House of Lords gives final approval to new UK gambling bill

The Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill is set to come into force in the UK after being given final approval by the House of Lords.

Subject to Royal Assent, the new bill will see the Gambling Commission licensing system cover all UK remote gambling operators.

Under the current Gambling Act 2005, remote gambling operators that locate their remote gambling equipment overseas do not need a remote operating licence from the Gambling Commission, whereas UK-based operators are required to have one.

The new bill would require all remote gambling operators in the UK market to obtain a licence from the Gambling Commission to allow them to transact with British customers and advertise in the UK.

The clause in the bill was first approved by the House of Commons before being passed on to the House of Lords earlier this year, as reported by iGaming Business.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble introduced an amendment to the House of Lords on Tuesday (March 18) to impose a levy on remote operators offering betting on horseracing.

Lord Gardiner said that the levy extension was about “collecting the horseracing betting levy in a fair and consistent way” and “levelling the playing field for bookmakers engaging with punters”.

Lord Clement-Jones of the Liberal Democrats was supportive of the plans, but crossbencher Baroness Howe of Idlicote expressed her concerns that help for the industry had not been “balanced by consumer protection”.

In addition, Labour’s Lord Lipsey objected to the levy and said it was an example of a subsidy that “distorts markets and so interferes with the generally beneficial results of fair competition” and encourages “bigger prizes which lead to inflated prices for the best bloodstock”.

Despite the uncertainty, the government secured peers’ agreement to its amendment without a vote.

Crossbencher Lord Browne of Belmont later attempted to delay the legislation until the outcome of reviews into the effects of gambling adverts, but the government did not accept this and the peers were not required to force a vote.

Earlier this month, iGaming Business reported that the House of Lords had rejected an amendment to allow the Gambling Commission to block financial transactions between UK citizens and unlicensed gambling websites.

The bill will come into force after receiving formal royal approval from the British monarchy.

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