Gambling (Licensing & Advertising) Act 2014 gets Royal Assent

by K&L Gates LLP
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The Gambling (Licensing & Advertising) Bill received Royal Assent on 14 May 2014. The final version of the Gambling (Licensing & Advertising) Act 2014 (the “Act”) is available here. The Gambling Commission has published a further revised set of FAQs clarifying the timeline for the transitional period for operators seeking a licence to target the UK market.

Timeline

  • The Gambling Commission expects the Act to come into force no earlier than 1 September 2014.
  • Applications for new licences under the transitional arrangements are expected to be accepted by the Gambling Commission from mid-July until mid-August, with a short period following this for the Commission to process applications before the Act comes into force. Therefore, operators wishing to obtain permission to target the UK market from the commencement of the Act will need to submit their application by mid-August at the latest.
  • The online system for applications under the transitional arrangements will be made available on publication of a Statutory Instrument and before the Commission commences accepting applications.
  • To help applicants prepare their application, and gather the necessary supporting documentation in advance, the new application forms and guidance notes are available on the Gambling Commission’s website here.

Other Key Updates

  • Operators who currently provide services to British consumers and whose applications are not determined by the commencement of the Act are likely (subject to the terms of a Statutory Instrument) to benefit from a ‘continuation licence’ pending determination of their application. Those operators will be expected to pay the appropriate annual fee from the date of commencement of the Act, and not from determination of their licence applications.
  • The Gambling Commission has now published the consolidated Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) which will come into force on 4 August 2014. Click here and here for our previous updates on these changes.
  • The Commission has clarified a number of the changes to come into force:
    • if an operator accepts payment by a method falling within the definition of a ‘payment service’ under the UK Payment Services Regulations, it must ensure that the payment service provider is properly regulated in the EEA. The Commission has clarified that this obligation will require operators to satisfy themselves that any payment service they wish to use is either:
      • authorise or registered by the FCA;
      • exempt from the Regulations; or
      • authorised or registered with another regulator in another EEA jurisdiction.

If one of the above options does not apply, the operator should carry out further due diligence in order to satisfy themselves that the payment service is appropriate.

  • In order to satisfy the requirement for operators to offer Alternative Dispute Resolution to customers, an operator may refer customers to an ‘arm’ of another regulator to act as an ADR entity. For example, the commission has agreed in principle to the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission’s (GSC) proposal that the GSC could act as an ADR entity for operators licensed by the GSC.
  • The Commission has confirmed that if an operator that does not currently require a licence from the Gambling Commission has accepted bets from UK customers on an event which is not due to take place until after the commencement of the Act, settling such bets will not fall within the definition of providing facilities for gambling.
  • The Commission has stated that transitional arrangements will allow continuation rights for wholly owned subsidiaries or parent companies of entities currently able to lawfully target the UK market, but that applicants wishing to benefit from this should contact the Gambling Commission, as the extension is not automatic.

 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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