Gambling licence

law and procedure update

Gaming machines take centre stage as new Gambling Commission boss arrives
IOL Article May 2017

Horserace Betting Levy Regulations 2017 come into force

On the 25th April the Horserace Betting Levy Regulations 2017 came into force and provide that all bookmakers and betting exchange operators who hold remote operating licences who take bets on British horseracing are now liable to pay the Levy.

The Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 was introduced to require that all gambling operators, who engage with British customers, wherever they are located, must hold a Gambling Commission licence.
Following the introduction of the Act, the Government determined to ensure that a level playing field was applied to both British-based and offshore remote gambling operators who take bets on British horseracing in respect of their contribution to the Horserace Betting Levy.

The DCMS’ consultation on extending the Horserace Betting Levy issued in June 2014 explains that the “main purpose of linking collection of the Levy to holding a Gambling Commission licence is to provide a fairer basis for competition between remote gambling operators who take bets on British horseracing wherever they are based.  The Levy is collected from the gross profit of betting on British horseracing (i.e. horseracing in England, Scotland and Wales) and distributed to help improve horseracing and, in particular, breeding and veterinary research and education”.

The Levy is charged at the rate of 10% of the amount of profits raised on leviable bets in a Levy period in excess of the exempt amount, which is set at £500,000.

Government Announces Exemption for Gambling Sectors under New Money Laundering Requirement

On the 15th March HM Treasury published its response to consultation on the EU 4th Money Laundering Directive and decided that all gambling sectors should be exempt from the new regulations, except for remote and non-remote casinos. 

The Treasury’s National Risk Assessment classified the gambling sector as low risk in relation to other regulated sectors, based in part on several mitigating factors including the legislative framework that gambling operators are subject to and the regulatory control exercised by the Gambling Commission.
This maintains the status quo in the gambling sector, with only casino operators required to comply with the Money Laundering Regulations once they take effect.

High Court challenge to grant of large casino licence in Southampton and the latest on the new casinos.

The final hurdle to a new large casino in Southampton appears to have been cleared. In February Southampton City Council defended a Judicial Review by Global Gaming Ventures (Southampton) Ltd following the authority’s decision to grant the large casino licence to Aspers for a site at the Royal Pier.

The grounds for Global Gaming Ventures High Court challenge were that the councils Advisory Panel should have undertaken a mathematical calculation of the benefits of each proposal and secondly, that an alternative tenant should have been considered, replacing Aspers, for the Royal Pier site.

Mr Justice Jeremy Baker rejecting the application as he “do not consider that either of the matters relied upon by the claimant give rise to an arguable ground upon which to judicially review the defendant's decisions, either to grant a provisional statement to the interested party in respect of a large casino, or to refuse to grant such a statement to the claimant.”

Asper’s new large casino in Southampton will join those they already operate in Milton Keynes and Stratford, the Genting at the NEC in Birmingham and the recently opened Victoria Gate casino in Leeds, operated by the applicants of the Judicial Review in Southampton, Global Gaming Ventures. This leaves three of the large casinos yet to be developed, in Great Yarmouth, Middlesbrough and Hull. Provisional Statements have been granted to Pleasure and Leisure Corporation plc, Jomast Developments and Apollo Resorts and Leisure Ltd respectively.

For further information on this issue contact Partner and Head of Betting & Gaming, Nick Arron, 0115 953 8500.