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UK Gambling Act Implementation Postponed Until November

PokerStars UK residents get another month to “auto top up” their cash game action after a notice on the UK Gambling Commission website stated that the Oct. 1, 2014 implementation date is being pushed back to Nov. 1, 2014.

The notice – which is hardly conspicuous – stated that: “Due to a High Court challenge, DCMS will be taking the necessary steps to postpone this legislation coming into force until 1 November 2014. This will allow a judgment to be made without undue time pressure.”

The High Court challenge that the Gambling Commission is referring to comes from the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association (GBGA). A trade association that provides a united voice for 22 online gambling companies that are licensed out of the tiny British overseas territory.

According to the GBGA website their vision is as follows:

1. Safe, fair and competitive offering

2. Highest standards for consumers

3. Gibraltar as a center of excellence

4. World leaders in online gaming

5. Online gaming best practice

6. Commitment to the consumer

Back in August the GBGA argued that the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 and the guidance and policies of the Gambling Commission were “unlawful.” Stating that it is an “illegitimate, disproportionate and discriminatory interference with the right to free movement of services guaranteed by Article 56 TFEU, and is irrational.”

The Tyrannosaurus Rex sized bone of contention is that the Gambling Commission believe the new laws have been created to add more layers of protection for the consumers, and the GBGA believes they are stripping them away.

The absence of effective supervision and enforcement, coupled with the burdensome regulatory requirements, will encourage the growth of and migration to unregulated or poorly regulated operators which will present genuine risks to the British consumer,” the GBGA argued in its submission to the High Court of England and Wales.

GBGA argument centered on POC tax

When you really get down to it, the GBGA are arguing that the only reason the new laws have been created is to create more money for the government in the form of the 15% point of consumption (POC) tax. The GBGA are therefore arguing in the High Court that the objectives of the law are illegitimate.

As the new regulations were due to be enforced on Oct. 1, 2014, the GBGA asked for an expedited hearing of the case that has been granted, prompting the DCMS to postpone implementation of the new rules until Nov. 1, 2014.

It is extremely disappointing that our concerns have not been listened to by the UK Government, and that the Gambling Commission’s plans to expand its remit have been accepted,” stated GBGA chief executive Peter Howitt in a press release on the GBGA website. “The only beneficiaries of this change are the UK domestic industry and the Gambling Commission itself, which has persuaded the UK Government that it should be the global regulator of this high tech and complex industry. It has neither the resources, the legal powers, nor the skills to operate successfully across the globe. This is bad news for consumers, and for international competition. We have an effective and knowledgeable regulator in Gibraltar. That the Gambling Commission believes it is better placed to regulate the industry here is laughable. We are determined to fight against measures that actually undermine consumer protection.”

Nobody will be throwing in the towel in this one.

 

 

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Lee Davy

Life can be viewed as the sum of the parts or the parts themselves. I believe in the holistic view of life, or the sum. When dealing with individual parts you develop whack-a-mole syndrome; each time you clobber one problem with your hammer another one just pops up.

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