The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is planning to advise the government to amend the current fees regulations, in order to take account of the significant changes in the population of operators that it regulates and to address identified problems in the current fees structure.
The UKGC is therefore developing its advice to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The commission issued the below statement:
“While the timetable for any review is a decision for the Secretary of State, the Commission considers that the earliest any such a review could start would be towards the end of this year, once we have the first full year’s data post the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 and therefore a clearer picture of the immediate impacts those changes to remote gambling regulation have had on the Commission’s costs and income.”
Detailing further insight, the purpose og the discussion is to explain its approach to recovering costs through licence fees, and how current thinking on fees structure can be improved, with the implications of the 2014 Act on UKGC costs, income and therefore on the fees needed to recover those costs; and to invite comments to help the commission prepare advice to the government.
The UKGC hopes that, by providing greater transparency about the way in which governments set about determining the fees needed for full cost recovery, stakeholders will be able to feed in any suggestions or proposals for improvements at this formative stage.
The fee structure has come in for constant criticism from smaller operators, who feel that it unfairly penalises. For example for the LBO licensing the top threshold is 200 shops, even though there are four operators with more than 1,200 shops, making their licensing costs per shop extremely low compared to the smaller chains. Ironically it is the loss of this smaller operator base (mainly due to rising costs) along with other industry consolidation that is causing the Commission to look again at its fees structure.