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How the new Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 can aid the fight against match-fixing

Feet and football
Thursday, 23 October 2014 By Thomas Barnard

The Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 (the “Act”) will come into force on 1 November 2014.1  It is hoped that the Act will offer at least some assistance in combating match-fixing in sport, and this article seeks to explain why and how that may be achieved, before looking at whether that is in fact likely to be the case.  It also looks at the role of the Gambling Commission (the “Commission”) under the new legislation.


The key provisions of the Act

The Act introduces several key provisions to the Gambling Act 2005, as follows:

  1. A requirement that remote operators (i.e. those operating outside of Great Britain) hold a UK operating licence in order to provide gambling facilities to customers in Great Britain.
  2. A requirement to hold a UK operating licence in order to advertise gambling facilities in Great Britain. Previously, operators based in the European Economic Area, Gibraltar and ‘white-listed’ jurisdictions (Alderney, Isle of Man, Tasmania, Antigua and Barbuda) did not have to obtain a licence.
  3. A requirement that remote operators pay gambling duty on UK revenue in Great Britain, regardless of where the operation is domiciled or has its seat of administration for tax purposes. The duty is currently 15% of gross gambling profits on all transactions with customers whose usual place of residence is in the UK. This is introduced by the Finance Act 2014.2

Following the commencement of the Act, only gambling operators licensed by the Commission will be permitted to advertise to consumers in Great Britain.3 Carriers of gambling advertising, such as sports clubs and governing bodies, will need to ensure that they only partner with licensed operators for their activities in Great Britain. Likewise, remote gambling operators will only be able to supply services to customers in Great Britain if they are licensed by the Commission.

How will this combat match fixing in sport?

So far as combating match-fixing is concerned, the Act may assist in two ways:

  1. It requires overseas operators offering facilities in the UK to obtain a licence from the Gambling Commission. This brings with it a responsibility to report suspicious activity; and
  2. It will generate revenue from bets placed in the UK with overseas operators.

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Written by

Thomas Barnard

Thomas Barnard

Tom is a Senior Associate Solicitor specialising in commercial litigation and sports law. He acts for a wide variety of high-profile athletes, including cricketers, footballers, gymnasts and cyclists.

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Comments (1)

  • Ben Paterson

    • 24 October 2014 at 16:18
    • #

    On the face of it I can see why you would think the above mentioned measures might assist in the battle against match-fixing. In reality the opposite is true.

    The one card that the European Union had/has to combat match-fixing was to try to build on the barely existing relationship with Asian operators who were licensed in the Isle of Man in order to take bets and, most importantly to them, implement sponsorship deals. Without their assistance it is impossible to begin tackling the problem. All this act has done is distance the UK with the Asian bookies and further regulate an already airtight part of the industry. These measures are nothing more than some kind of propaganda in support of maximising tax revenues - all at the cost of the UK gambling public who now have significantly reduced options when placing their bets.


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