UK: increase of license fees starting October 2021!
The UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) met for an industry wide consultation between 29 January and 26 March 2021 and has now published their response on discussions regarding the funding of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) which ultimately has resulted in an increase of 55% for remote licensing renewals and as much as 60% on application fees for remote licenses late this year, while next year there will be an increase of 15% for land-based and retail casino and betting establishments!
The DCMS confirmed in the consultation document that the fee increase was necessary for the regulator to address three major challenges it faced. These relate to the increase in technological developments, the threat from illegal operators and the issue in which the Commission regulates mainly operators that are multinational global businesses.
The assessment explained that the UKGC also needed an increase in investment to improve training for staff and improve expertise within the regulatory body overall and that the government will look to implement all the proposals in due course to ensure this is the case.
Increased fees are to help fund increased costs to:
- Keep up with technological developments
- Quell the threat of black-market operators
- Better regulate operators registered from overseas
- To train staff working with the UKGC regulatory board
Secondary legislation will enforce the changes to the licence fees and the first with most changes relating to the increased annual fees for remote operating licences. This includes licence applications and variation fees as well as the removal of the annual fee discount.
New Remote operators face 55% annual fee & 60% new license application fee!
The UKGC document confirmed an increase of 55% for the annual license fee for remote operators which will affect all online gambling established currently registered with the UKGC. There is also a 60% increase for any new remote license applications.
Annual fee discounts are already confirmed as being removed, while proposals to remove the annual fee discount for operators who hold a combined land-based and online license was also approved. The proposal for this change will take effect from the start of October 2021.
Non-remote operating licences are due to increase by 15%
In contrast, non-remote operators, i.e., retail and land-based operators, will have their license fees increased by 15%. Although, due to the loss of revenue suffered in the land-based sector from the pandemic, the increase in license fee will be delayed and will take effect in April 2022. There was also a slight change to the Single Machine permits, moving up from £25 to £40!
Gambling Commission welcomes the increase!
The Gambling Commission has addressed issues relating to the safety of their consumers making gambling a safer environment on the whole. Implementing strict guidance on responsible gambling with the aim to continue keeping up with the fast-paced industry.
The Gambling Commission responded with a statement which suggested it welcomed the response from the consultation and with the increase in funding would ensure that they continue to regulate effectively.