The UKGC in the News — Weekly Round-up for June 02, 2017

British Appellate Court Upholds UKGC Decision To Withhold Licensing

Court of Appeal upholds the power of the Gambling Commission to refuse operating licences for bingo in pubs

Considered a key judgment, the British Court of Appeal has upheld a lower court’s ruling that the UK Gambling Commission is entitled to refuse operating licenses to applicants, regardless of their suitability, if it deemed the operation would be inconsistent with the licensing objectives.

The ruling refers to retailer and brewer Greene King who applied for an operating license to offer bingo in its 3,000 odd pubs.

The application was rejected by the UK Gambling Commission as it considered Greene King’s business model was liable to undermine the licensing objectives, despite the company being considered a suitable operator.

Greene King’s subsequent legal challenge proved successful in the First Tier Tribunal but a further legal appeal saw the Upper Tribunal uphold the UK Gambling Commissions position.

The Court of Appeal supported the Gambling Commission’s arguments, described as overwhelming, ruling that the Commission was indeed entitled to consider and find the operation to be inconsistent with the licensing objectives and refuse the licence accordingly.

“The Court also dealt with an argument that it was not open to the Commission to rely on the experience of its officials as to the risks to the licensing objectives: some more evidence was required. The Court held that the Panel was entitled to draw on its own expertise and experience of the relationship between gambling and alcohol, and that of its officers, in reaching its conclusions,” Philip Kolvin QC of Cornerstone Barristers, acting on behalf of the Gambling Commission, said in a statement.

The appeal was dismissed with costs and the case will not be remitted to the First Tier Tribunal to determine the appeal on its merits.

Esports Integrity Signs Mou With UKGC

Symbiotic relationships aim to maintain integrity in sports across all disciplines and sectors

The Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC) and the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) will collaborate following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) covering the detection and reporting of betting anomalies in the ever-popular and growing eSports sector.

The ESIC will work together with the UK Gambling Commission’s Sports Betting Intelligence Unit (SBIU) in identifying potential irregularities within eSports gambling, a similar initiative as that signed with the Nevada Gaming Control Board recently.

ESIC will benefit from the intelligence available from both these pre-eminent regulators and they, in turn will benefit from information gathered from ESIC’s members who are not licenced in the UK or Nevada, but see betting activity across esports worldwide.

“This MOU is a significant step for ESIC and the esports community,” Ian Smith, ESIC Commissioner, said. “The Gambling Commission has  significant resources and powers that will be invaluable in helping to combat any emergence of organised crime or serious fraud within our rapidly growing sector.

ESIC will issue guidance notes to members in the coming weeks on the implications of the MoU and how its relationship with both regulators will improve the integrity of the eSports sector.

“Esports is a developing sector that offers new challenges for the betting industry, with potential for further market growth,” Richard Watson, Programme Director at the UK Gambling Commission, added.

“This agreement demonstrates our commitment to supporting ESIC in addressing the potential integrity risks, to help maintain public confidence in esports both as entertainment and for those who wish to place bets on British licenced markets”.

Opcapita Licensed By UKGC

Acquisition of Sportech’s Football Pools moves towards completion

All conditions relating to OpCapita’s GBP 83 million acquisition of Sportech PLC‘s The Football Pools business have been met with the award of a gambling license from the UK Gambling Commission.

Following this development, Sportech PLC said it expects the completion of the transaction before the end of June 2017.

“This is a significant step towards completion of this transaction,” Ian Penrose, chief executive, of Sportech, said. “I would like to thank the dedicated management, staff and customers who have enhanced the history and success of the Football Pools. I wish them all continued success.”

New UK National Online Self Exclusion Scheme Branded Gamstop

NOSE branding identified and underway

The Remote Gambling Association (RGA), responsible for developing and initiating the UK’s new National Online Self Exclusion Scheme (NOSE), has branded the scheme GAMSTOP.

GAMSTOP has been developed to meet the aims of the UK Gambling Commission’s Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice which according to the 2014 Gambling Act requires all remote gambling operators to have a player self-exclusion service as part of their UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) licence and code of practice.

The GAMSTOP website will offer player information on all UK licensed operator online betting and gambling self-exclusion schemes as well as set out other measures that are available to help people manage their gambling.  Specialist advice and support services will be sign posted for those who might benefit from it.

“We are at a very exciting stage in the development of GAMSTOP,” Fiona Palmer, RGA Director of Social Responsibility, said.  “With the branding now established and process design well advanced, the focus in the coming months will be on technology integration and industry communication.

“We are therefore confident that we will deliver self-exclusion on the truly national scale needed to assist consumers who need this kind of help to manage their gambling.”

“The ability for consumers to exclude themselves from all online gambling with a single request will be a powerful tool for those that need it,” added Paul Hope, Programme Director for the UK Gambling Commission.

“We welcome the work the RGA is doing to develop GAMSTOP and look forward to it becoming available.”