The Largest Market Luckily Has The Oldest Regulation System In The World
The UK has had a regulated gambling industry for a very long time now. Actually tracing the beginnings of regulated gambling is difficult there has been gambling at horse races since the early 16th century. Horse racing has long been considered the sport of kings and gambling on it part and parcel of it. There must have been some form of code from the very beginning. The mid 17th century saw the first Gold Cup at Newmarket and you can be sure there was a lot of money riding on it. The Betting and Gaming Act 1960 saw the radical change in UK law with off track gambling being legalized. This saw a swath of bingo halls, bookies and casinos hit the public. Boy were they popular and they still are a recent study estimates that half the population of the UK has a flutter!
The Internet Changed Everything
The gambling boom online moved the goal posts in a big way. Suddenly there was a hug hole in the system. The gambling industry in the UK had been successfully regulated since the 60’s and therefore tax revenue had been flowing into the country’s coffers. Offshore companies where able to take bets from UK residents without any kind of oversight from the UK government. This was clearly unacceptable tax was being avoided and the consumer had no protection from its own government. The Gambling Act 2005 changed all that and the UK Gambling Commission was born. The stated aims of the Commission are ‘to keep crime out of gambling, to ensure that gambling is conducted fairly and openly, and to protect children and vulnerable people.’ The Commission is responsible for all gambling matters in the UK. They issue licenses, they can fine license holders and they can revoke the license as well. They are responsible for investigating and prosecuting illegal gambling along with advisory duties for local and national government.
Oversight And Regulation Can Be Customized
There is a long list of standards and regulations set out in the Gambling Act 2005. It is the responsibility of the Gambling Commission to make sure that license holders comply to these and other requirements set out in the license agreement. The rights of the Commission are far reaching and include the right to examine financial records and banking activities of the company. The Gambling Commission has experts that study these records and can recommend amendments to licensing requirements. The Gambling Commission has the power and rights to change the licensing conditions to prevent or address actions it deems contrary to the law.
The Clout To Make It Count
Oversight is one thing enforcement is something else. The Gambling Commission has the authority to take action against any license holder that breaks the rules. This can range from a slap on the wrist warning to issuing a fine and if the breach of the rules serious enough the license is taken away. That is a serious blow to any operator in the UK. Their business there would be over. No operator of a gambling business can accept UK customers without a UK Gambling Commission license. As this is the world single biggest market it would hurt. There is an intelligence gathering department within the Gambling Commission that investigates and collates evidence of illegal activity within the gambling industry. This department works with the police and other organizations whenever suspicious betting or gambling activity is spotted. The gambling industry has long been an attractive target for money launderers and other organized criminals. The UK Gambling Commission website publishes a list of any casino operators or personal license holders that have had sanctions placed on them by the Commission.
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Not All Plain Sailing
The Gambling Commission got off to a great start. Building on the long tradition of a well regulated market the transition from the old to the new went well. Quickly building a good reputation the Gambling Commission got its full powers in 2007. The Gaming Board that was became defunct. Things moved on and the Commission was seen to be doing a very good job of things. Then came a bit of criticism. There has been an increase of fixed odds betting machines on the high street and the Commission is get the flak for it. It has be attributed to the change in planning permission rules switching responsibility from the Gambling Commission to local councils. This is a minor thing and to be perfectly fair not really the Commissions problem. The couple of hiccups with bookies going bust however has tarnished the reputation of the Commission somewhat. In November 2014 the UK Gambling Commission took complete responsibility for UK online regulation. Unfortunately that year saw the demise of two bookies that were big enough to make a big noise going under. Canbet collapsed owing millions to its customers. This threw a very bad light onto the Commission they had not taken full control yet but they still took a lot of criticism for this. Not long after BetButler shut down with this message on its site ‘The board of BetButler has been approached by a third party regulated gambling business to acquire the customer data base, including all balances and pending withdrawal requests of the business. This process will takes some days to complete.’ The big problem here was that alarms had been sounded months before. Over long payout times and the general financial state of the brand had been raised with the Commission a long while before the collapse. Mistakes happen and these two companies left a bad taste in a lot of mouths. While this is in no way condoning what happened the Commission has a far better track record than almost all other regulatory bodies. Lessons get learned usually the hard way. An online casino that has a UK Gambling Commission license is still head shoulders above one that has one from Curacao.