According to a draft of the new Gambling Act, just published by Gibralter, operators with licences from the jurisdiction will be required to have a local presence on the British Overseas Territory on Spain’s south coast.

The draft has been published for consultation and requires gambling licence holders to have a “sufficient substantive presence” in the territory.

Broadly speaking, the draft law introduced five objectives for the regulation of gambling in Gibraltar: “preservation of confidence in gambling markets,” protection of consumers, particularly vulnerable people, promoting “fair and responsible” gambling, preventing links between gambling and crime, and the public interest and reputation of Gibraltar.

The five objectives read more like overarching principles, suggesting that a more holistic approach towards the sector will be taken by authorities.

Licensing

The draft text also considers changes to the licensing process. Licensing bodies and regulatory bodies will continue to function separately, additionally, a requirement is being introduced that require operators or licensees to have a “sufficient substantive presence” in Gibraltar. It is being reported that the wording of this clause has been chosen in such a manner to allow the Finance Ministry, which acts as the licensing authority, the flexibility required related to operational specifics on a case-by-case basis.

Factors to be considered when assessing substantive presence by operators will be the “nature, extent, purpose and usage” of equipment in Gibraltar, as well as the “number and nature of jobs to be created and maintained”.

The amount of tax revenue paid will also factor in.

The draft bill includes thresholds all operators must fulfil to be licensed in the territory, relating to the conduct of their business, the suitability of ultimate beneficial owners, responsible gambling, crime prevention and the location of an organisation’s offices.

“In other words, the core concepts are standards and suitability, and having a sufficient substantive presence in Gibraltar,” the Gibraltar Government said. “These are the criteria both for the grant of a licence and, on an ongoing basis, for an own initiative decision by the licensing authority to consider revoking or varying a licence.”

Regulation

Onto the supervisory powers of the Gambling Commissioner, the draft bill echoes the approach taken by Gibraltar’s Financial Services Act, creating a “common regulatory framework, and professional understanding and expertise across regulated economic activities with similar statutory regulatory objectives.”

Stakeholder consultation for the bill is now open, allowing those wishing to provide their feedback until 31st August to do so. Authorities are encouraging early consideration of the material.

“The Gambling Division will also be holding workshops and consulting with the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association,” the Government added. “However, where there is an appetite, meetings with sub sectors and individual companies can be arranged. 

“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.”

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