UK Gambling Commission Demands 15 Percent Tax for Sport

Nick Tofiluk, Director of Regulatory Operations of the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), wrote to sports governing bodies last week regarding the relationship between these sports organisations and un-licenced remote gambling operators.

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The United Kingdom Gambling (Licencing & Advertising) Act, which officially went into effect last Saturday, requires all remote gambling sites with British customers to get a UKGC-approved licence. Operators with the licence are subject to a 15 percent point-of-consumption tax and regulations to stifle corrupt betting practices.

Some sports organisations still maintain commercial agreements with un-licenced operators, which is a concern for the UKGC.

“Those operators cannot in our view advertise their betting services without both making it clear in the product as advertised and in reality that betting is not available to those in Britain,” said Tofiluk.

The letter then discusses the two major risks both the sports organisation and the operator entertain by having a partnership.

“The risk of committing offences by virtue of an unlicenced third party sponsor failing to prevent consumers based in Great Britain from accessing its services,” explained Tofiluk, is the first risk. All advertising done by the sports organisation for the un-licensed operator needs to make it clear that British citizens cannot use the website.

“The impact on the overall effort to combat match fixing through corrupt betting of promoting
unlicenced operators in foreign markets,” said Tofiluk, is the second. Sports organisations who partner with un-licensed operators risk making themselves complicit with corrupt betting practices.

Both the operators and sports clubs can be specifically liable under Section 330 of the Act, especially if the latter provides a website link to the former.

The UKGC has discussed the option of using blocking technology to block British customers from using un-licenced betting websites, but also admitted that such technology is not often reliable.

Several sports clubs still partner with un-licenced sites such as the Philippines-based SBOBet, and these warnings put those partnerships in peril.