Changes to UK gambling regulations means that from October if you a bookmaker or casino wants to take bets from a UK based customer, they need to be regulated by the Gambling Commission.
This is just the starter of a wider change involving point of consumption taxation which will come into effect in December and impact the betting industry as a whole.
After months of speculation as to whether this would make a difference to the sites available to UK customers it seems we're getting our answers as a number of sites have announced they are closing to UK traffic, and there are probably more on the way.
What is it that's scaring these bookmakers and casinos away from the UK market? There are two main factors, and increase in tax on betting companies, and changes to the way operators will be regulated.
In terms of regulation, the Gambling Commission (all be it backed by changes to the gambling act 2005) requiring all bookmakers and casinos to have a UK licence if they're taking UK customers. These changes are for the protection of customers in the UK; but given how the Commission have overseen the demise just this year of Canbet, Bodugi and BetButler it seems that they might not be offering all they claim in terms of protection.
In addition there are taxation consequences of taking UK customers that had previously been avoided by basing a the bookmaker offshore. The so called point of consumption tax will impact many offshore companies, but they're going after the bookmakers and casinos first, probably easier than taking on google or amazon! Details of the tax change are on the HMRC website, but they're too dry for this post!
On the subject of licencing, governance, regulation and why these changes are being made, in their own words the Commission have said:
The amendments (Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act)) are expected to come into force on 1 October 2014. Offshore gambling operators – currently regulated overseas but transacting with consumers in Britain – wishing to continue to provide services in Britain beyond this date have until midnight (Greenwich Mean Time) on 16 September to make an application and pay a fee to ensure their business is not impacted. Licence applications must be made through the Commission’s website.
The Act will ensure that all remote gambling operators offering services to consumers in Britain are subject to consistent regulation and will bring the 85% of the remote gambling market in Britain currently regulated overseas within the Commission’s remit. This means that the Commission will be better placed to protect players and to respond to and advise the government on emerging player protection and consumer risks and issues.
I've recently written about the death of matched betting, but there's always another offer that comes along and whilst there might not be as much low hanging fruit, there is certainly still money to be made.
If you're still after a casino fix, 32Red will remain open to UK customers. As it's the most decorated casino in online history, they're also a pretty safe bet for your gaming. And there's a £10 no deposit bonus to get you started.
The primary concern for matched betting and advantage play is the variety of sites you need to keep the bets flowing and the income coming in. With less sites at your disposal there's less cash for new starters, but it also makes gubbing an even bigger issue as you can't afford to lose sites.
If the net is indeed closing in the next couple of weeks and months, there's never been a better time to get through as many sign up bonuses as you can for casinos and bookmakers.
I'll post again when there's some interesting movement, but to get all the latest information you're best joining The Gambling Times and their twitter feed @TGT_Official. I do this as and when, they do it all the time.