UK Offshore Online Casinos May Get Secondary Licenses
The Government has made a preliminary announcement with regard to higher regulation of offshore online casinos as well as gambling websites that cater to customers in the UK. This was reported by the British media.
This issue has sparked a debate these days as the licensed online casinos in Britain pay substantial amount of taxes, which is higher than their counterparts with licenses in other European jurisdictions. Big players of the online gambling industry – William Hill and Ladbrokes – have shifted to greener pastures offshore, although they have licenses in the UK. This has caused losses to the UK Treasury. This move made the gambling and casino industry uneasy and speculations were in the air for such an announcement.
The legislation has been discussed in the parliament on June 14 according to the Minister for Tourism and Heritage for Department of Culture, Media and Sport, John Penrose. The legislation involves the matter of secondary license to online gaming sites located offshore. For this, the sites would be mandated to pay a license fee, the specifications of which are yet to be announced.
It is being expected that a new betting tax will be implemented. The details are likely to be released once the legislation goes public. Another move that the government is likely to make is ban advertising in Britain by the offshore gambling sites. They must hold a British license in order to advertise on the UK land.
The first reaction on the announcement came from RGA – Remote Gaming Association, which is a trade body that represents online gambling operators. The Chief Executive of RGA, Clive Hawkswood, assured that RGA would play an active part to ensure that the new taxation and regulation offers a conducive atmosphere to meet the government objectives. With the government confirming its intentions toward the gambling industry, there is higher hope that the online gambling industry will flourish and the interests of the consumers will be protected in a better way.
Hawkswood agreed to the fact that most of the UK-licensed online gambling operators were based offshore. He highlighted that these operators were particular in complying with the high regulatory standards, which could be compared to the standards of the United Kingdom.
Considering the statement of Hawkswood, it seems that the issue is taxation, not regulation. If the operators are already following the standards, it’s time to pay attention to the taxation policy, which demands a fairer and more sustainable position in the new regulatory regime. A high tax would erode the commercial viability of the industry. It might also mandate the players to shell out more money for their gambles. Therefore, it’s important to sort out the tax issues and let the gambling industry breathe an air of more freedom and creative pursuits.
The online gambling industry is waiting with bated breath for the next government announcement. Hopes are high this time from the government that it would make decisions in the interests of the gambling operators as well as players.