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UK GAMING ACT DEADLINES
The British Government has published details of how it proposes to implement the new system of regulation contained within the Gambling Act 2005 and transfer the regulation of existing operators to the new system.
Under the proposals, applications to the Gambling Commission for new operating licenses will be accepted from January 1, 2007, and applications to licensing authorities for premises licenses will be accepted from January 31, 2007. However, existing operators will need to ensure that their applications for new licenses are made before April 27, 2007 in order to benefit from ‘continuation rights.’
The government is also adamant that all secondary legislation made under the Act will be passed by the end of 2006, including conditions that must be attached to any operating or personal licenses granted by the Gambling Commission. Secondary legislation will be laid before parliament in or around July.
Existing licenses or permits held by operators that expire before September 1, 2006 will, if renewed, only be effective until August 31, 2007. Those that expire after September 1, 2006 will be automatically renewed until August 31, 2007. In order to continue to operate without interruption from September 2007, the operator will have to apply to the Gambling Commission, between January 1, 2007 and April 27, 2007, for an operating license – where applicable, a personal license – and where applicable, apply to the relevant licensing authority, between January 31, 2007 and April 27, 2007 for a premises license under the Act.
For new betting and gaming operators, apart from operators of bricks and mortar casinos, applications for licenses or permits under existing legislation will only be accepted until April 27, 2007. Any license or permit granted under existing legislation will only have effect until August 31, 2007.
Advance applications under the new legislations should not be made before submitting an application under existing legislation.
Operators wishing to start operating before September 2007 need to obtain a license under existing legislation before April 27, 2007 and then, in order to operate from September 1, 2007 onwards apply to the Gambling Commission between January 1, 2007 and April 27, 2007 for an operating license or apply to the relevant licensing authority, between January 31, 2007 and April 27, 2007 for a premises license under the new Act.
The final application date for consent under existing legislation for new bricks and mortar operators is expected to be April 28, 2006 and any consent granted will only have effect until August 31, 2007.
In order to operate a new casino from September 1, 2007 onwards, an applicant will need to apply for a casino operating license under the Act, and applications may be made from January 2007. The operator will also need to apply for a premises license but not until Parliament has specified which local authorities are permitted to issue licenses for the 17 new casinos allowed under the Act.
Irish gaming clubs under threat
IRISH Justice Minister Michael McDowell is planning to shut down gaming clubs in Ireland.
McDowell claims that many casinos are operating under the guise of private members’ clubs, and has vowed to close them. “Casinos are illegal in Ireland. All commercial clubs where unlawful gaming takes place are illegal in Ireland,” he said.
The 1956 Act prohibits the types of gaming carried out in casinos and an inter-departmental review of the Act completed in 2000 proposed that casino-type gambling should not be provided for.
“A number of places now are posing as casinos, under the rubric of private members’ clubs, and it’s my intention to make sure the law is full enforced against all of them. They are all illegal.”
He added: “I’m going to close them all down, by using the law and amending the law if necessary; the Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956.” McDowell was responding to claims from the Financial Action Task Force that it was a ‘matter of concern’ that private gaming clubs operating ‘casino-like facilities’ were not included in any new anti-money laundering legislation. The online gambling industry in Ireland has been pressing for new legislation, which many believe is long overdue.
Gaming clubs operate as members’ clubs, under which everyone entering them becomes a member. Most do not charge a membership fee. There are estimated to be more than 10 such clubs in Dublin and at least two in Cork.
Licensing barrister Constance Cassidy SC said that it was’ open to the minister’ to amend or update the 1956 Act and bring it into line with the National Lottery Act 1986
* An agreement has been approved by the New Mexico Government Commission of the Legislative Chamber to stop the granting of licenses to operate to operate casinos in Mexico.
The GCLC approved an agreement to ask the Mexican Department of the Interior (SEGOB) to stop granting licenses to operate casinos as long as the National Supreme Court (SCJN) determines if the gaming rules are constitutional or not.
President of the commission, Julian Angulo Gongora, said that it would be ‘politically correct’ if the commission accepted the recommendation of the chamber, especially as the debate was first initiated when the former head of the SEGOB, Santiago Creel Miranda, granted licenses to open poker while the bill was still being discussed in court. The legality of the licenses granted in May 2005 by Creel Miranda is still being investigated.