Bid to have all online gaming operators licensed in the UK

Bid to have all online gaming operators licensed in the UKAt the moment the United Kingdom accepts as legal online gaming operators who are licensed in countries on its “white list” as well as operators with licences from the UK Gambling Commission. Licences from jurisdictions within the European Economic Area (EEA) and Gibraltar are also accepted. However this situation could change because of a bill introduced to Parliament by the Conservative Member of Parliament M. Hancock.
The bill proposed by Hancock would demand that every online gaming operator wishing to offer its services in the United Kingdom would need a licence granted by the UK Gambling Commission.Online gaming companies with licences from jurisdictions accepted by the UK Gambling Commission have licences that allow them to advertise their websites in the UK. The jurisdictions on the UK Gambling Commission’s white list are: Alderney, Antigua and Barbuda, the Isle of Man and Tasmania.The 2005 Gambling Act changed almost all of the previous restrictions on the advertising of gambling in the United Kingdom. New codes governing online gaming advertising were introduced in 2010 and apply to all gaming operators allowed to advertise their gambling services in Britain. These codes govern the content of and the positioning of advertisements and also seek to protect children and vulnerable people.

In introducing his bill MP Matthew Hancock wanted to level the playing field since many of the jurisdictions on the white list are also tax havens or have reduced tax requirements. He wants all online gaming operators to have a UK Gambling Commission Licence so that they will all be subject to the UK tax system if they are to be able to offer online gaming to British players. At the moment UK based online gaming companies pay taxes while many offshore operators pay very little or none. (See article: Changes to the UK Gambling Act Could Have a Negative Effect on Online Gaming).

Opponents of the bill introduced by Hancock fear that if the overseas online gaming operators were to be licensed and had to pay UK taxes that the cost of using their services would rise and so British players would look online for unlicensed and unregulated gambling sites offering better deals. This would bring about all of the problems linked to unregulated gambling.

The bill will be debated again in Parliament next month. As it stands the regulations governing online gaming in the United Kingdom appear to give an unfair advantage to the operators licensed outside the UK as they are not subject to the same tax system as online gaming operators based in the UK and holding a UK Gambling Commission licence.

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