The new UK Gaming (Licensing and Advertising) Bill has received an unopposed Third Reading in the House of Commons and will now be passed on to the House of Lords for further scrutiny.
Expected to come into effect in May 2014, the legislation would require all online gambling companies in the UK market, regardless of where they are based, to hold a UK Gambling Commission license.
The current system only requires firms based in the UK to hold a license, while companies located outside of the UK are regulated by the jurisdiction in which they are based.
In addition, the new reforms would also require all online gambling companies in the UK market to pay a point of consumption tax, which currently stands at 15% of gross gaming revenue.
Under the new proposals, companies based outside of the UK would also have to inform the UK Gaming Commission of any suspicious betting patterns involving British customers.
“The Bill is a prudential measure which will provide greater protection for consumers based in Great Britain,” Culture Minister Helen Grant told the Commons.
“It will tighten current legislation to ensure that all remote gambling, whether provided in Britain or overseas, is a licensed activity subject to the Gambling Commission’s standard and controls.”
Philip Davies, the Conservative MP for Shipley, responded to the announcement in the Commons by saying that although he did not support stricter regulations, he did welcome the decision to tax overseas operators.
“As far as regulation of gambling is concerned, this is a step backwards rather than a step forwards,” he told the Commons. “However, I do support the Bill for the reason the Government daren’t say is the reason for the Bill, because it will actually allow the Government to tax gambling companies that are based in places like Gibraltar.”
The Bill was first introduced to the House of Commons on May 9, 2013.