Licence fee amendments good news for operators

Coinslot - Fee amendment operators
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New legislation amending fees for gambling operators has been announced, and will come into force from 6 April, 2017.


Following a joint consultation process by the Gambling Commission and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport last year on the fees structure for operating licences, the Gambling (Operating Licence and Single-Machine Permit Fees) Regulations 2017 No.303 will come into force from in April.

The changes make generally positive reading for operators in the country. The regulations will bring about alterations to the categorisation of fees for several operating licences. Most notably, fees for nonremote bingo, general betting, adult gaming centre and family entertainment centre operating licences will be now be categorised based on annual gross gambling yield (GGY), as opposed to the previous metric of the number of premises operated under the licence.

The fees for non-remote casino operating licences granted under the Gambling Act 2005 will also be re-categorised based on annual GGY, instead of the size of the premises.

The Gambling Commission have said that the introduction of the changes should result in an overall decrease in the fees paid by operators, forecasting fee reductions for around 1,900 operators, while fees will be held at their current levels for around a further 1,000, and around 75 will be subject to an increase.

It has been reported that the move from premises based fee categories to GGY will shift the fee burden away from the smallest of operators, that generate comparatively low yields, towards high street operators and chains. The commission’s justifications for such actions lies in a belief that a switch to a GGY fee-basis represents a much fairer, proportionate, system for all involved.

In the commission’s view, an increase in gambling volume may, for example, generate more consumer complaints and regulatory issues such that, when an individual operator’s GGY increases, more compliance work will be required. The commission will use operators’ most recent annual regulatory return (or the previous four regulatory return submissions for operators who submit returns quarterly) in order to allocate operators to a fee category based on GGY.

The Regulations will also introduce four new ‘host’ sub-categories of remote operating licence; casino (game host), bingo (game host), general betting (host) (real events) and general betting (host) (virtual events). These new subcategories are aimed at gambling software licensees who also provide facilities for gambling by making their range of games available directly to customers online.

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