The United Kingdom is in the process of passing the Criminal Justice Bill, which would give the Gambling Commission (UKGC) enhanced powers to request the blocking of unlicensed gambling websites. The bill has already passed its first and second readings and is currently being discussed before undergoing a third reading. If approved, it will then move to the House of Lords before being signed into law.
Under the new proposal, the UKGC will be able to request IP and domain name providers to block access to websites that violate British law. Currently, the commission must request such actions under a voluntary suspension model, which has proven to be ineffective for sites located outside of the UK. The goal of the bill is to empower agencies like the UKGC to apply for court orders, which can be served to foreign companies.
Chris Philp, the United Kingdom’s Minister for Policing, believes that the new rules will allow the UKGC to crack down on unlicensed operators and crypto casinos. He stated that these measures are necessary to address foreign companies that are stealing market share from legal competitors and refusing to cease their unlicensed activities. The minister hopes that these actions will also help to tackle online crime as a whole.
In related news, the UKGC recently issued a £6 million fine to Gamesys for violating the country’s social responsibility and anti-money laundering protocols. The commission found that Gamesys conducted inadequate customer due diligence and relied too heavily on third-party regulation. Additionally, the UK is currently discussing gambling reforms, including controversial affordability checks that have generated opposition from some bettors who believe the measures would infringe on their privacy.
The Criminal Justice Bill and the potential implications for the gambling industry are part of a broader effort by the UK to address unlawful gambling activities and ensure compliance with gaming regulations.