The UK Labour Party believe that all online casino businesses should have to reapply for a gambling operating licence. The suggestion was made following the revelations of the British gambling industry regulatory body which said that more than one-third of the licensees were found to be failing their customers.
The Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Tom Watson, has sent a letter to both the Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright and the CEO of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), questioning the integrity of a large number of operators, most of which run their services from overseas territories.
As reported by Casino Guardian last week, the UKGC imposed massive penalty packages amounting to £4.5 million on four gambling businesses, as part of its ongoing investigation into the online casino industry. At the time when the industry watchdog announced its decision, it revealed that the operators, three of which were based outside the UK, had failed to guarantee effective safeguard measures preventing money laundering and make sure that customers were safe from gambling-related harm.
As part of its investigation, over the past year and a half, the gambling regulator has reviewed and assessed 123 web-based operators and demanded that 45 of them should take further measures by submitting action plans aimed at raising their standards.
Online Casinos Which Got a Licence after 2014 Should Reapply, Watson Says
Now, Mr Watson has demanded that all online casinos which have received a licence to operate in the UK since 2014 should reapply for one. According to him, the operating licence should be a sign for credibility and trust, and not be seen as a chance for operators to push the limits of the licence conditions and the responsibilities they have.
The Labour Party’s Deputy Leader said that the gambling watchdog cannot be in a position where it is constantly trying to play catch-up to the industry. He shared that the situation needs a structured and efficient response, resulting in an overhaul of the register of current remote gambling sector licences.
For some time now, online gambling operators have been blamed for being socially irresponsible. They have been widely criticised for their close connection with sports, especially with English Premier League football clubs. According to reports, the remote gambling industry in the UK pays approximately £120 million in sponsorship agreements to EPL football clubs. At the same time, the amount paid by the industry as contributions to the largest gambling charity in the UK could be described as insignificant.
As Mr Tom Watson has shared in his letter to the Culture Secretary and the UKGC’s CEO that offshore operators should not use their UK licences and close ties with British sport as a marketing tool to target and attract new customers.
At the time, the UKGC recommends that British casinos and bookmakers donate 0.1% of their annual revenue to GambleAware – the largest gambling charity in the country which is aimed at funding various research, education and treatment programmes.