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UK E-Gaming White List Good For Gibraltar

by Robert Lee, Tax-News.com, London

15 August 2007


Gibraltar is set to benefit from tough new regulatory standards due to come into force in the UK for e-gaming websites, with at least two major gambling companies reportedly moving or considering moving their operations to the jurisdiction.

The UK's Independent newspaper has reported that William Hill Casino is in the process of transferring its online business to an approved jurisdiction meeting the new UK standards, while other reports have suggested that Betfred has already applied for a licence to operate from Gibraltar.

Last week, James Purnell, UK Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, announced that up to one thousand online gaming companies based outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) will be unable to market their services in the UK unless they relocate to a territory within the EEA, or one elsewhere which automatically meets the rigorous new licensing regime designed to stop children gambling, protect vulnerable people, keep games fair and keep out crime.

The EEA comprises all member states of the EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. It also includes Gibraltar, which is already a well established e-gaming domicile, and home to the likes of of 888.com and PartyGaming. Research suggests that there are around 2,300 gambling websites worldwide, with the largest domiciles including Antigua & Barbuda (537 sites), Costa Rica (474), Kahnawake (Canadian Reservation) (401) and the Netherlands Antilles (343). While the UK is still considering whether Antigua should be included on the 'white list,' the other jurisdictions have been effectively blacklisted, meaning that Gibraltar could see an influx of companies anxious to be located within the EEA. The only other offshore territories to have made the white list are the Isle of Man and Alderney.

A spokesman for William Hill confirmed to the Independent that its online business would be moving to an EEA territory by September 1, when the new licensing regime goes into effect, in order to gain exemption from the advertising ban, although company press chief Graham Sharpe declined to confirm to the Gibraltar Chronicle whether Gibraltar is its preferred domicile.

A comprehensive report in our Intelligence Report series examining offshore e-commerce and online gaming is available in the Lowtax Library at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/subs_reports.asp and a description of the report can be seen at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/description_report6.asp

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