UK iGambling Sites Weigh Their Options Ahead Of Legislation

UK iGambling Sites Weigh Their Options Ahead Of LegislationThe UK’s new ‘Gambling, License and Advertising Bill’ will take effect on October 1st, with the piece of legislation designed to overhaul an online gambling market over run by sites operating from offshore locations such as Gibraltar, Malta or Antigua. Over the years, the situation has led to the UK government missing out on millions of pounds in potential revenues, but within the next few weeks the very same companies will need to obtain a UK gambling license and pay a 15% tax on their profits if they are to continue operating in Britain.
Naturally, a number of operators have responded negatively to the new legislation, such as Mansion Poker and 12bet, which have already signaled their exit from the UK iGaming market, with other companies including Winamax and TurboPoker currently weighing up their options going forward. As well as concerns on how the new bill will affect their bottom line, there are also are number of hurdles these operators will need to clear before even being granted a UK license. For instance, any business applying for a license must not generate more than 3% of its iGaming revenues from unregulated ‘grey markets.’
Meanwhile, popular gambling sites such as PokerStars, Full Tilt, partypoker, 888Poker, Paddy Power, William Hill, Ladbrokes, and Bet365 are expected to apply for licenses in order to remain part of a lucrative UK internet gambling industry worth around £2.5 billion ($4.26bn) last year.
However, these companies will have to address their increased costs by altering their fee structures accordingly. PokerStars, for instance, moves over to its new PokerStars.co.uk domain on October 1st, and said it would subsequently reduce its VIP Club reward program compared to its dot-com offering. PokerStars, however, was keen to highlight the experience of its customers will remain unchanged, with a PokerStars statement, stating:
“The PokerStars U. K. site will continue to share all games and player pools with the PokerStars.com site. Due to the new regulations, the auto-rebuy feature will not be available on the U. K. site for either cash games or tournaments. All other software features and game experience will remain the same.”
In spite of its new licensing and tax regime, the UK iGaming market will still be one of the most competitive in the whole of Europe, with tax rates significantly lower than other regulated markets such as France, Spain, Italy and Denmark.

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