A new gambling bill, which will affect all online casinos that operate in the UK, has just been approved by the House of Lords. It now moves on for final approval by Members of Parliament in the House of Commons, after which it will become law.
What the Bill Entails
The UK Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill, will make sure that any casino providing a service to residents of the UK will need to hold a license from the UK Gambling Commission. They will also be liable to pay the local 15% consumption tax (VAT). This will particularly affect those operators currently based in overseas territories, notable Gibraltar and Malta who only have to pay local taxes. In Gibraltar for instance, the rate is a mere 1%, and even this is capped at a maximum of £425,000 a year, but under the terms of the new bill, any revenue earned from the UK will be subject to the full 15% rate, with no upper limit.
Financial Transaction Agreements
One of the proposed amendments to the bill was to give the UK Gambling Commission the powers to ban financial transactions between the credit card or e-wallet providers, and any casino operators who did not hold a UK license, but this was dropped as the institutions concerned, such as PayPal, Visa and MasterCard have agreed to reject any such transaction voluntarily.
Former Sports Minister, Lord Moynihan has introduced a further amendment that will significantly increase the maximum scentence for cheating at online Poker tables. Presently the maximum is two years in prison, but with this change, it will be increased to 10 years, while it also gives the police and judicial system more powers to act against suspects.
The new tax rate, and Poker sentences are due to become law in December 2014.