Sweeping changes to fees
In bad news for gambling operators hoping to enter the UK market, officials have decided to increase license application fees starting October 1.
The changes have resulted from a consultation held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) between January and March 2021. In that time, the government body received a total of 24 consultation responses from trade associations, licensed operators, and other interested parties.
The cost of non-remote operating licenses will go up 15%
The DCMS and UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) announced the agreed amendments on Monday. Starting in October, the UKGC will increase all license application fees by 60% and annual fees for remote operators by 55%. The cost of non-remote operating licenses will go up 15%, but this will only come into force in April 2022.
Officials have also agreed to implement changes to simplify the fee system. These will include removing annual fee discounts for combined and multiple licenses.
A response to new challenges
The DCMS posted the full consultation outcome to the official UK government website on Monday. It said that a fee increase would allow the UKGC to “recover its costs and respond to new challenges.”
The DCMS has outlined three specific difficulties facing the UKGC in its mission to regulate the UK gambling industry. These include increased technological developments within the industry, along with growth and consolidation in the market. The government body also noted its desire to protect customers from the risks associated with unlicensed operators.
In response to these problems, the DCMS said that increased investment would allow the commission to initiate additional staff training and improve its expertise as a regulatory agency. “The Commission’s investment strategy will enable it to proceed with the highest priority investments,” the consultation findings read.
The UKGC under review
News of the fee increase comes as the UK Gambling Commission is currently under government review. The DCMS began an assessment of the Gambling Act 2005 in December last year.
As part of this review, the body will consider several potential changes to UK gambling law, including staking limits for online gambling and a ban on loot boxes. The DCMS will also assess the UKGC’s efficacy as a market regulator.
Sheehan will decide whether the UKGC effectively monitored and regulated the Bet Index-owned company
The commission is also facing the heat for its role in the collapse of soccer betting company Football Index. Last Monday, the government announced the appointment of Malcolm Sheehan QC to lead an independent review into the collapse. As part of this assessment, Sheehan will decide whether the UKGC effectively monitored and regulated the Bet Index-owned company.
Sheehan will provide the findings of his review this summer. The results of the investigation will feed into the Gambling Act review.