According to a draft published for consultation last week, Gibraltar's new Gambling Act will require licensees to have a local presence. Operators must be able to demonstrate a "sufficient substantive presence" in the territory under the provision.
The Government of Gibraltar issued a Command Paper on the draft bill, and a consultation period began on May 31. Gibraltar's Gambling Division will consult with the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association during the period, which will last until the end of August 2022. It would be the first major revision in 17 years, succeeding the Gambling Act of 2005.
The new gambling law aims to achieve a number of goals, including the preservation of market confidence, consumer protection, responsible gambling promotion, and the prevention of gambling-related crime, among others. The government is thought to be trying to improve the credibility of its gambling industry by introducing more regulation.
However, many people have noticed the changes to licensing that will be implemented, as licensees will now be required to demonstrate a "sufficient substantive presence" in the jurisdiction. It is the most significant change to the licensing system. Licensing and regulatory agencies will continue to operate independently, as they do now.
Albert Isola, Gibraltar's Minister of Finance, will be the licensing authority in the territory. The rule's wording is designed to allow for flexibility in its implementation, including consideration of equipment location and other related matters in determining "sufficient substantive presence."
The nature, extent, purpose, and use of equipment in the jurisdiction, as well as the number and nature of jobs to be created and maintained, are all part of these requirements. One of the factors used to determine a licensee's presence in Gibraltar is the amount of tax revenue paid.
In addition, the new bill establishes a number of licensing criteria, including business conduct, owner suitability, responsible gambling, crime prevention, and office location.
The new gambling act is the result of a 2016 report that examined Gibraltar's licensing and regulatory regime. The bill will be introduced in Parliament after the consultation period has ended.
"The current Gambling Act has been long-lasting, but the nature of the sector has changed and it needed to be modernized to ensure that Gibraltar remains one of the main gambling centers for companies increasingly operating in more jurisdictions," said Albert Isola, Minister for Digital and Financial Services.
The Act will establish a "modern, innovative, and suitable" new regime for Gibraltar's gaming industry, which contributes significantly to the jurisdiction's economic stability by housing a large number of operators who generate millions of dollars in revenue each year.
While the bill will give regulators more flexibility, it also includes legal appeal rights and attempts to modernize the industry. The Minister for Digital and Financial Services has the authority to draft regulations, and the Commissioner for Gambling has the authority to issue codes, according to the law. A new Gambling Appeals Tribunal will also be established.
The Government of Gibraltar has stated that "in due course, the Gambling Division will issue a licensing framework and fees document and codes of practice, including a social responsibility code, for consultation."
By fLEXI tEAM