|The Channel island of Sark looks set to become the next UK-offshore gambling jurisdiction.The island, located in the English channel between the UK and France, has already drawn up a gambling law, which received Royal assent (one of the preliminary stages for a new law) last month.But the e-Gaming Committee said that a problem with the wording could hinder the island from deriving revenues from the licenses.'There is no explicit provision for Chief Pleas to retain as general revenue a surplus from the licensing of gambling activities,' said the committee.Section 2 of the new law gives Chief Pleas the power to levy ‘fees and other charges’ in relation to the licensing of gambling.|
But the island needs the specific consent of the UK government if it wants to introduce any kind of taxation.Committee member Jonathan Brannam said an amendment was needed to make sure the island would be able to benefit from e-gaming business.'The new law was not specific enough. This is just making sure we have the power to get what we thought we would.'The whole purpose of enacting Sark gambling legislation is to earn additional revenues for the island, so the omission must be rectified urgently before any licenses are issued.'
The committee said it favoured the simpler fixed-odds-type games such as bingo, slots and poker for the island to promote.'These will not be attractive to criminals but are online activities undertaken by some two million Europeans during January 2003 - an increase of 100% over 12 months.' But the committee said it was important any e-gaming industry was well regulated. 'The Law Officers have indicated that they have very limited legislative drafting time available during 2003, so Chief Pleas will need to find someone else with the experience to draft appropriate and effective ordinances.'