Massive Changes to Licensing Announced By the UK Gambling Commission

by Laura C. Jones

The UK Gambling Commission has made changes in the way operators obtain licenses.

In the latest model, there are different process components in four groups. Previously, the commission had tasked an account manager for each operator and announced that it was set to stop.

Therefore, operators may not be required to have a unique section of operation when licensing the best online casino and other gambling sites. The new model is set to divide licenses into four sections. The first one will have the mandate of operating and managing applications for new licenses.

Another group will be the  Change of Corporate Control Group which will process applications for ownership and control changes of existing operators.

The thyroid group will be the Operating License Variation Group, tasked with managing requests to modify existing operator licenses.

Lastly, the fourth group is the Personal Licenses group which will handle all personal license applications.

The commission said that the changes were necessary to help regulators work with the available resources. The commission noted that the new subgroups were to make the license application and required modification processes easier. In addition, they were to ease the question-answering process more efficiently.

Also, the Individual operators may still apply like before, while all online service providers will continue making applications online. All mail applications will be rejected by the commission.

All applications will go through a caseworker, and after the review, the worker will contact the applicant to relay all the timelines and application process.

The Offshore Gambling

Before the 2005 passage of the Gambling Act, it was believed that English law did not apply to gambling conducted outside the United Kingdom.

The basic rule of law regarding legal responsibility for crimes such as unlicensed gambling established a test stating that if the last act in the actus reus occurred outside of the United Kingdom, the conduct could not be prosecuted in an English court.

As such, it became illegal for anyone in London to offer online gambling services without a license. However, if a foreigner offered gambling services to British citizens, they would not be breaking the law.

The only crimes that could be tried in English courts would be completed advertisements for gambling that were published or made available to British citizens.

The Gambling Act of 2005 made it legal for the first time for British citizens to wager online. So, the question arose:

Would the new law attempt to make it illegal for foreigners to offer gambling services to British citizens? At least for the first ten years of the new government, the response was a reasonable compromise.

First, the law stated that any company headquartered in the European Economic Area could advertise and offer these services in the United Kingdom.

This was consistent with the principles of free movement of services and free establishment of businesses outlined in the European Treaty.

Additionally, operators in certain other states (known as “whitelisted” states) were permitted to offer and market their services. The Secretary of State deemed these states to have regulatory systems that provide the same level of protection as the United Kingdom.

New and Updated Changes

The Gambling Commission has expressed a desire to alter the licensing process.

Under the current system, each gambling establishment has its account manager. In response to increased requests, the Gambling Commission will instead form four subgroups to handle the various stages and types of licensing.

Here are the four subgroups with their respective responsibilities: The Operating License New Group will handle requests for new operator licenses, while the Change of Corporate Control Group will handle requests from existing operators to change their ownership and control.

The Operating License Variation Group will manage all requests for modifications to existing licenses, while the Personal License Group will manage all requests for personal licenses.

Even though the application process will change, the Commission stated that the initial application step would remain unchanged. In contrast, they will no longer accept applications submitted via mail.

The Commission stated, “We are changing our methods of operation to make the most efficient use of our resources.” We hope to be able to process applications more quickly if we work in this manner. We also want to respond to questions more quickly and effectively.”

The Commission issued new instructions to operators in June 2022 regarding protecting customers. In April, new regulations for at-risk customers were made public.

The process for obtaining a license has changed due to the recent publication of new regulations for online gambling service providers, which go into effect on September 12, 2022.

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