The much anticipated draft Gambling Act was published for consultation at the beginning of this month.
The consultation period will run to the end of August. In parallel the licensing framework, including fee categories and codes of conduct, will also be provided for consultation. These latter documents will come from the Gambling Commissioner who has a relatively wide discretion to set out the secondary legislation, which may prove to be the critical element when considering Gibraltar.
This will be the first of many posts from me on this topic as the consultations unfold and the debate begins.
However, we need to go back in time to over six years ago when the initial concept of a new gambling law was raised as a much needed instrument to create transparency, a level playing field and to embrace the shift from local server infrastructure to a cloud-based one.
Since then, the Brexit bombshell was dropped with major potential repercussions for the jurisdiction. However, Gibraltar, as always, has weathered the storm and whilst some operators decided to move to Malta to service their EU customer base, the majority stayed and just opened secondary hubs in Malta. A prudent move now given the Malta FATF grey-listing and knock-on effect to payment processing, banking and increased compliance enforcement.
The Gibraltar government and regulator worked with the industry to find practical solutions to relax some of the rigid Gibraltar presence requirements, especially around the technical infrastructure, whilst preserving their monitoring and supervisory capabilities. This has evolved into Part 4 of the draft Act which allows for a much more holistic approach to meet sufficient substantive presence requirements, factoring in offices and people in a proportionate way to type and size of operation.
Gibraltar infrastructure providers such as GibTelecom have, to their credit, embraced this change and developed their own cloud hybrid solutions to balance out presence requirements with a cheaper, better and globally viable and competitive service.
In fact, as a huge over-simplification, I would say that the new Act and the anticipated codes of practice and licensing framework that will come with it, are all very pragmatic and proportionate. Something that cannot be always said about new gambling legislation, especially as we anticipate the outcome of the UK's gambling review.
I conclude by saying that understanding not only the key regulatory but also practical aspects of gaming regime changes is crucial intelligence to all in the gaming ecosystem of operators and suppliers.
Here at Ince, we've teamed up with Amber Gaming under a JV arrangement to develop a digital platform called InceSight, which provides regulatory and practical analysis of the international gaming landscape. InceSight contains critical content provided from expert gambling lawyers from around the world, with 31 jurisdictions currently published, and growing. Jurisdictions are updated monthly and rated according to difficulty of each aspect and type of gaming product.
I'd urge you to visit InceSight's website to find out more or to contact me directly.
The Act will introduce a new regime for the gaming industry which is “modern, innovative and fit for purpose” for the next generation of gaming business.