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Labour Party Says UK Online Gambling Operators Need to Reapply for Their Licences
- May 20, 2019 By Oliver Young -
The Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in the UK has expressed his disappointment in the UK’s gambling industry more than once, and this time, it has directly threatened the iGaming industry with stricter control, licence reapplying processes and even licence cancellations, if necessary.
Labour to Review Online Gambling Licenses
Labour’s Tom Watson said that those online casino operators who have applied for and acquired their online gambling licenses after 2014 should reapply for them, after getting the knowledge that over a third of these operators were failing players, as found by the UK Gambling Commission. As a matter of fact, just last week, the regulator has fined four UK operators a total of £4.5 for irregularities in its continuous investigation on the matter. Three of the four operators are based outside of the UK and have failed to make sure their players were safe from gambling-related harms and failed to guarantee protection measures. Therefore, with the aim to conduct an overhaul of the iGaming industry, refreshing operators’ memories on which their responsibilities are.
In his campaign for stricter gambling control, Watson has written to Jeremy Wright, the Culture Secretary and to the UKGC’s Chief Executive Neil McArthur, asking to review the integrity of the licensees, most of which are operators with overseas operations. If necessary, they will have permission to cancel their licenses, allowing operators to reapply. Depending on the source of the request, operators might need to wait at least six months for their new licences to be issued.
Commenting on the one-third of operators who have failed to protect their clients, the Labour Party argued that this was a necessary step. But Watson wants the overall 2005 Gambling Act to be reviewed, wants to impose new restrictions and wants to help control gambling addiction.
The Deputy Leader stated that an online gambling operating license should be a sign for trust and credibility, and not seen as an opportunity for online gambling operators to forget about their responsibilities and license conditions. The UKGC, Watson said, cannot play catch-up with the iGaming industry all the time; the situation needs a structure, efficient response, which resulted in an overhaul of the entire current register.
Online Gambling Operators at Serious Risk
Considering the newest changes in License Conditions and Codes of Practice that took effect from May 7th, and Watson’s efforts, it is no wonder to see operators really reapplying for their licenses. At the beginning of the month, a report clearly showed that they have failed to meet the GambleAware donation target that they are supposed to give. This is when they caught Labour’s attention. Watson called for a mandatory levy, and now this. Obviously, the Deputy Leader is really outraged with the gambling industry in the UK and wants to do everything in his power to control operators better. If you remember, he was the one behind the push to ban gambling sponsorships of football teams in 2017, so we should not be surprised if he manages to put the reapplying process in motion, too.