New Licensing Requirements and Credit Card Ban in the Works for UK Bingo Sites

The US has taken a prohibitionist stance against internet bingo and online gambling in general. While online gaming is not in and of itself illegal banks, credit card companies and online payment processors are prohibited from processing any gambling related transactions. This has had the effect of sending American players to less than reputable casinos and forcing them to use unreliable payment processors. In the United Kingdom it is different. Players at bingo sites enjoy a high level of protection thanks to the UK gambling commission and other regulatory bodies including the European Union.

Bingo is regulated in the UK by the Gambling Act of 2005. One of the regulatory bodies is The Culture Media and Sport select committee that monitors various issues for the House of Commons. In late may the committee launched an n inquiry into the implementation of the 2005 Gambling Act. Topics the inquiry will cover include problem and underage gambling in the UK and the proliferation of offshore gaming sites doing business in the United Kingdom. The inquiry will study what effect offshore gaming sites have had on the online gaming sector in the UK and what effect the gambling act has had.

Many online bingo operators believe big changes are in store for the industry. The new coalition government is taking a hard look at offshore gaming sites doing business in the UK. According to some sources a ban on advertising for offshore bingo sites is in the works. Many expect new licensing and taxation requirements for offshore bingo sites targeting the UK. Currently offshore bingo sites pay no taxes in the UK and the new government wants to remedy this oversight. Bingo sites licensed and located in the UK pay a tax rate of about 15% putting them at a competitive disadvantage with offshore sites that pay no taxes.

A ban on the use of credit cards may also be considered. Under current gambling law land based bingo clubs, casinos and betting parlors are prohibited from accepting credit cards as a form of payment. The coalition government wants to expand this policy to include online bingo sites and casinos. While the implementation of these policies would cause many short term problems many experts believe that the new requirements will be good for the online bingo industry in the long term. Should legislation be passed many offshore sites would probably go out of business because of the stringent requirements. So far no new measures have been implemented but action is expected later this year.

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