UK Licensing Laws to Become Tougher

Reports in leading British newspapers such as The Daily Mail and the Guardian reported that foreign based internet gambling sites aim to promote their businesses in the UK will first have to attain a license from the United Kingdom and pay the necessary costs involved.

Strictly speaking it seems like a run-of-the-mill procedure. If foreign based internet casinos want to advertise in Britain it’s quite obvious they’ll be targeting British clients. It’s up to the British government’s to look after the interests of its citizens by ensuring that the internet casinos act in accordance with the same legislature that applies to British licensed online casinos and book makers. The UK Gambling Commission has formulated these requirements. It includes the prohibition of underage gambling and contributes to the research, teaching and handling of problem gambling in Britain. The easiest way to ensure that the said procedures are met is to compel foreign based operators to attain a British license; in short they’ll be paying the same fees that British licensed internet casinos are paying.

This entire affair runs far deeper than the eye can see. According to reports the target of these planned laws are the British internet casinos that established offices from the UK jurisdiction to other accepted jurisdictions such as Gibraltar, Alderney, the Isle of Man and Antigua. The reason for this move is simple, to avoid the high tax rate imposed on gaming operators by the British government. These internet casinos are in competition with other off shore internet casinos which can offer better services because of lower tax rates in their respective jurisdictions.

UK gambling laws have changed recently to accommodate operators having licenses in jurisdictions permitted by the UK to advertise in the country. Consequently internet casinos that moved out of the country did not forfeit their advertising privileges. The idea behind the proposed law is to bring foreign based UK internet casinos back to the UK and compel them to pay taxes.

In the interim this does not bode well, since there are political undercurrents as well. The present Conservative-LibDem coalition government is blaming the previous Labour government for not imposing more stringent tax laws on internet gambling. By permitting internet gambling service providers to advertise, this in turn created a breeding ground and further exacerbated problem gambling in the UK.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt is contemplating to impose a ban on the use of credit cards for internet gambling in order to prevent people risking cash they don’t have. Based on the latest financial figures UK internet gamblers wagered approximately £2.5 billion in 2010 and internet casinos that have been licensed by the Gambling Commission represented less than a quarter of this. Laws pertaining to online gambling could be changed in March 2011 by the British government.



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