UK Internet Gambling Reform Discussed

Conservative MP Matthew Hancock’s new bill aims to reform the UK Gambling Act of 2005 was presented to the House of Commons this week, it received a second hearing scheduled for 30th March.

The bill intends to address the issue of taxing foreign based operators and it also proposes that all internet gambling operators that service UK punters should be compelled to obtain a UK Gambling Commission license and to pay tax on their profits. It also plans on doing away with the Horse Racing Levy. One of the main reasons to push for licensing within the U.K. stems mainly from the events from Black Friday in the United States.

On April 15th, 2011, three prominent internet poker companies were indicted for violating laws in the United States. It also surfaced that Full Tilt Poker used the funds from poker players not only to pay business expenses, but also to pay salaries to the owners of the company.

Industry Shakeup On The Cards

Through the House of Commons’  “10 Minute Rule” the bill was introduced, it gives the member who introduced the bill the opportunity to convince fellow members of the the bill’s advantage within 10 minutes.

MP Philip Davies made no secret that he opposes the bill. Davies said that increased regulation would drive British punters to wager more at illegal offshore internet casinos, he also stated that “a single digit tax system of 5% is more convenient as opposed to trying to collect 15% from none of them”.

MP Hancock had the following to say about the bill, “I look forward to making the case for reform to the system and helping secure a future for racing. Horse racing supports 100,000 jobs countrywide including 5,000 in my constituency town of Newmarket.”

“Everyone must support and encourage a level playing field for internet gambling and racing here in the UK.”

The new regulations will impose stricter control and frequent audits on internet gaming operators. It also aims to clamp down on problem and under age gambling. Lastly, it would increase tax revenue significantly, as it is many gambling sites are not paying tax since there are still way too many loopholes in the system.  However, new internet regulations will cost internet casinos more with regard to taxes and fees associated with regulation in the short term.  In the long term, it could be seen as an sound investment that would restore confidence to an industry struggling to recover as a result of the greed from a select few.



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