Britain’s opposition party demands licence reapplication for all UK firms

Tom Watson MP online UK Licence reapplication
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In a further escalation of its position on gambling, the opposition Labour Party has called for all online operators in the UK to be forced to reapply for their licences.


Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson made the hardline request in a letter to both the Culture Secretary and Gambling Commission after another four firms were fined a total of £4.5m for failing to comply with their licence commitments.

In the letter Watson cites Gambling Commission statistics which claim up to a third of all licensees are not meeting these requirements.

“This review would be an opportunity for existing remote licence-holders to reapply for the privilege of operating and marketing in the UK,” Watson wrote.

“We need checks on their financial probity, the identity and character of their owners, the contributions they make to the research, education and treatment of problem gambling, the partnerships they have with our sports clubs, and any recent breaches of licence conditions.

“A UK gambling licence should be a hallmark of credibility and trust – not an opportunity to push the limits of conditions and responsibilities.”

This is just the latest in what is becoming a long list of initiatives from Watson, and which Labour are using to pressure the weak Conservative minority government, while vowing to implement themselves if in office.

Other proposals include the voluntary levy paid for research and treatment be made voluntary, and upped to hugely significant one percent of yield. Earlier this year Watson also called for a “culture of limits” where online games and stakes are regulated similarly to retail machines such as FOBTs.

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