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UK Officials Defend Their Announced Gambling Reforms

shutterstock_55921486It has come to both players and officials’ attention that the United Kingdom plans to pass a series of gambling reforms that are expected to be introduced in late 2014. There is a general concern that the “Place of Consumption” text is just as the name suggests, a way of generating more tax income. The Permanent Secretary to the Department of Culture Media and Sport tries to prove otherwise, and after the project came under heavy fire, the officials presented additional arguments to support their theory.

Phillip Brear is Gibraltar’s Gambling Commissioner and also one of the detractors who have constructed a very solid case against the UGKC’s plan. He regards the gambling reforms as unnecessary and even detrimental, as they threat to dilute existing regulations, and make it more difficult to hold wrongdoers responsible. The entire project is going to be very expensive and the benefits insignificant, despite the claims that the reforms are aimed at protecting UK customers.

The Commissioner submitted new evidence to prove that the alleged harm that the new regulations are supposed to protect customers from is too low to generate concern in the United Kingdom. The Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association plans on doing more than contesting the gambling reforms and if the law will be enacted, it will challenge it in court. So far the Association collected half a million pounds and is poised to spend the money in an attempt to fight the new regulations if they are implemented.

On the other hand, the permanent secretary to the DCMS is trying to prove that the reason warranting these gambling reforms is to protect UK consumers. The stakes are high, because under European Union treaties an EU state is not allowed to create a regulatory system that would work in parallel with the EU law. Now that the EU Action Plan’s Expert Committee report finally seems ready to push for its own broad pan-EU legal framework, British regulations could create unnecessary confusion.

This is why Mr Stephens is holding on to any threads and claims that public security concerns have yet to arise, but his committee is diligently working to identify any risks. What he tries to prove is that the reform’s main purpose is to create a more transparent set of rules aimed at protecting customers. The fact that tax hikes are likely to happen should be dismissed as a side effect, but the Department of Culture Media and Sport is not pursuing the regulation solely for boosting taxes.


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