ICE: Williams reveals flood of incomplete applications for UK licensing process

ICE: Williams reveals flood of incomplete applications for UK licensing process

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Jenny Williams, the chief executive of the UK’s Gambling Commission, has revealed that 90 per cent of the applications received for the new Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 were submitted incomplete.

Williams, speaking at the World Regulatory Briefing at ICE Totally Gaming at the ExCel in London, admitted that many operators had found the process to be “complex”, but added that there had been no “show-stopping” issues.

“Despite nearly 90 per cent of the applications being incomplete, they are going through,” Williams said in an interview with John Hagan, a partner of Harris Hagan.

“We don’t ask for information that we don’t need, so we can’t be satisfied with an application if they are incomplete.

“I do accept it was a complex process and it involved a range of different operators, but the vast majority of these people were trading in the UK already.

“Although we consulted extensively in the run-up, we’ve all learnt from the process.

“Perhaps in terms of explaining what we were after, we could have done that better, but you learn through dialogue.”

Williams admitted that it was a learning experience to delve into the UK gaming industry’s supply chain network. However, she denied that there are any imminent plans to take the process a step further by licensing affiliates.

“There are no plans at the moment to start licensing the affiliates. Never say never, but not at the moment. I don’t think it would be proportionate,” she added.

“We require all our licensees to take responsibility for their contractors.

“We learned a lot in the run-up to implementation, particularly about the complexity of the supply chain and the marketing world with regard to affiliates and below-the-line advertising.”

Despite the challenges, Williams is convinced that the implementation of the Act has led to a better industry in the UK.

“Now there is the ability to respond to emerging risks and changes,” she said.

“Now it’s very easy to see whether you are dealing with a licensed operator, and therefore much easier for the likes of advertisers and payment providers.

“Additionally, it has helped to bring the licensing objectives more to the fore than they had been in the past, while it is helping the responsible operator by helping to stop illegal competition.”

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