UK Government Increases License Fees for Gambling Operators

The UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has published its conclusions from its recent consultation on the funding of the British Gambling Commission and has approved measures that shall increase the license fees for operators and suppliers.

The consultation ran from 29 January to 26 March 2021 and was focused on proposed changes to Gambling Commission fees that were suggested in order to give the regulator more tools with which to approach regulatory challenges.

In the consultation, the DCMS suggested that the Commission had three major challenges: increased technological developments, the size of the operators regulated by the Commission, and the threat of unlicensed operators.

DCMS wants to increase license fees

It suggested an increase in license fees, including increasing the annual remote operating license fee by 55% from this October.

The proposal would also increase the cost of new license applications by 60% and there are suggested steps to simplify the fee system, such as removing the annual discount for combined land-based and online licenses.

Non-remote operating licenses are due to go up by 15%. However, this will not be implemented until April 2022 due to losses suffered by the land-based industry during the pandemic.

The response to the consultation says that the government will proceed with implementing all of the proposals put forward in the consultation, with two small amendments to fee regulations. The amendments are to ensure fee regulations are consistent with UK GDPR and an increase in the Single Machine Permit fee from £25 to £40.

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Secondary legislation will be used to implement the changes to license fees with the first changes due to come into effect in October 2021. These changes will be the increased annual fee for remote operating licenses, the increases to license application and variation fees, and the removal of annual discounts for combined and multiple licenses.

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission published its response to the consultation stating, “we welcome this DCMS consultation response as it ensures much needed changes to our fee income that will enable us to continue to regulate effectively.”