UK Gambling Commission Hits Operators with Fee Increase

UK Gambling Commission fees.

UK Gambling Commission announces a number of changes in 2017, including a change to operator fees. (Image: combiboilersleeds.com)

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is ringing in 2017 with some changes, but not all the updates will please members of the betting industry.

Following a consultation between the UKGC and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the regulatory body has announced a change to its fee structure for operators.

In addition to consulting with the government on the proposed changes, licence holders were also given the option to comment on the proposals.

With all the responses in and the consultation complete, the UKGC recently announced that from April 2017, fees across the board will change. According to the data, around 1,900 operators will see a reduction in their fees, while 1,000 licence holders will stay at the same level.

It’s Not All Good News

However, for 75 operators, the new rules will mean they have to contribute more each year in order to maintain their licence. The reason for the change in fees is to counteract recent increases in operational costs and to ensure that everyone bears an equal amount of financial responsibility.

“Take account of the significant changes to our costs and income following the implementation of the Gambling (Licensing & Advertising) Act 2014.

Reflect the efficiencies we have achieved in our expenditure and reduce the overall fee burden across the industry by over 10 percent.

Ensure that our costs continue to be recovered on a proportionate basis from different types and sizes of operator.

Address other issues identified in the current fees structure,” reads the official press release.

While some operators will be upset at the UKGC’s latest move, the regulator is hoping its new look site will please everyone else. In an effort to improve its service to operators, industry insiders and UK bettors, the UKGC has overhauled its site.

As well as improving the onsite search functionality, the organisation has also removed any old data that is no longer relevant so that users can get faster access to the information they need.

Horse Racing’s Media Disappointment

In other UK gambling news this week, the dispute between British horse racing venues and bookmakers came to a head on January 9. Following a long running disagreement over payments between the two factions, betting shops across the UK saw a TV blackout.

With racecourses and bookmakers unable to agree on the right price for media rights, betting shop customers were unable to see live coverage of the day’s races in shops belonging to the likes of William Hill, Paddy Power and Ladbrokes. On top of TV coverage in betting shops dropping, industry insiders are concerned about ITV’s new racing shows.

Back in 2016 the broadcaster won the rights to screen British horseracing after a bidding war with the industry’s long-time partner, Channel 4. Many suggested at the time that a switch would cause viewing figures (and, therefore, revenue) to drop and these fears have, so far, been confirmed.

Although ITV’s New Year’s Day coverage peaked at 831,000 viewers, ITV4’s subsequent broadcasts have averaged an audience of 325,000 which is almost 100,000 fewer viewers than Channel 4 received. While there is still time for the ratings to improve, this issue certainly won’t help the media issues currently plaguing the horse racing industry.

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