Last Tuesday, numerous interesting exchanges were produced as the second hearing on the Draft Gambling (Licensing & Advertising) took place. At this hearing, Jennifer Williams, representing the Gambling Commission of the UK, and Jonathan Stephens, representing the DCMS, faced members of the parliament.
MP Philip Davies, the industry veteran, shared his opinion on the matter by saying that this new law, which is looking forward to implement secondary taxation and licensing on the offshore online gambling operators who offer their services in the UK market, is a nervous decision by the UK government. He said that the UK government is choosing to add more tax revenues by implementing these taxes instead of using proper regulations in order to protect the UK consumers. He also added that if this is truly the case, then the UK government might find itself facing problems with the EU law that is concerned with online gambling. According to the EU law, the governments of the member states have the ability to pass laws that would controlinternet gambling. This can only be permitted if these laws are needed in order to protect the interest of the public provided that these laws are not disproportionate or discriminatory against anyone. The MP added that there is a great chance that the law will be challenged in the court of law and said that the motives of the government will be questioned.
Jonathan Stephens has denied repeatedly that the government’s objective was to increase the taxes for more revenue but MP Philip Davies was not convinced. He responded and said that from a regulatory point of view, this law is basically a solution that is seeking a problem that did not exist. He said that there are no public protection risks that have raised that would cause the government to take such actions. He said that the government gets two illegal advertising cases per year. He said that all of this shows that the main objective behind this law is to generate tax revenues.
Despite the response of MP Philip Davies, Jonathan Stephens held his ground and he kept insisting that the motivation of the government is to protect the public consumers through this bill. He added that the litigation against the law would not postpone its implementation that is expected to happen in December of next year.