Antigua-Barbuda gaming operators will need UK licence

According to British Minister, John Penrose, the UK government proposes to introduce an expanded secondary licensing regime to encompass gambling operators irrespective of whether they are based in the UK or overseas.

At present, gambling operators who are licensed and regulated in European Economic Area (EEA) member states or white-listed jurisdictions (Antigua and Barbuda, Alderney, Isle of Man and Tasmania) are allowed to offer their services to British consumers.

However, the DCMS anticipates that the pending changes will not come into force until primary legislation has been amended in late 2012. Accordingly, until such time, the new policy will not impact Antiguan licensees, and the current ‘white-list’ status system will be upheld.

Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Finance, the Economy and Public Administration, Harold Lovell recognizes in principle the need for the British government to protect British consumers in a more consistent manner, to close the regulatory inconsistencies and to address shared concerns with respect to problem gambling.

The minister noted the UK’s intention to ensure minimal disruption to operators already operating in the British market by having a transition period. In particular, operators licensed in white-listed jurisdictions will be eligible for an automatic transitional license to prevent them having to cease trading. This intention will clearly avoid excessive cost, duplication of efforts and time to operators in Antigua.

Lovell is confident that the UK government and British Gambling Commission will continue to work with Antigua and Barbuda and other white-listed jurisdictions to maintain their confidence in the respective regulatory regimes, as Antigua cooperates with other jurisdictions consistent with recommendations of the Financial Actions Task Force (FATF).

Lovell anticipates that the Financial Services Regulatory Commission, particularly the director of gaming, Kaye McDonald, will continue efforts with UK counterparts and others in the International Association of Gaming Regulators technical working group in pursuit of a harmonized approach enshrined in international best practices.

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