The United Kingdom is on the brink of passing a new Criminal Justice Bill that would grant the Gambling Commission (UKGC) additional powers to request the blocking of unlicensed gambling websites. The bill has already made significant progress, having passed its first and second readings and is now being debated before undergoing a third reading. If approved, the bill will then move on to the House of Lords for further discussion before being signed into law.
Under the proposed bill, the UKGC would have the authority to request IP and domain name providers to block access to websites that violate or have the potential to violate British law. This would be a departure from the current voluntary suspension model, which has proven to be ineffective, especially for websites operating outside of the UK. The new bill aims to empower agencies like the UKGC to apply for court orders, even against foreign companies.
Minister Chris Philp, the United Kingdom’s Minister for Policing, emphasized that the bill represents a crucial step in cracking down on unlicensed operators and crypto casinos that are stealing market share from legal competitors and disregarding requests to cease their illegal activities. He also stressed that the bill would contribute to the overall effort to combat online crime.
In related news, the UKGC recently imposed a £6 million fine on Gamesys for violating the country’s social responsibility and anti-money laundering protocols. The commission found that Gamesys had conducted inadequate customer due diligence and was excessively reliant on third-party regulation. Additionally, ongoing discussions about gambling reforms, particularly the controversial affordability checks, have sparked concern among bettors who fear an infringement on their privacy. The UK Petitions Committee will be addressing a recent petition against affordability checks in the near future.
Overall, the impending Criminal Justice Bill in the United Kingdom signifies a significant shift in the regulation and oversight of the gambling industry, with the potential to impact both domestic and foreign operators.