Gambling, Gaming and Betting Law Team

The gaming and gambling law team at Joelson have many years of expertise working with a wide range of remote and land based gambling operators, both in the UK and overseas.

The team is recognised, both nationally and internationally, as one of London and the UK’s leading firm of solicitors catering for the needs of remote and non-remote gambling operators.

We have a long track record of assisting businesses of all sizes, from start-ups to multi-national operators with their legal requirements, providing a highly-tailored, personal service.

We have recently assisted a number of operators in relation to operating licence reviews instigated by the Gambling Commission.

We also advise on gambling advertising, the CAP/BCAP Codes, product promotions, social responsibility measures, age and ID verification and anti-money laundering procedures.

As experts in this area, we advise not only on licensing and regulatory issues, but also on corporate transactions involving the gambling sector.

We are often called upon by leading City law firms to provide input on commercial transactions which require our specialist gambling knowledge.

In short, we know the gambling sector.

Our areas of expertise include:

If you are looking to enter the UK remote gambling market, why not read our insightful Q&A, prepared by our highly-ranked gambling team.

A: You will have to budget for the Gambling Commission application fee and also the annual fee, which in the first year of being licensed is payable 30 days after the grant of the licence. Fees are assessed on the basis of anticipated GGY (gross gaming yield) and a new start-up would normally select the lowest fee band for each activity. An online operator would be applying for a remote licence only. Remember that you may need to budget for legal fees, particularly if you need to have terms and conditions drafted. The Gambling Commission fee can be calculated here.

A: Applications for a licence can be made online using the Commission’s application online portal. There is a long list of documentation required, including company incorporation documents, internal policies and procedures (e.g. AML policy, disputes policy), terms and conditions, business plan, customer walkthrough and three years profit and loss projections. The Commission will want to investigate the company and those individuals funding and running it, to ensure that crime is kept of out gambling.

A: It normally takes around 16 weeks for the licensing process from submission of the application to the grant of a licence. However, bear in mind that you may need significantly more time before submission to prepare the paperwork required. If you choose to engage a lawyer, Joelson has significant experience of this process and can guide you through making an application.

A: No, but it is advisable to make sure you are applying for the correct licence and to streamline the application process.

A: The Commission regularly updates the conditions and codes applying to operating licences. Further details of current LCCP (conditions and social responsibility requirements operators must comply with) can be found here.

A: This depends on the size of the company and its type of operation. Smaller operators can benefit from a “small scale operator” exemption, which means that there is no need for the management to have Personal Management Licences (PML) if the company has three or less people in key management positions. Above that size, the individuals involved will also need PML’s. Details about the small scale operator exemption can be found here.

A: Yes, there is no need for the applicant to be registered in England & Wales. International entities can apply for an operating licence, although this may make the application process more complex and costly.

A: Wherever in the world operators are based, they must register, submit returns and pay duty relating to gambling by UK residents. There are different types of duty payable dependent on activity and the rate is currently 15% of gaming profits. Registration should be completed at least 31 days before commencing business (14 days for UK and EU entities). Further details can be found here.  Please note that Joelson does not advise on duty/tax liability for gambling operators, but we can put you in touch with a specialist advisor.

A: This is a complex area, which requires advice on a case by case basis. Generally if winning is totally dependent on skill and there is no chance involved, then it may be possible to avoid the product falling into the definition of “gaming” under the Gambling Act 2005. However, certain activity which does not fall within the definition of “gaming” could still fall within the definition of “betting” or a “lottery” and would therefore require a licence. It’s a criminal offence to provide facilities for gambling without a licence so it’s really important to take professional advice about whether the proposed activity is lawful. Payment providers, banks and others will want to know that the activity is legal before dealing with you.

A: Yes, gambling software used by consumers in Great Britain must be produced by a Gambling Commission licensed software developer. The licensing procedure is similar to that for a gambling operator.

A: The software must comply with the Commission’s remote gambling and software technical standards (RTS). Further details can be found here.

A: Operators must have their own written complaints and disputes procedure which will set out how they will deal with complaints. In the event that a dispute cannot be resolved, operators are required to engage an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) entity to adjudicate on disputes. This service must be free of charge to customers. A list of the current approved ADR providers can be found here.

A: Payment must only be accepted by a method where the provider is a “payment service provider” under the Payment Services Regulation 2009. This generally means that the payment service provider will need to be licensed by the FCA in Great Britain or a similar body within Europe.

A: The High Street banks in the UK are not keen on providing bank accounts to gambling operators. This is particularly the case with new start-ups. We are investigating ways in which this situation may be resolved using other types of disruptive banking technology. You should not assume that obtaining a bank account will be straightforward and even once you are licensed, you may not be able to open a bank account.  It is a requirement that at the very least, customer funds are kept in a separate account. Click here for more details on levels of financial protection for customers of BG licensed operators.

A: Speak to us. Please contact Richard Williams on 020 7580 5721 or via e-mail richard.w@joelsonlaw.com to discuss your specific situation. Please note that any advice given and in particular written advice (i.e. where you wish to rely on it) will be chargeable.

The information contained in this Q&A is correct as at June 2018. It does not constitute legal advice and is a simplified version of the legal requirements. As such, you should not rely on the information provided, as it may not be appropriate for your situation. Please request specific advise about your situation from us before taking any action based on this information. 

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Gambling, Gaming and Betting Law Team