England May Move to Consumer-Based Regulation

Draft legislation introduced in the UK would create consumer-based regulation.

Draft legislation introduced in the United Kingdom would move regulation of Internet and phone wagering to the point of consumption.

On Dec. 3 the Department of Culture, Media, and Sport published draft legislation that aims to capture lost tax money from gaming companies that have moved offshore while providing greater protection measures for British-based users of remote gambling services, including Internet bookmakers, poker, online bingo, and casino websites, as well as telephone betting.

Since a 2005 requirement that UK operators pay a 15% tax on gross profits, many operators have moved offshore. The new bill would bring these operators back into the fold of paying the tax, although legislation is not expected to be adopted until late 2014 at the earliest.

Regardless of where the company is based, operators would be required to hold a Gambling Commission license to take wagers from British consumers and advertise in Great Britain. License holders also would have to report suspicious betting patterns and fight illegal activity and corruption in sports betting. They would pay fees to support regulatory costs and contribute funding toward problem gambling.

"These proposals will ensure that British consumers enjoy consistent standards of protection, regardless of where a gambling business is based, and will also help the fight against illegal activity and corruption in sports betting, said Gambling Commission chairman Philip Graf. "We welcome the proposed changes as currently we regulate less than 20% of online gambling by British consumers and cannot insist on overseas operators providing us with information about suspicious sports betting transactions."