UK Gambling regulation v Gambling tax

Gambling regulation and gambling tax are separate matters and need to be treated as such. Accordingly, any regulatory issues need to be addressed to the regulatory body, the Gambling Commission (GC), and any tax issues to HMRC. Under the reformed gambling tax legislation, HMRC will be able to require the GC to revoke a Remote Operating Licence in certain circumstances.
The GC, set up under the Gambling Act 2005, is sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and is responsible for the social controls on gambling in Great Britain. Licensing is one of the key features of these social controls. The GC’s statutory objectives are to make sure gambling is crime-free, fair and does not exploit the vulnerable.

The licensing regime

There are different types of licences including:

 Premises

 Operating

 Personal

The GC issues operating and personal licences to entities and individuals within the gambling industry. They also issue guidance to licensing authorities who are responsible for issuing gambling operators with premises licences.

An operating licence is a licence under section 65 of the Gambling Act 2005. This licence authorises the operator holding it to perform specific functions –

for example, a casino operating licence authorises the holder of the licence to run a casino, and a bingo operating licence authorises the holder to provide facilities for playing bingo.

Under section 67 of the Gambling Act 2005 a Remote Operating Licence (ROL) authorises remote gambling activity, or activity by means of remote communication, by operators with key equipment in Great Britain. Such operators cannot legally provide remote gambling without a GC licence, however, overseas operators may transact legally with customers in Great Britain. It is illegal to advertise remote gambling unless an EU or white list issued licence is held.

DCMS are undertaking reforms to remote gambling regulation independently of the gambling taxation reforms. As a result of the DCMS reforms, a ROL will be required where at least one piece of remote gambling equipment used to provide remote gambling facilities is situated in Great Britain, or where there is no such equipment in Great Britain but the facilities can be used from there. Only those holding a GC ROL will be able to supply or advertise remote gambling facilities to customers in Great Britain.