Who: Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Gambling Commission, Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association
When: September/October 2014
Law stated as at: 13 October 2014
The new UK regulatory regime for remote gambling under the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 was originally due to come into force on 1 October 2014. But on 25 September – just days before – came this announcement:
“Due to a High Court challenge to the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014, DCMS will be taking the necessary steps to postpone this legislation coming into force until 1 November 2014.”
A judicial review application brought by the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association (GBGA) had been heard on 23 and 24 September in the High Court. In order to give the judge time to “reach his judgment without undue time pressure”, the DCMS rushed through Statutory Instruments to postpone the Act coming into force for one month and set a new deadline for offshore gambling operators to apply for a “continuation licence”.
For a couple of weeks, it looked like the UK government’s new regulatory regime could be at risk.
However on 10 October 2014 the claim for judicial review was rejected by the High Court.
Why this matters:
The regime under the new Act brings to an end the special status under UK gambling law of EEA member states and the so-called “white-listed” territories. To date, remote gambling operators licensed in those territories (including Gibraltar) had been permitted to advertise and provide remote gambling facilities to consumers in the UK. Under the new regime they will need (subject to some transitional arrangements) to have a British remote gambling licence from the Gambling Commission.
It appears the GBGA made no application to appeal the judgment, and accordingly the uncertainty around this legislation has now lifted. With effect from 1 November 2014, media owners advertising online gambling operators to British consumers will risk committing an offence if the operator does not have a licence (or a provisional “continuation licence”) from the Gambling Commission.
For more detail on the new regime, see our June 2014 article.
A copy of the High Court judgment can be found here.