GBGC Press Release: comment on DCMS proposals for a new UK licencing requirement for overseas online gambling firms.
“It is understandable that the government would wish to protect consumers but we have to remember that it is the consumer who has decided of their own choice to bet abroad because of the exceptional value that is available to them online. I fear that the governments move is linked to a desire to catch more tax and horse race betting levy and that will be detrimental to the consumer and thus growth in the gambling market.
I suspect that the government may not have thought this through because although they may be able to pass law the question really is enforceability of that law as the US has discovered with UIGEA. Contributions to the UK’s problem gambling fund are voluntary I am not sure how the government will cause foreign operators to pay into this fund or how they could check if the payment was correct.
So far as the levy is concerned bookmakers have hitherto accepted that racing should be funded but such a move now could precipitate a challenge that the levy is state aid and if successful racing would then have to rely on the sale of media rights.
There is a certain irony with all of this. The U.K. has hitherto adhered to the principles of the Treaty of Rome and now we are copycatting the rest of the EU with protectionism.
The gambling industry should not look for help from the Conservative Party were they to form the next government – this was probably their idea in the first place. This is a bad day for the gambling consumer”.
Chief Executive GBGC (Global Betting & Gaming Consultants)
DCMS annoucement of new UK licence requirements for overseas online gambling firms