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UK – License fees to go up in the UK to fund Gambling Commission

By - 1 February 2021

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has put forward a proposal to increase the cost of a remote gaming licence by 55 per cent to increase as well as increasing all new application fees by 60 per cent to help fund the Gambling Commission.

If approved the higher fees would kick in by October this year with a 15 per cent increase for land-based operators expected in 2022.

The DCMS has highlighted that the Gambling Commission needs more specialist technical staff, including a chief product officer, and that it will have to invest in tools to improve compliance and combat illegal gaming, all of which would cost an additional £3.5m by 2023/24.

The DCMS stated: “It is important that the costs of regulation are borne by the industry and that the Commission is funded to respond effectively to the challenges set out. However, the Department and the Commission recognise that the non-remote sector has been impacted very significantly by the nationwide restrictions introduced in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, and a significant number of premises have been closed for large parts of the year. To reflect this, we are proposing to leave annual licence renewal fees for existing non-remote operators unchanged in 2021/22, with uplifts only coming into force in April 2022.”

“For a small non-remote business applying for a new operating licence (eg, an adult gaming centre, bingo or general betting applicant with a projected annual GGY of £250,000), the 60 per cent increase would mean that the new proposed application fee would represent 0.6 per cent of that applicant’s projected GGY.For a small remote casino operator with a projected GGY of £250,000, the proposed application fee would represent 1.7 per cent of its projected GGY.”

The Gambling Commission commented: “We welcome this DCMS consultation as it will explore much needed changes to our fee income to enable us to continue to regulate effectively.We would encourage everyone impacted by the proposals to have their say.We are already making gambling safer – having strengthened age and identity verification, introduced strict new guidance for so-called VIP schemes and banning gambling with credit cards – but further resources will mean we are able to make greater and faster progress in making gambling safer and protecting consumers in the years to come.

“The Commission is a relatively small regulator and gambling is a fast-moving industry which must be regulated effectively,” it added.

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