Gambling operators to see new changes to fee structure in 2017
A new fee structure is coming into force for UK-licensed online gambling operators during 2017. The majority of operators will see a discount while a number will see an increase in their fees.
The UK Gambling Commission along with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport have been working together on a consultation, with the results being posted on the UK Gambling Commission website. The commission was developed around the proposed change to the structure of the license fee present in UK gambling law which will come into play on April 6th 2017.
As a result of changes made to the Gambling (Licensing & Advertising) Act 2014 which came with a 15% online point-of-consumption tax against all revenue received from UK players, the consultation was launched.
There were three main changes that the commission preferred, despite many options being provided. The first is a reduction of 10% in total annual fee income in an attempt to mirror the productiveness that was achieved in the operating costs of the commission. This saw a drop in fees for almost 2,000 operators with the current levels remaining in place for 1,000 operators.
Less than 100 operators would see a fee increase as a result of ensuring that the costs of the commission are recovered so that it is in proportion with the amount of gambling that is carried out with those operators. These operators could experience fee hikes of as much as 140% from the level they are currently at. While the 20 largest operators could be hit with an extra annual payment of £164,000 or around 0.05% to 0.1% of gross gambling yield. For those operators that will be obtaining an online license for the first time, they will receive a discount of 25% on their fees for the first year.
There would also be a preservation of a fee category structure, although the categories would be based on the gross gambling yields as opposed to the premises number for bingo, arcade and betting operators.
Finally, there would be a sub division that would consist of a number of fee categories in smaller bands. This would ensure that businesses would share the regulatory costs while also ensuring an equitable cost recover.
As well as the above changes, the UK Gambling Commission also have plans to introduce a new Game Host licence that will be for B2B suppliers that host their own games through B2C remote casino or bingo sites. The current regime requires suppliers to hold both a B2B license and a B2C licence. With the new Game Host license would come lower fees than those currently seen associated with the licenses for casino’s and bingo.