A week before implementation, the UK Gambling Commission was forced to postpone to accommodate a lawsuit filed by the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association to alter or remove the new bill, which they say is not compliant with EU treaties.
The delay in the implementation, which has cost the taxpayers nearly £25 million pounds in legal fees and lost tax revenue, is not entirely the fault of the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association who raised nearly £500 000 along with a number of operators including the likes of William Hill, to fight the new bill.
The transition also cost the various operators as they had already informed their members that the casino would shut down. Some made the decision to pull out of a market they felt was not worth the potential double taxation whereas others felt they had little or no choice in the matter and felt the new laws to be too restrictive, potentially jeopardizing other licenses they may hold from other jurisdictions.
Although many believe the blame falls directly on the shoulders of the GBGA for filing the lawsuit, this isn’t entirely true as the Department of Culture Media and Sport gave the UKGC forewarning that the new bill could face legal challenges from operators who felt it breached EU treaties.
Despite this, the UK Government rushed to implement the UK Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) bill, knowing that it could breach certain EU treaties and that there was the possibility of various legal challenges from operators could be brought forward.
There have even been pockets of resistance within the UK Government and when the bill was debated in the house of commons in the early parts of 2013, MP’s were well aware that there was little thought about the impact of the bill on both the Government, operators and even consumers.
As it stands, the bill, which will be brought forward in court, might have to be altered if the decision is not made to scrap it all together. There are far too many questions left unanswered and far too much resistance from the industry for it to be worthwhile.
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