Challenges to iGaming operations in the UK

Remote gaming operators operating in the UK, but licenced in overseas jurisdictions, will have to face a new challenge as The Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill was granted Royal Assent. Operators to date adopted the ‘place of supply’ perspective, operating in the UK but having their gambling equipment outside the UK, thus not requiring a UK licence. This setup accounts for about 85% of operators operating in the UK. With the introduction and implementation of this law, operators will either have to comply and obtain a Gambling Commission licence or refuse to service UK residents. This will ensure that all operators operating in the UK market, will now fall within the remit of the Gambling Commission, allowing them to have direct access and oversight of these operators’ activity and providing better player protection.

The downside: the smaller operators who do not afford to obtain a UK licence, will shut down or not service the UK market anymore. This decreases healthy competition in the industry and may also increase the incentive and foothold of unlicensed operators.

The Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill is expected to come into effect by September, but any legal challenges and action taken by any operator may delay reforms to the licencing regime and implementation of the law, serving to lengthen the existing state of affairs.