Gibraltar Set to Update Its Gambling Act from 2005

Posted on: June 2, 2022, 05:36h. 

Last updated on: June 2, 2022, 10:59h.

Gibraltar is ready to update its gambling laws, the first big update in 17 years. The government of Gibraltar announced on Wednesday that it has issued a Parliamentary Draft concerning the proposed repeal and replacement of the Gambling Act 2005.

Gibraltar from the south. The British territory is updating its gambling laws after 17 years. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Gibraltar relies heavily on gambling operations for economic stability. The British territory, Spain’s southern neighbor, is home to a number of operators that provide millions of dollars in revenue.

It’s now time for them to catch up with the latest evolutionary cycle in the gaming industry. Gibraltar is giving them, as well as other industry players, a chance to preview what’s coming, publishing the draft on the government’s website.

All Input Welcome

The consultation period will last until the end of August. The Gaming Division will contact those consulted through workshops and direct representations, in addition to receiving and analyzing written submissions.

The Act will introduce a new regime for the gaming sector that will be “modern, innovative, and suitable.” It will prepare operators and the entire market for the next generation of gambling businesses in an environment that is constantly changing and that bears no resemblance to what it was in 2005.

The new regulations will redefine the activities that require a license. It will also reinforce the importance of companies operating in Gibraltar to have a solid “foundation” in the territory.

Work on this Act began before Brexit. However, while the UK figured out how to separate itself from the European Union (EU), the government suspended the reform. Negotiations halted again when the COVID-19 health crisis forced the Government of Gibraltar to set new priorities.

The current Gambling Act has been long-lasting, but the nature of the sector has changed and it needed to be modernised to ensure that Gibraltar remains one of the main gambling centres for companies increasingly operating in more jurisdictions,” said Minister for Digital and Financial Services Albert Isola.

Authorities in “The Rock” have already discussed the updates with all companies in the Rock sector. In recent face-to-face meetings with all companies, they encouraged the entities’ representatives to consider the bill. They also asked for their opinions on the principles and substance of the project.

Clarified Gaming Control

This Act will be a more flexible set of regulatory powers, but offset by legal rights of appeal. It maintains the distinction between the Minister as the Licensing Authority and the Commissioner for Gambling, but provides a legal basis for the Gambling Division and its staff.

The new laws will modernize the industry. It gives the Minister for Digital and Financial Services, Albert Isola, the authority to draw up regulations. The draft hints that the final legislation will also likely include language restricting where gambling equipment can be located.

The Act also gives the right to the Commissioner for Gambling to issue codes, in particular in the field of consumer protection. In addition, it will create a new Gambling Appeals Tribunal, something the Mansion Group may wish was already in place.

The gambling law review began six years ago. However, completing the reform was a monumental challenge. Industry players need to weigh in now in order to help ensure the final draft provides a fair and proportionate response to the changing ecosystem.