The UK government released a document today outlining upcoming changes to British gambling laws. It marks the beginning of a consultation period which will last for 12 weeks. During this period the proposed regulations will be reviewed. This means that nothing is final yet, but experts agree that it is extremely likely at this point that the new regulations will pass into law.
According to the consultation document, all “white list” online gambling operators that target UK players will soon be required to obtain licenses from the proper regulatory committee if they want to continue to offer Online gambling sites in the UK. This white list includes Gibraltar, as well as all countries in the European Economic Area. The document also mentions the government’s desire to streamline the process of adding further nations to the white list.
These licenses won’t come easy. Interested groups will be required to submit detailed business plans, and will have to have all their software tested and certified. Applicants must also describe how they intend to comply with various regulation requirements, such as protecting children from online gambling, and ensuring that all gambling on the proposed website is conducted fairly. All license holders will also be expected to comply with the strict marketing and advertising rules as they relate to internet gambling in the United Kingdom.
Nor will licenses come cheap. Licensing fees depend on a number of variables, including proposed activities and expected turnover. Actual application fees can reach as high as £60,000 while annual fees can surpass £150,000.
The consultation period ends June 18 2010, after which changes will be made to the country’s gambling legislations. The new policy, however, will probably not go into full effect until next year.