New bill would subject foreign operators to same taxes and licensing regulations.
The recent UK Gambling Licensing and Advertising Bill is moving forward and will undergo further examination in the House of Lords. The bill has reached the “committee stage”, meaning that it will be analyzed in detail. The Cameron government expects it to be implemented later this year.
If passed, the bill would require all online gaming operations, regardless of where they are based, to hold a UK Gaming Commission license. Currently only providers based in the UK are required to hold such a license.
In addition, the reformed British gambling laws would demand that all online gambling firms operating in the UK pay a point of consumption tax, which currently stands at 15% of gross gaming revenue.
Social protection, or protectionism?
Many citizens and politicians in Britain tend to favor heavier regulations on gambling out of the perception that it is a predatory industry. Some reports have argued that betting shops target the impoverished and unemployed.
However, the current bill appears to be designed to insulate British online gambling providers from foreign competition. By levying the consumption tax and requiring the obtainment of licenses, the regulations would likely discourage foreign firms from operating online gambling sites in Britain.
Rather than protecting British citizens from predatory operators, the laws could hurt them by limiting the options by which they can wager their money. This could allow domestic firms to offer less favorable odds and reduced chances to win.