Uk Gambling Commission Head Discusses New U.k. Licensing Law

Brit regulator expects around 150 applications for online gambling licenses under new point-of-consumption law

Jenny Williams, the head of Britain's Gambling Commission, spoke on the imminent implementation of the new point-of-consumption laws and tax regime at an international gambling conference in Barcelona last week, telling delegates that her organisation expects to process around 150 applications from online gambling operators, and revealing that several applications have already been submitted.

Williams opined that it was unlikely that opposition to the new law by the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association (which is seeking a judicial review on the EU legitimacy of the law) would derail the implementation process.

"It's full steam ahead. It wouldn't be fair to those that have spent a lot of time getting ready to hold back now," she said, noting that some operators were active across multiple jurisdictions, and it was essential that the Commission was in a position to know whether these companies are "…wilfully disregarding somebody else's regulations."

"It's also about financial riskiness — if companies have a lot of risk in grey markets we might be concerned," she added.

Williams said that on the positive side, the British system was open and consistent, and the licensing fees were very reasonable.

"There are lots if reasons why it makes sense to be licensed [in the UK]" she said, pointing out that unlicensed operators would not be allowed to market their products to UK online punters.

The Commission supported the p.o.c. concept because it provided regulatory access by the Commission to major operators based outside the United Kingdom but accessing and profiting from British internet and mobile gamblers, Williams explained.

The new secondary licensing framework makes the Commission's oversight more effective in terms of understanding the operators and how they conduct their businesses, she said.

"The changes mean we will be infinitely better placed to assess risks and implement change," she concluded.

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