Parliament’s Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the UK headed by John Whittingdale has been working over new online gambling scenario of the country. As officials say, general public and the MPs are strongly dissatisfied with the current state of gambling affairs and it means that the Gambling Act approved in 2005 is not efficient. Online community changes at the speed of light but gambling laws are still the same and they cannot deal with social and technological changes that appear daily.
The committee supported taxation on the point of consumption basis but stated that the Treasury needs to work with industry stakeholders to establish the correct level for online gambling taxation. The failure of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to work with the Treasury to set remote gambling taxation at an acceptable level has led to almost half of the online gambling operators moving offshore. They pointed out that the need is to encourage companies to accept UK regulation and taxation and to discourage the formation of a grey market.
The UK Gambling Commission was painted in dark colors and named “an overly expensive, bureaucratic regulator” requiring decisive steps aimed at its operating costs reduction. The report also mentions that the industry fees are unreasonably high. The MPs insist on independent review of Gambling Commission expenditure aimed at reducing costs. Unfortunately, all changes are hardly impossible because of the old system for online gambling licensing.
The report dwelt on problem gambling as well. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport was recommended to start an information campaign on problem gambling to encourage gamblers, who face problems making their game online seek immediate help.
The report put great emphasis on problem gambling and underage gambling and asked for a specific research of the problems in question. MPs underlined the necessity of educating children about possible risks of gambling.
What is more, the committee pointed out that many UK Gambling Commission decisions are taken without proper investigation and evidence, which proves poor regulation. The report assured that the UK government should carry out a serious independent research over time to see the real scale of problem gambling and change gambling regulation accordingly.
Whittingdale underlined that gambling in the UK is viewed as a “legitimate entertainment activity”, that is why gambling legislation should be immediately updated. These steps will not solve problems of global online gambling, but they will make gambling in the UK more impartial and transparent.