UK Labour Deputy Leader Demands All iGaming Operators Reapply For Licensees
UK online casino operators could be in a spot of bother. The deputy leader of the UK Labour Party, Tom Watson has recently sent a letter to the Culture Secretary and the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) demanding that all iGaming operators in the country need to reapply for licenses.
The two bodies charged with regulating gambling in the UK may oblige after the recent mess involving online casinos.
Four online casino operators were recently informed that they would need a pay a total of £4.5 million in penalties. This is part of the recent investigation started by the UKGC on whether the gambling sector is complying with all of its rules and regulations.
For Watson, this is the last straw in what is a highly controversial subject for the government. A vocal critic of the gambling sector, Watson points to the UKGC’s findings that one-third of the operators in the UK have failed to meet the requirements of protecting customers and preventing money laundering. This is why he thinks it would be better to have them all just reapply for licensees to ensure that they are following the UK’s rules.
Most online casinos are based overseas. Over one-third are failing their customers. I have written to Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright and @GamRegGB calling for ALL online casinos to be forced to reapply for their operating licences. https://t.co/pHaZ7JYnaz— Tom Watson (@tom_watson) May 20, 2019
In a statement, Watson said
We need checks on their financial probity, the identity and character of their owners, the contributions they make to the research, education and treatment of problem gambling, the partnerships they have with our sports clubs, and any recent breaches of licence conditions. A UK gambling licence should be a hallmark of credibility and trust – not an opportunity to push the limits of conditions and responsibilities.
The penalties that triggered Watson’s letter were the result of an ongoing investigation into online casinos operating in the UK. The UKGC has been conducting assessments of the 123 online casino operators licensed to run in the UK for the past 18 months. So far 45 of these operators assessed have been warned and told to submit action plans on how they can raise their standards of operation. As of now, 38 of these operators have already shown signs of improvement.
Another 34 operators have been cleared by the UKGC, saying that they only had minor issues that were easily remedied. The commission has been working hard since 2018 to increase anti-money laundering processes and protect customers from the threat of addiction.
Watson has come hard at the gambling sector since the start of this year. He has already outlined plans for mandatory limits on player spending, staking and speed of play for online gaming. This will all be part of a major overhaul to online gaming regulations in the UK.