|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (April 2011)|
|Motto||Keeping gambling fair and safe for all|
|Formation||September 1, 2007|
|Legal status||Non-departmental public body|
|Purpose||Gambling regulation in the United Kingdom|
|Headquarters||Victoria Square House|
|Board of Commissioners (Chairman - Philip Graf), Management Board|
|Department for Culture, Media and Sport|
The Gambling Commission is Great Britain's regulatory body for most, but not all, gambling.
It was established under the Gambling Act 2005 and assumed full powers in 2007, taking over responsibility from the Gaming Board for Great Britain, in regulating arcades, betting, bingo, casinos, slot machines and lotteries, but not spread betting (regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority).
It is also responsible for the remote gambling which includes betting online, by telephone and other communication devices using the equipment, based on the territory of Great Britain.
The Commission's stated aims are "to keep crime out of gambling, to ensure that gambling is conducted fairly and openly, and to protect children and vulnerable people".
The Commission is a non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. It issues licenses to gambling operators, can levy fines and revoke licenses, and is tasked with investigating and prosecuting illegal gambling. It is also responsible for advising national and local government on gambling-related issues.
The UK Gambling Commission issues licenses only to those operators whose remote gambling equipment is located on the territory of the UK. Those operators who wish to advertise their services on the territory of the UK, but are based outside the country, have to obtain a license from the Gambling Commission or, alternatively, one of the whitelisted gambling jurisdictions. The Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill proposes to change the licensing requirements so that any company wishing to advertise gambling and take bets from consumers in the UK must hold a licence issued by the Gambling Commission. The proposals are being challenged by the gambling industry including the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association.
Monitoring and regulation
The list of responsibilities of the Gambling Commission includes work to ensure that licensees act in accordance with the requirements imposed by the Gambling Act 2005 and other related regulations and standards. The Commission has the right to visit its licensees and examine their financial activities. As a result of this examination, specialists from the Gambling Commission can issue recommendations for amendments. Apart from such advice, supplementary license conditions can be set or removed. In some cases, the Commission may take action to correct or avoid certain misconducts.
Apart from reviewing the activities of the licensed operators, the Commission is authorised to take regulatory actions against those licensees who breach the rules in some way. The range of actions that may need to be taken varies from issuing a warning to inflicting a fine on those who violate license conditions. In situations where additional investigation is required, the license can be revoked.
The Intelligence department of the Gambling Commission collects information about the illegal activities related to their field and conducts preliminary investigation in order to build a picture of the situation and inform senior management.They also collaborate with other UK organisations and the police in cases where suspicious betting or gambling activities are detected.
In the immediate wake of the 2014 update to the Gambling Act, many overseas operators who had up until that point been offering online gambling to UK patrons rushed to comply with the new regulations. So too, a number of sites that had been operating without proper UK licensing were forced to pull out or face stiff penalties. It should be noted that adherence to the new rules isn’t simply a matter of “flipping a switch” for operators, who are also made to adhere to new tax reporting guidelines.
The list of operators and personal license holders who have had a regulatory sanction imposed on them is published on the site of the Gambling Commission.
Despite the imposition of these new regulations and taxes on local and overseas operators, most of the online gambling industry’s largest companies have nonetheless made the effort to fully comply, among them many giants of the gambling industry such as Titanbet, mainly due to how lucrative the UK market is perceived as being.
The Gambling Commission has come under fire for not preventing the spread of fixed odds betting terminals (FOBT) on the high street. Their spread is linked to the transfer of responsibility for planning permission for bookmakers moving from the Gambling Commission to local authority.
In 2014 the UK regulated online bookmaker Canbet went into receivership owing millions to customers. The demise of this site raised questions of the ability of the Commission to protect UK customers from rogue traders, although overall responsibility for UK online regulation was only given to the UKGC in November 2014.
In September 2014, UK regulated online bookmaker BetButler closed down, leaving a message on its website reading "The Board of BetButler Limited has been approached by a third party regulated gaming business to acquire the customer database, including all balances and pending withdrawal requests, of the business. This process will take some days to complete.". Concerns were raised about pay out times and their financial state many months before this appeared. Again, the Gambling Commission have been criticised.
- National Lottery Commission
- The Gambling Commission: What it is and what it does (PDF)]
- "New UK gambling law explained: what's all the fuss about?" Right Casino. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
- Biddle, Susan & Ferrie, Audrey. "What the gambling industry can expect in 2014". Out-law.com. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
- "Compliance". Gambling Commission. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
- Keaveny, Paul; Mike Hornby. "Wayne Rooney's father bailed in betting probe". The Independent. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
- Gambling Commission: Regulatory Powers
- Summary of the UK Gambling Act 2014 at Titanbet.co.uk
- Bet 365, 2014, retrieved 19 April 2014