UK shows US way to go
By paul
The UK government has given the clearest indication of its plans for regulating online gambling, with the recent publication of their position paper ‘The Future Regulation of Remote Gambling’.

Remote gambling is the term used by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to cover all forms of online gambling – Internet, iTV, mobile etc.

The 28 page document gives a ‘snapshot of the governments view’ and indications of how the British remote gambling industry will be regulated. Much of the document’s contents are already known, but in light of the US and Australian governments’ recent prohibition era tactics, the DCMS approach is a breath of fresh air.

Key points are: a ‘Gambling Commission’ will deal with the detailed regulatory measures and procedures, whilst ‘The Gambling Bill’ itself will only create an outline framework within which the rules will be set.

The Gambling Commission will be expected to issue codes of practice (with the powers make ad hoc changes to reflect technological changes), will issue operator and personal licenses – either gaming, betting or lottery licenses and will have powers of entry, search and seizure from licensees.

License costs are yet to be determined and significantly, existing British licensed gaming operators will not automatically qualify for a new remote gambling licence.

The DCMS publication also covers issues of player protection and security in detail, with player identification having a whole section dedicated to it. Systems and software approval will be subcontracted to specialists, and the document states that primary game servers must be based in the UK to allow for inspection.

In what could be taken as a swipe at the US, the DCMS takes the position that prohibition “(flies) …in the face of reality of international banking and the inherently international nature of 21st century telecommunications.”. The question of where gambling takes place is resolved by the DCMS paper – it takes place where the operator is based.

US readers take note: the UK is part of Europe. The same Europe that is so often derided by US commentators and politicians as being anti-business, out of touch, behind the curve…….and light years ahead of the US in attitudes to online gambling.

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