Insights Government publishes response to consultation on proposals to increase fees payable by gambling operators to the Gambling Commission

In January 2021 the DCMS announced a consultation on proposals for an uplift to Gambling Commission fees. It received a total of 24 responses from trade associations, licensed gambling operators, members of the public, academics and representatives of the House of Lords (Peers for Gambling Reform).

The Government has decided to make a 55% increase in the fee bands for annual operating licences for online operators to take effect on 1 October 2021. Fee bands for land-based operators will increase by 15%, to take effect on 6 April 2022 in recognition of the impact that COVID-19 closures have had on these businesses.

The Government says that the increased fees, which were last revised in 2017, will help the Gambling Commission respond to new risks and technological developments, as well as the increasing cost of its existing regulation.

The revised fee structure will also help it to address areas for improvement identified by the National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee, such as improving its use of data and intelligence, and ensure effective regulation of the gambling industry.

The uplift in fees will also provide the Gambling Commission with greater resources to tackle new challenges, such as product and payment innovation, the Government says. This new structure will mean that the Gambling Commission is better equipped to deal with the changing landscape of the gambling industry which has become increasingly global in nature. The regulator will also be better placed to address the risks associated with unlicensed operators and the need to protect consumers and the industry from “black market” encroachment.

In addition to the rises to fee bands for annual operating licences, all application fees will increase by 60% and discounts for being licensed for multiple activities will be removed.

The Gambling Commission has welcomed the increase in its fees.

The consultation and Government response is separate to the ongoing Review of the Gambling Act 2005, which is looking at the Commission’s powers and resources to ensure the regulatory framework around gambling is fit for the digital age. To access the response in full, click here. To read the Gambling Commission’s response, click here.