Tom Watson demands thorough review into online casino licence holders

The UK Labour Party has emphasised that online casinos which received licences after 2014 should have to reapply for operating licences after it was found by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) that over one third of operators were asked to improve their standards.

The party’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, has penned a letter to both the UKGC CEO Neil McArthur and Jeremy Wright, the culture secretary, to question the integrity of many operators, most of which operate from outside of UK jurisdictions.

Watson, who has previously spoken out against the gambling industry, has emphasised that the UKGC cannot be in a position where it is constantly trying to catch-up with the industry. He stressed that a more structured, efficient response needs to be developed which will ultimately result in the overhaul of the register of current remote gambling sector licences.

In the letter, Watson shared with Wright and the UKGC CEO that he believes offshore operators should not be able to use their UK licences and British sports links as a marketing ploy in attracting new customers.

According to Watson, a gambling operator licence should be viewed as a sign for credibility and trust, and should not be used as an excuse for operators to push the limits of the licence conditions and the responsibilities they have.

In a recent investigation into the UK online casino sector, the UKGC had imposed £4.5 million in penalty packages on four online casino operators in relation to failed AML procedures and maintaining inadequate consumer safeguards.

Over the past 18 months, the UKGC has conducted assessments of 123 online operators – and of the 45 told to submit an action plan to raise standards, 38 have already shown signs of improvement.

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