Latest Updates Re Progress Related to Enforcement of The Act:
Due to a High Court challenge to the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014, DCMS (Department of Culture, Media and Sport) have announced that they are postponing the new legislation enforcement date to November 2014. In a statement the department said that I is doing this as to be able to pass judgment without undue pressure.
The High Court challenge came from the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association (GBGA), who have been very vocal in its criticism of the law and seeks to have it overturned. The GBGA argues that the Act is "unlawful, because it is an illegitimate, disproportionate and discriminatory interference with the right to free movement of services... and is irrational."
Most analysts seem to conclude that this challenge by the GBGA is at best a long shot.
Background to the New Act
On 9 May 2013 the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill was introduced to Parliament to bring about important changes to how gambling is regulated in Great Britain. The Bill received Royal Assent on 14 May 2014 and is now referred to as the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014. The Act requires any operator wishing to transact with or advertise to consumers in Britain to obtain an operating license from the Gambling Commission and was orgiginally planned to come into force on 1 October 2014, but has been delayed.
A companion bill, set to take effect on December 1, will impose a new 15% tax on gaming duty for all bets taken on UK customers, which has resulted in many offshore operators apparently ceasing their UK operations.
What This Means for Current Operators
Under the new Act, existing operators who are domiciled within the United Kingdom, had to apply for a new license by 16 September 2022. Those domiciled outside of the UK were allowed to apply for a "continuation license" by 16 September 2014, which would allow them to keep operating until they satisfied the conditions of the act, and their application has been processed.
At the time of writing, over 900 URL's had been registered with the DCMA. Over 150 companies have applied for temporary continuation licenses and many have put into motion the process of moving customers onto new UK platforms.
Practical Implications of the New Act
Whilst it appears that most UK based gambling operators have applied for license, the picture is very different when it comes to offshore operators. These are companies that used to market their services via white listed jurisdictions (such as Gibraltar, Isle of Man and Malta), and in some cases even illegal jurisdictions (like Kahnawake and Curacao).
In summary, online gambling companies have responded by either:
- Applying for a license for all their brands, for example William Hill Group and 32Red Plc, or
- Consolidating all of their UK players onto on brand only, and prohibiting play by UK residents on many of their other brands, or
- Blocking UK residents from their current brands, recommending they join a new brand (either owned by the operator themselves or by a another group). The approach taken here also differs. Some are recommending the new brand to their exiting customers, whilst others are actually migrating player accounts.
We summarise thee scenarios below and keep an active lists for each, which we will update from time to time.
Business as Usual
Many of the UK high street gambling brands have applied to license all of their brands, as have numerous offshore operators (who would currently be licensed in a so-called "white listed" jurisdiction like Malta).
|Operator / Group||Brands|
|William Hill Plc||William Hill Sportsbook, William Hill Casino, Prestige Casino|
|32Red Plc||32Red Casino, Casino Lounge, Dash Casino, Nedplay|
|Ladbrokes Plc||Ladbrokes Casino, Ladbrokes Bookmaker|
|Gala Coral||Gala Casino, Coral Casino|
|Casino Rewards (Offshore)||All 28 brands including Casino Action, Luxury Casino, Golden Tiger Casino, Virtual City Casino and Zodiac Casino|
|BGO Vegas Casino|
|Betfred||Betfred Sportsbook, Betfred Casino|
|Roxy Palace Casino|
|Betway Group||Betway Casino, Betway Sportsbook|
|Leo Vegas Casino|
Examples of groups who are consolidating their UK business on one brand (existing or new):
|Group||New UK Brands|
|Euro Partners||Titan Bet UK, Titan Bet UK Casino etc (new brands)|
|Winner||Winner UK Sportsbook, Winner UK Casino etc (new brands)|
Cross Marketing to A Third Party Brand
|Group||New UK Brands|
|Vegas Partner Lounge (Casino UK, Crazy Vegas Casino etc)||UK players will be cross marketed to Roxy Palace Casino|
|Carmen Media (Jackpot City Casino etc)||UK players will be migrated to SpinCasino.com (new - operated by Betway)|
|Fortune Lounge (Platinum Play etc)|
|Jackpot Factory (All Slots Casino etc)||UK players will be migrated to SpinCasino.com (new - operated by Betway)|
Brands Leaving the UK Market
These are some of the most prominent brands that have communicated their exit from the UK market:
|Group||New UK Brands|
|Club World Group||Includes brands like Manhattan Slots and Club World Casino|
|We expect other RTG brands like Inetbet and Jackpot Capital to also follow suit but the have not communicated anything yet||Cherry Casino, Euroslots|
We will update this page as and when more information becomes known. At the time of writing, many groups, and especially smaller ones have not yet communicated their intentions.
In our overview of Online Gambling Law in the United Kingdom, we explore the following six areas of the law: