UK Government Increases Gambling License Fees Cost

DCMS has announced that The UK government will increase license fees cost for all businesses in the UK gambling industry. 

DCMS Announces License Fees Cost Increase 

The UK government will increase the cost of license fees for all businesses in the UK gambling industry as of October 1. 

The news, announced by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media &S Sport (DCMS), came in as a response to a consultation launched on January 29, which examines the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) funding and ‘to cover its costs and address its regulatory challenges.’

DCMS stated that the cost increase of license fees would help UKGC control the industry’s challenging years ahead as new technological innovations and evolving consumer habits will reshape the industry on a global scale.

The UKGC needs to be well equipped to handle these challenges and protect customers and licensed businesses from “black market encroachment.”

In March this year, UKGC announced that it took regulatory actions against five casinos in the country after conducting an assessment of the businesses. The casinos had failed to follow social responsibility rules. According to the commission, the casinos didn’t follow anti-money laundering rules set by the UKGC. Four of the casinos reached a regulatory settlement with the commission, but one received a fine. 

In April, the UKGC suspended the remote operating license of Nektan (Gibraltar) Limited for breaching the license conditions.

DCMS Increases Annual Fees and Application fees

In its response, DCMS stated that the commission’s investment strategy would include obtaining expertise, and data analysis, related to technological innovation. It will improve its prevalence and participation in data collection.

DCMS focused on the commission’s need for staff training and better expertise as a regulatory agency controlling the high-risk industry.

DCMS will enforce the following measures:

  • Increase annual fees for remote operating licenses by 55%, October 1, 2021
  • Increase all UKGC license application fees by 60% from October 1, 2021
  • Non-remote operating licenses cost will increase by 15% until April 1, 2022
  • Make adjustments to simplify the fees system, including removing annual fee discounts for combined and multiple licenses. It will take effect from October 1, 2021

Objections to Licensing Fees Cost Increase

DCMS said that before the finalization of its review of the 2005 Gambling Act, it received objections for raising licensing fees cost. 

In response, DCMS said that the UK’s structure of flat fee licensing hasn’t changed since 2009. However, the UKGC’s governing costs have increased over time.

The UK gambling industry’s decrease in land-based GGY due to the pandemic and reduction of the industry in size doesn’t mean that “UKGC’s governing complexity has lowered.”