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Gambling Act in UK Put Off Until November
- September 29, 2014 By Oliver Young -
The Gambling Act in the United Kingdom (Licensing and Advertising) of 2014 has been postponed. Scheduled to take effect at the beginning of next month, October 1, it has been moved one month ahead and will take effect on November 1.
The reason for the put-off is because the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association (GBGA) filed a high court challenge to the UK gambling law seeking to overturn it.
On its website GBGA says that the new Gambling Act is “unlawful and irrational. It is also an illegitimate, disproportionate and discriminatory disturbance with the right to free movement of services based on Article 56 TFEU.”
The New UK Gambling Law
According to the new UK Gambling Act of 2014, all remote online gambling operators including online casinos must have a UK gambling license if they want to continue to offer online casino games and services to casino fans from the United Kingdom. In addition, there is a companion bill scheduled to take effect on December 1 that imposed a new tax of 15% on gambling services for all bets that have been taken on players from the UK.
As of this writing, there are approximately 150 gambling operators that have applied to extend their gambling licenses and the majority of them have started to move players onto new UK platforms. Some of the online gambling operators have already notified their customers about the changes, while others have already put marketing strategies in place with UK focus. There are even a few operators that have announced that they will leave the UK gambling market.
The high court considered the arguments of all parties this past week. Proceedings will continue today and Lord Justice Green stated that any decision before October 1 is unrealistic. The statement prompted the formal postponement by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in UK.
The High Court Challenge
Many analysts consider than the high court challenge by the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association is a long shot. The legal challenge was filed under a process which asks for a judicial review. Under certain circumstances, the review can overturn laws.
The entire process from GBGA started 2 months ago with an official letter sent to the Government of UK under the title Pre-Action Protocol for Judicial Review. The GBGA warned the UK Government and the Gambling Commission in UK that it will challenge the newly proposed UK Gambling Act (Licensing and Advertising). At first the GBGA said that the law is unlawful and it poses a new danger for UK players.
The CEO of the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association Peter Howitt believes that the law is bad news for UK consumers, bad for Gibraltar, bad for the regulated online gambling market and it is in breach of European law. But, on the other hand, it is great news for online gambling operators that choose to avoid proper regulation.