UKGC Increased Licence Fees: Overview & Reasons

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In the UK, gambling is a booming business with several well-established land-based and online gambling operators. This home to the world’s biggest gambling companies is under the regulation of the Gambling Act 2005 from which a regulator called the UK Gambling Commission is combined to regulate and license the gambling businesses there.

This British gambling watchdog has laid out strategic policies and measures ensuring that the gambling sector is conducted in a fair and regulated way. Revising licence fees is also among the latest key objectives recently launched by the UKGC. The response to the consultation on proposals to raise the fees paid by the gambling operators to the Gambling Commission has been published by the government.

An Increase of 55% for Online Operators

In this response to a consultation on proposals to increase the licence fees, the government affirmed that the augmentation sees a 55% for annual operating licences for online operators. This significant increase will take effect on 1 October 2021. These new fees will supply additional resources for the Gambling Commission to deal with the gambling concerns in the whole nation.

In fact, the initiative to increase the fees that the operators have to pay to the regulatory body was reviewed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) from 29 January 2021 to 26 March 2021. The review responses were in total 24 received from the gambling companies, representatives of the House of Lords, trade associations, academics, and members of the public. It is worth mentioning that the fee review is not included in the ongoing Gambling Act Review. This regulatory authority will be, therefore, able to continue to address new projects in regulation by recovering its cost from these fees. These challenges include changes to the market and increase technological development. This is the toughest year for British gambling operators according to the block of credit card gaming transactions (only these credit card casinos survived – , stake limits and fee increase.

An Increase of 15% for Land-Based Operators

The increased fees were last reviewed in 2017 to help the Gambling Commission to achieve its goals. The uplift in fees will also help this body to improve the gambling sector identified by the Public Accounts Committee and the National Audit Office. These will include the enhancement of its use of data and intelligence by making sure to provide effective regulation of the gambling area in this country.

Improving the product and payment innovation is also among the new challenges that the UKGC is expected to face with the rising fees. As for the land-based operators, the fee bands will rise by 15% that will come into force on 6 April 2022. This decision was taken in recognition of the impact of the COVID-19 as they had to close during the pandemic.

This new system means that the British gambling regulatory authority will be able to tackle the gambling issues and deal with the development of the gambling industry. Additionally, the regulator will be able to confront the risks associated with unlicensed operators and protect the industry and consumers from the black market invasion.

An Increase of 60% for All Applications

In addition to the uplift fee within the online and land-based annual operating licences, all application fees will also rise by 60%. The reductions for being licensed for multiple activities will also be removed. This structure is reviewed to ensure the regulatory framework around gambling in the UK is suitable for the digital age. As stated by the DCMS, the licence fee rise is important to help the Gambling Commission govern the industry as it has to face a new decade of challenges regarding offshore gambling, new technologies and consumer habits.

As the gambling area is radically reshaped by several factors including mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and globalisation, this new system will really help the UKGC to well conduct and regulate the gambling industry. To bring these changes into force, a statutory instrument will be deposited, and by the end of the year, a White Paper with the findings will be published.

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