William Hill and Bet365 have decided not to be associated with Gibraltar’s attempt to get a judicial review of the UK government’s new gambling regulations which will require the e-gaming industry to licence in the UK if they wish to take UK business.
Operators will also be liable for UK gambling taxes at 15% of gross profits. The UK Treasury reckons that it will collect £300m in tax as a result.
Both William Hill and Bet365 will have different reasons for not getting involved in the bid to force a judicial review of the new regulation. Bet365, in all probability, wants the UK Government to succeed. It has, after all, always paid the 15% GPT on its sportsbook revenues.
The benefit with the current changes is that Bet365 will only pay tax on its UK bets whereas before it paid tax on its global gross gaming yield. Its sports book will be much better off.
William Hill probably has different reasons.
So what are the odds of success? The first point is that the government knows about judicial reviews. In 2004 there were 4,207 cases, in 2011 there were 11,200. The government is used to fighting reviews. This means that departments prepare from the outset and stick rigidly to the procedure to avoid the prospect of a review being granted.
Theoretically, the result of a court case should be 50/50, or even money.
According to the Judiciary website a judge is not really concerned with the conclusions of that process and whether those were ‘right’, as long as the right procedures have been followed. The court will not substitute what it thinks is the ‘correct’ decision.
This may mean that the public body will be able to make the same decision again, so long as it does so in a lawful way.
Of the 11,200 cases 8,649 were Immigration and Asylum, 338 were criminal and 2,213 fell into the ‘others’ category. The Gibraltar case would fall into that category. Only 87 won in the ‘others’ category, but the odds have improved to 25/1.
The Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association have one thing in their favour, Olswangs. The Head of Public Law, Dan Tench and Head of Gambling David Zeffman represented Sporting Options, a betting exchange, when they won a case against the Horserace Betting Levy Board in 2003. They brought home a 25/1 winner. It made the news on that day!