Despite the fact that the proposed UK point-of-consumption based remote gambling tax is still causing controversy, a report came this week from a British government official that the infrastructure supporting such a policy could be ready for implementation as early as April 2014 - eight months earlier than estimated.
Namely, DCMS senior official Jonathan Stephens sent a written brief to parliamentarians considering the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill, pointing out that the progress in developing the p.o.c. tax is very fast, and noting that depending on parliamentary time schedules, and assuming that the bill secures a third reading, it should be possible to "...commence the new arrangements at the earliest by the common commencement date of April 2014 or, more likely, October 2014; slightly earlier than December 2014 which was mentioned during the evidence session.”
Furthermore, in his brief, Stephens repeated his previous opinion that he is not competent to speculate on the legality of the new secondary licensing and taxation proposals in terms of EU law, however, he did reveal that the UK government’s implementation of the new remote gambling law is not only driven by taxation motives.
He then went on to say that these changes are aimed at providing necessary and proportionate improvements to consumer protection for British citizens, and it appears that this is how he plans to defend the law – referring to the principle that a Member State is allowed to make such changes where it can show that it acts in the interests of its citizens, and not for purely tax raising motives.
On the way of the controversial bill will stand a number of organizations, operators and jurisdictions, one of which is the Gibraltar Gaming Association, which has already raised half a million of pounds sterling to fight the implementation of the new law.
Another one is Malta, whose government has already lodged an objection to the UK law with the European Commission which is supposed to review the law soon.