Gambling Licence Fees to Increase in Britain
Following the industry consultation regarding the funding of the Gambling Commission in Britain, the country’s regulatory body, an increase in licensing fees for gambling operators has been proposed of up to 55%.
The DCMS, Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport, has put forward the licence fee increase within its published response to the consultation.
The Consultation and Its Proposals
The DCMS held its consultation on proposals to change the fees collected by the Gambling Commission between January 29 and March 26. It was done for the industry to address the need to allow the Commission to be better funded, something it requires to address regulation changes more adequately.
The consultation document was published, and in it, the DCMS argued that the GC faced three pertinent challenges in the upcoming months. The challenges are an increase in technological developments, the threat posed by the black market (unlicenced) gambling operators, and the fact that those businesses the Commission is tasked with regulating are usually huge global entities.
Given those challenges, the DCMS consultation has proposed an increase in licence fee costs. That increase could be up to 55% on all remote operating licence fees, effective from October 1, 2021.
New licence applications made to the Gambling Commission will come with an increased cost of 60%, while steps are to be taken to simplify the system used to collect such fees. The consultation proposes removing the current annual fee discount for those companies considered to be a combined land-based and online organisation.
Licences for non-remote operators are set to go up by some 15%, though implementing that particular increase may not be possible until April 1, 2022, owing to the losses taken by the land-based gambling sector in Britain following the outbreak of COVID-19. Since March 2020, casinos, betting shops, and bingo halls have spent a long time with their doors firmly closed.
Government to Proceed with Consultation Recommendations
In its published consultation document, the DCMS has said that the government will implement all of the proposals put forward, possibly except for two areas in which there may be small amendments. Those amendments concern fee regulations.
The proposed amendments are said to be a provision to allow no variation fees to be charged in some circumstances. This would be done to make sure that fee regulations are in line with the UK’s GDPR, meaning an increase to £40 from £25 in the Single Machine Permit fee.
Changes Could be in Place Before the End of the Year
The changes proposed to licence fees will be enforced by secondary legislation. The first of them may be in place by October 1, with changes affecting the increase to annual fees for remote operators, increases to any and all licence application and variation fees, and the discontinuation of previously given annual fee discounts for those with combined or multiple licences.
Waiting a little later maybe the increase to annual fees for licences applied for by non-remote entities, which could be introduced as mentioned on April 1.
The Gambling Commission has spoken out to say they welcome the proposal and the recommendations put forward. The fee increases, meaning they can continue to regulate effectively considering the challenging environment the industry finds itself in.