Labour Party’s Tom Watson has recently addressed both the CEO of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) Neil McArthur and culture secretary Jeremy Wright, concerning the integrity of online casinos, many of which are currently operating from outside of the country’s jurisdiction.
This is not the first time that the deputy leader has spoken out about issues within the gambling industry, leading the Labour Party’s review into gambling legislation, and recently calling for tighter restrictions on in-game gambling.
The deputy leader, along with the rest of the UK Labour Party, has recently been calling for the overhaul of licences from all online gambling operators that have been failing their consumers. Watson has gone even further with this, urging for all online gambling operators to have to reapply for their licenses if received since the year 2014.
Watson recently spoke to The Times, and stated that “continually playing catch-up to an opaque and agile global industry” is not an option, and that “We need a structured response to the situation. This will require a total overhaul of our register of current remote sector licenses.”
In addition to this, Watson also stated that “A UK licence should not be used as a platform for offshore operators to use the reputation of British sport as a marketing tool for their own domestic audience, whereby the benefits of the UK market are enjoyed but nothing is given back to address the harm that is caused.”
This urge for an overhaul in online casino licences has been the result of last week’s major gambling news, in which the UK Gambling Commission fined four online casinos a staggering total of £4.5 million for failing its customers. This is part of a much larger investigation the UKGC are conducting into the online gambling industry, with 123 gambling operators already undergoing extensive investigations.
From these investigations, the UKGC have already banned five online operators from interaction with UK consumers and have revoked their licenses. Three of these companies were also made to pay out £14 million worth of fines for such failures as inadequately protecting their consumers from harmful situations and money laundering.
Executive director of the UKGC Richard Watson has remarked that “We have been working hard to raise standards in the online industry to ensure that gambling is crime-free and that the one in five people in Britain who gamble online ever month can do so safely. But our work will not stop here.”
Richard Watson has also claimed that the UKGC will “continue to set and enforce standards that the industry must comply with to protect consumers. We expect operators to know their customers and to ask the right questions to make sure they meet their anti-money laundering and social responsibility obligations.”
Over the UKGC’s 18 month-long investigation, 45 operators have been made to develop action plans to improve the way their sites are run. 38 of these 45 have already been showing signs of great improvement.
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