Offshore Gambling Bill

The Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill is a piece of proposed legislation in the United Kingdom. The Minister for Sport and Tourism, Hugh Robertson has invited the Culture, Media and Sport Committee to undertake a pre-legislative review; the Committee is currently inviting written evidence and held its first verbal evidence session on Tuesday 29 January 2013.

Content

The draft Bill proposes to change the way in which remote gambling is regulation in the UK. Instead of it being based on whether equipment is based on the UK, it will be based on where the consumer is based e.g. online gambling will be included, even if the site is based overseas, because the consumer is in the UK. All operators selling into the British market will therefore have to hold a Gambling Commission License, even if they are based on the internet.

In terms of internet access;

“If the operator wanted to avoid having to obtain such a licence, he would need to block internet access for customers in Great Britain so that the remote gambling facilities are incapable of being used here.”

The bill as introduced makes no requirement that UK ISPs block unlicensed offshore services, only that the services block access to customers they determine to originate from the UK (presumably by way, for example, of geo-identified IP subnets). David Nuttall MP touched on the issues surrounding website blocking in a parliamentary speech on 2013-01-25.

Justification

With 73% of the adult population in Great Britain participated in some form of gambling in 2010 and 14% using the internet to do so, it was felt that the laws on online gambling specifically required tightening.

Under current law, only gambling operators with equipment in Britain are required to be licensed by the Gambling Commission. The draft Bill submission states that “the Government believes that the current system is flawed and can no longer adequately ensure the continued protections for British consumers...the Government therefore believes that it is essential, now more than ever, for the protections envisaged in the Gambling Act 2005 to the afforded to all British consumers, regardless with whom they choose to gamble.” [1]

Evidence

Those who gave evidence at the committee hearing on 29 January 2013 are;

Clive Hawkswood, Chief Executive, Remote Gambling Association; Sue Rossiter, Director of Projects and Policy, Remote Gambling Association; Wes Himes, European Advisor, Remote Gambling Association and Managing Director, Policy Action Ltd; Tim Lamb, Sports Betting Group and Chief Executive Officer, Sport and Recreation Alliance; Paul Scotney, British Horseracing Authority, and Sports Betting Group; Simon Barker, Professional Footballers' Association and Professional Players Federation, and Sports Betting Group; Lauri Moyle, Gambling Policy Consultant, CARE

Links

References

  1. Draft Gambling (Licensing and Advertising Bill, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 29 January 2013