UPDATE: The new UK licensing laws, after being challenged in court will now be delayed by one month and are expected to be in place by November 1st, however this has not changed many online casino operators decision to leave the market as of October 1st.
There are big changes afoot in the way UK online gambling is licensed and regulated, and as of October the 1st a new law, The Gambling Act of 2014 comes into operation. This new legislation means that all online gaming companies that offer their product to UK or British residents must hold a current and valid operating license, obtained from the Gambling Commission. Licensing in UK online gambling is of course nothing new, however this law, and the license, aims to bring gaming companies under more of a central regulatory body.
Those gaming companies that are based offshore, in places like Gibraltar and Malta are licensed by the jurisdiction from which they operate, in fact a Gibraltar gaming license has been for many years sign of a quality establishment, however now, a UK license will also be required, and operators with the new license will also be subject to a 15% tax. It’s the tax situation that many operators are a little annoyed with, and due to this you’ll find that a few smaller operations may pull out of the UK market and concentrate their efforts elsewhere. Regulatory bodies that already exist, such as Gibraltar have fought hard to get the new law overturned, arguing that the industry does not need another regulatory body in place and that guidelines and procedures against things such as online fraud, and that sufficient consumer protection is already in place, however the new legislation will take effect.
So What Does it Mean to You?
As a consumer in the UK online gaming industry the law affects you in no way at all, apart from the fact that you may have a little less of a choice of where to place your bets or play your favorite online casino games. The big guns in the UK gaming industry, such as Betway,Ladbrokes, Bet355 and William Hill, will of course stay in the market and even some of the smaller online casinos will be sticking around, with operations such as Next Casino and Mr Green having applied for the license. Should you be playing in a UK online casino that is exiting the market then they will notify their players and quite possibly offer good alternatives as to where to play.