GB licence fees to increase by up to 55% from October

| By Conor Mulheir
The UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has published its response to an industry consultation into the funding of the British Gambling Commission, approving measures to increase licensing fees for operators and suppliers in Great Britain.
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DCMS held a consultation between 29 January and 26 March this year, on proposals for changes to Gambling Commission fees which were put forward in order to allow the regulator to more effectively address regulatory challenges.

In its consultation document, DCMS argued that the Commission faced three major challenges. These are increased technological developments, the fact the operators the Commission regulates are typically very large global businesses, and the threat of black market unlicensed operators.

The consultation proposed an uplift in licensing fees, including an increase of 55% to annual remote operating license fees from 1 October 2021.

All new licence applications will face an increased cost of 60% under the proposal, while further steps to simplify the fees system such as a removal of the annual fee discount for combined land-based and online licences, were also proposed.

Non-remote operating licences are due to increase by 15%, however the implementation of this increase will be delayed until 1 April 2022 due to losses suffered by the land-based industry as a result of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The consultation response states that the government intends to proceed with implementing all of the proposals as outlined in the original consultation document, with two minor amendments to fee regulations to be made.

The response describes these amendments as a provision to be made for no variation fee to be charged in certain circumstances in order to ensure fees regulations are consistent with UK GDPR, and an increase in the Single Machine Permit fee from £25 to £40.

The changes to licence fees will be implemented by secondary legislation, and the first changes will come into effect on 1 October this year. These changes will be the increase to annual fees for remote operating licences, increases to all licence application and variation fees, and the removal of annual fee discounts for combined and multiple licences.

Increases to annual fees for non-remote operating licences will subsequently be introduced from 1 April 2022.

The Gambling Commission published its response to the findings today, stating that “we welcome this DCMS consultation response as it ensures much needed changes to our fee income that will enable us to continue to regulate effectively.”

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