Matthew Hancock MP was delighted to see the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill pass through the House of Commons.
The Bill, passed on November 27, will amend the 2005 Gambling Act to require the licensing of offshore gambling operators by the Gambling Commission.
Currently eighteen of the twenty largest bookmakers operate their online businesses from offshore.
This avoids UK consumer protection regulation and up to £300 million per year in tax.
This Bill, alongside measures in the Finance Bill, will bring about a new ‘point of consumption’ approach to remote gambling taxation and regulation.
This will level the playing field between smaller independent bookmakers as well as those large companies which have chosen to remain in the UK, and those companies who have moved their operations offshore.
The skills minister introduced a Private Member’s Bill earlier this year which sought to address this issue and is delighted that the Government has taken action to close this loophole.
However, whilst welcome the Bill does not address another long standing problem with the offshoring of remote gambling operations; the decline in the Horseracing Betting Levy.
The West Suffolk MP believes this issue still needs addressing urgently and welcomes the Government’s commitment to finding a sustainable funding solution for the industry.
Mr Hancock said: “I am thrilled that the offshore Gambling Bill was passed unanimously – we need a level playing field here in the UK for small, independent bookmakers and UK punters need to be safe in the knowledge that the bookies they are using are properly regulated.
“However, the racing industry is still losing vital Levy payments to offshore operators.
“We still need to find a sustainable funding model for the future of racing and I hope the Government will move to reform the Levy sooner rather than later.
“The move to tax and regulate bookmakers on a point of consumption basis is an important step in the right direction.”
For all the latest news see Thursday’s (December 12) Echo.