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UK LEGAL COMMENT


Gambling regulation in Great Britain – what’s changing in 2020?


Northridge Law partner Melanie Ellis focuses an analytical eye on the UK for the year ahead


T 32 JANUARY 2020


he past decade has seen a dramatic change in the regulation of gambling in Great Britain, from the early days of the Gambling Act 2005, though point of consumption licensing in 2014 and increasing levels of regulation in the fi nal few


years of the decade. We’re unlikely to see an end to this pattern in 2020 and operators would be wise to keep an eye on when certain changes are likely to come into effect.


AML: The fi rst red circle on the calendar is not Brexit, but the rather less publicised implementation of the EU’s 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive into UK law, which will happen on 10th January. The Gambling Commission will update its guidance to casino operators on the same date. It has stated that it appreciates operators will need some time to implement changes to their procedures, but expects them to “have acted promptly, invested appropriately (if technology is required to accommodate the changes) and implemented changes with the requisite urgency”. Some of the key changes to the law which may affect gambling operators include: • Cryptocurrency wallets and exchanges will be subject to the Money Laundering Regulations from 10 January 2020 and will need to be registered with the FCA by January 2021. One benefi t should be a reduction in the Commission’s concerns that crypto deposits carry a money laundering risk.


• Enhanced due diligence on customers from high risk countries will need to include obtaining senior


management approval to the transaction, in addition to obtaining information on the customer’s source of funds and source of wealth.


• Groups of companies must ensure their AML policy includes provisions regarding the sharing of information about customers, customer accounts and transactions between group companies.


Credit cards: The Commission’s consultation on proposed restrictions to the use of credit cards for online gambling closed on 6 November 2019. The Commission intends to publish its response to this in January, which will reveal whether online operators will need to prevent customers from using credit cards for online gambling, or alternatively impose additional restrictions (such as one credit card per customer and delays before they can gamble with credit card funds) when they do. If the credit card ban does turn out to be the preferred option, it will also mean operators cannot accept deposits from e-wallets, unless they can establish that the e-wallet deposit was not made with a credit card. The new LCCP provisions to put the changes into effect will most likely come into force in April.


Brexit: Although Brexit doesn’t have a great track record of punctuality, as the Government has now passed the EU withdrawal bill it is looking likely that the UK will exit the EU on 31 January. Online operators based in Gibraltar may experience disruption, with staff members travelling across from Spain likely to be subject to delays at the border. Brexit


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