On 14 June 2021 the UK Government issued its response to a consultation by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (“DCMS”) in relation to proposals to increase the fees which are payable by gambling operators in Great Britain to the Gambling Commission (the “Commission”).
The Government’s response set out that the consultation had proposed an increase in fees in order to enable the Commission to continue to “recover its costs and address regulatory challenges”.
The Government confirmed it intends to proceed with implementing the proposals outlined in the consultation, which were to:
- increase annual fees for remote operating licences by 55% from 1 October 2021;
- increase all application fees by 60% from 1 October 2021;
- make other changes to simplify the fees system, including removing annual fee discounts for combined and multiple licences, from 1 October 2021; and
- increase annual fees for non-remote operating licences by 15%, with implementation of these increases delayed until 1 April 2022.
The Government also confirmed that two minor amendments will be made to fees regulations:
- to “ensure fees regulations are consistent with the provisions of UK GDPR and the Information Commissioner’s Office’s guidance”, no variation fee will be charged where individuals exercise their right to have inaccurate personal data rectified; and
- the fee for an application for a Single Machine Permit will be increased, from £25 to £40, “to ensure that the Commission recovers its costs in processing these applications”.
The Government’s full response can be viewed here.
The Commission released a response to the Government’s confirmation of an increase in fees, stating that it “welcomes publication of [the] consultation response on the funding of gambling regulation”, and clarifying that the much needed changes to its fees income “will enable [us] to continue to regulate effectively”. The Commission’s response can be viewed here.
What does this mean for licensees?
As set out above, in addition to a significant increase to licence application fees, remote licensees will be required to pay considerably higher annual fees to the Commission from 1 October 2021. Notably, the increase in annual fees for non-remote licensees will be delayed until 1 April 2022, to account for the Government’s recognition of the impact COVID-19 restrictions have had on the non-remote sector. The Government’s response sets out that:
The majority of non-remote operators are required to pay their annual fees in August or September each year, meaning that the new annual fee levels for much of the non-remote industry will not be due until August 2022.