“U.K. online casinos will undoubtedly benefit from the country’s long history of gaming regulation.”
Proposed changes to gambling legislation in the United Kingdom may make this the place to operate an online casino. And some of the big names in the betting industry are getting ready to seize the opportunity as soon as it’s available.
This past spring, the British government legalized Internet sportsbooks and it looks like online Situs Judi Bola casinos are next in line to get official support. The government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Gambling Review Body earlier this month recommended that online gambling be legalized in the U.K.
Gambling has been legal in Britain since 1968, but like the U.S., there is no existing legislation that specifically deals with Internet wagering. And while the British government didn’t shut down online sportsbooks or casinos, it did impose a hefty betting duty that drove virtually every casino and sportsbook offshore. Operators set up shop in Gibraltar, Malta, and the Caribbean in order to minimize the amount of tax they were forced to pay.
As a result, the U.K. lost out on hundreds of millions of pounds of revenue. But the British government finally came to its senses and legalized online sportsbooks earlier this year. It also scrapped the betting duty, thus offering yet another incentive for the sportsbooks to come home.
And if this new online gambling report gets governmental approval, it looks like casinos will be able to come home as well. There won’t be a casino free-for-all, however. Stringent regulations will be imposed on both returning casinos and new ventures. Operators will have to be registered as a British company, locate their web servers in Britain, and use U.K. web addresses (URLs that end with .co.uk) for casino sites.
Other restrictions will also limit casino advertising in the U.K. to licensed operators, and will require all sites to provide users with information on problem gambling. More importantly, a gambling commission will be created to test and inspect online gaming systems for fairness.
The prime jurisdiction in the U.K. for online gambling will likely be the Isle of Man, located off the western coast of central England. The Isle of Man recently chose three casinos to test its proposed gambling regulations and services; that list of casinos has not been disclosed to the public.
Interestingly, Las Vegas casinos are also keeping an eye on things in the U.K. Internet gaming was recently given a tentative green light in Nevada, but it will be several years before anyone places a bet at a Vegas online casino. Big players like Las Vegas Sands Inc. and MGM MIRAGE have been eyeballing the U.K. option to ensure that they don’t get left out in the cold. But whatever happens, neither company will do anything that might jeopardize their Nevada gaming licenses.
U.K. online casinos will undoubtedly benefit from the country’s long history of gaming regulation. According to Bear Stearns’ recent gaming report, the U.K.’s “highly sophisticated land-based gaming industry offers the most potential for a successfully regulated Internet gambling environment.”
What’s more, the online casino industry and subsequent regulatory efforts in Britain will more than likely be spearheaded by U.K.-based industry heavyweights William Hill, Ladbrokes, and Stanley Leisure. These companies have moved, or are in the process of moving, their sportsbooks back to the U.K. and can be expected to relocate their casinos as soon as this legislation is formally approved.
The British government has wisely decided that it would be better to bring betting companies back to the U.K. and regulate online gambling rather than ban it. The result will be a safer gaming environment for players and tax revenues for the government that could be worth hundreds of millions of pounds for government coffers – even without the betting duties.
In the end, any plan to legalize Internet wagering is a smart business decision that will benefit everyone involved – no matter how you slice it.