK

After receiving Royal Assent, the new UK Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill is set to enter into law.

This new piece of legislation restructures the licensing regime in Britain, and means that all online casinos that want to operate in the UK have to get a license from the supervisory Gambling Commission.

The license is needed regardless of whether the casino is registered outside the UK in places like Gibraltar or Malta. If they want to advertise in Britain or conduct any transactions with British players, they have to get licensed.

Offshore operators will also need to report suspicious betting patterns to the authorities, and will be required to help fund research into and public awareness campaigns about problem gambling.

Protecting Consumers?

Helen Grant, the UK’s Minister for Sport, has said that the 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.”

This comes on the back of a lot of discussion regarding so-called FOBTs, or fixed-odds betting terminals, which we’ve covered in a separate article here.

Will Someone Think of the Children?

As usual, we are being asked to “think of the children” with this latest piece of regulation, and it might be argued that this is yet another example of the nanny state getting involved in things that it shouldn’t be meddling with, especially considering how large the industry is in Britain.

However, at the same time, if the figures are to be trusted, the 85% of the British online gambling industry that’s based outside the UK do need to be watched carefully. Like it or not, gambling has a generally sleazy, if undeserved, reputation, and it regularly takes a beating in the British media. In any event, though, the links between organized criminals and casinos are real and unfortunate.

In addition, the problems associated with gambling addiction are very real and potentially life-ruining, and we don’t think that a fun pastime like casual gaming should become a life-altering illness. It’s just that only a small number of people have problematic gambling habits, and only a small number of online casinos are involved with organized crime.

Arguably, though, the ease with which records can be stored on the internet means that there’s less of a chance that money laundering can take place at all, and online casinos are very careful about the source of their players’ money.

It is yet to be seen how this will turn out in the long run, but a bit of extra regulation for casinos operating in Britain is arguably not a bad thing. This is a case of “the innocent have nothing to fear,” which is sure to strike fear into the hearts of innocents everywhere, but in this case, it seems that they are right.