Offshore gambling companies operating in the UK will soon be subject to a new regulatory regime.
United Kingdom is about to alter its rules and regulations concerning offshore gambling companies providing services to their citizens. According to the proposed changes to British gambling laws, remote operators will be working in a new licensing and regulatory regime.
The proposed regulatory framework has been set by the new Gambling Licensing and Advertising Bill. It has already passed the Parliament and is awaiting Royal Assent, scheduled for May this year.
Essence of the new regime
All operators of online casinos in the United Kingdom and other internet gambling facilities will need to acquire a remote gambling license from the Gambling Commission, regardless of where they are based. Naturally, this is only true for those companies which wish to provide their services to British population.
If the law becomes official, will put a wide selection of offshore operators in direct control of the Gambling Commission. The licensing regime based on the point of consumption rather than operator’s location will be introduced.
The very last moment amendment to the Bill, will see offshore betting companies pay a special levy on gross profits from horse racing bets. Currently this tax only applies to land-based and online sportsbooks in the United Kingdom.
However, the law and its new regulatory regime, can be still delayed. The Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association is looking to go into judicial review challenge against some points of the Bill. Gibraltar is home to a wide selection of offshore gambling operators providing services in the UK.
The Gambling Commission has also made separate changes to the License Conditions and Codes of Practice. These rules will also need to govern the remote operators falling into the framework of the new Gambling Licensing and Advertising Bill.
One of the other changes coming with the new Bill is the requirement by the remote operators to notify the Gambling Commission on where the company’s key equipment is located. This will be one of the conditions for new licensing regime, ensuring the operators will need a special permission from the Commission to relocate this equipment.
UK to introduce new regulatory regime for remote gambling operators
• British gambling laws are about to change leveling the field for domestic and offshore operators
• New taxation regime and new licensing regulations are outlined in the Bill
• The Bill is currently awaiting Royal Assent
The final changes to the License Conditions and Codes of Practice will be published before the month of April is through. The initial consultations on its changes were started back in September 2013.
On top of the new Bill and the License Conditions and Codes of Practice, the British government will pose a new tax regime for offshore gambling operators in line with point of consumption principle. The taxes will apply where a British resident agrees to participate in gambling provided by remote operator.
British residents will be identified as “an individual who usually lives in the United Kingdom, or a body corporate which is legally constituted in the United Kingdom”. However, the Treasury can change this definition and outline steps allowing authorities to establish whether a particular gambler falls into that category or not.
New bill is widely welcome by the industry
Gambling operators located in the United Kingdom have long been complaining about the unfairness when offshore operators were not paying the same taxes to access the same market. Now their requests will be answered with a new framework and new tax regime.
This will allow leveling the playing field of the industry and abolishing competitive advantage gained by remote operators over the British-based companies.
The levy on horseracing bets to be paid by remote gambling operators is also a highly-anticipated measure. Currently, only British companies are supporting the industry with their taxes. And British horseracing industry is indeed in dire need of extra support.
Naturally, the law changes will not affect ordinary consumers in terms of the prices for services rendered. However, some increase in fees may happen. Gambling Commission has already opined that it will monitor such activity closer and prevent operators from raising their prices in order to offset possible losses after new taxes.