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Friday, 29 November 2013 07:26

UK’s New Gambling Bill Gets Closer to Being Passed

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The UK's new gambling bill has taken another step towards being passed.

Initially introduced into Parliament on the 9th of May, 2013, the UK Gaming (Licensing and Advertising) Bill has passed through the House of Commons, receiving an unopposed Third Reading this week. The bill, which proposes substantial changes to the UK's online casino and gambling industry, will now be scrutinised by the House of Lords.

The proposed bill introduces changes to the 2005 Gambling Act, and would require all gambling companies operating in the UK market to hold a valid UK Gambling Commission license. Currently, only those based in the UK are required to hold a license and any operator based overseas is exempt.

This means that those based in the popular gambling havens of Malta, Gibraltar and the Antilles are regulated by the jurisdiction in which they are based, and are not subject to the UK Gaming Commission's controls.

Crucially, the draft bill would also introduce a 15% point of consumption tax, liable to be paid by any company operating within the UK market.

A statement from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee read 'We support the principle that gambling should be regulated on a point of consumption basis; where the consumer is.' The Committee acknowledged that the Government wished to bring offshore companies under the tax net, but also advised that the tax should not be set so high as to encourage black market gambling.

If passed, operators will not only have to pay the point of consumption tax, but also contribute towards regulatory costs, research into and treatment of problem gambling, and inform the UK Gaming Commission of any suspicious betting behaviour from UK clients.

Betting shops are affected by the proposed bill as well, with the rate of duty on machines increasing to 20% of net takings.

Culture Minister Helen Grant said, 'The Bill is a prudential measure which will provide greater protection for consumers based in Great Britain. It will tighten current legislation to ensure that all remote gambling, whether provided in Britain or overseas, is a licensed activity subject to the Gambling Commission's standard and controls.'

If passed, the new bill is expected to come into effect in May 2014, and will significantly change the way that the UK's gaming industry operates.