Gibraltar instals local presence requirement for licensees

Gibraltar instals local presence requirement for licensees

Gibraltar recently published a draft version of its new Gambling Act for consultation, including a remarkable requirement for casino operators to have a “significant substantive presence” in the country. This requirement is part of a set of objectives.

The new Gambling Act introduces 5 objectives for the regulation of online gambling in Gibraltar. The gambling authority in Gibraltar is highly popular among foreign operators, having led to a very strong presence of off-shore casino brands in the southern European country. Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory with its own gambling licence.

Five key pillars of the new Gambling Act

The five objectives that are now part of the regulation are:

  1. Preserving confidence in (online) gambling markets.
  2. Player protection, including vulnerable users.
  3. Promoting “fair and responsible” gambling.
  4. Preventing links between gambling and criminal activities.
  5. Public interest and reputation of the country of Gibraltar.

The first objective suggests a rather holistic approach to the igaming sector, rather than allowing authorities to “sectionalise policies and regulatory requirements into one sole objective without the need to think too hard about how this might affect others”.

Licensees required to instal themselves in Gibraltar

In terms of the final objective, Public interest and Reputation, according to industry experts, Gibraltar has shown its integrity as a delivery location rather than moving towards the “grey” part of the spectrum. These new rules are intended to make notable changes to licensing. While licensing and regulatory bodies will continue to form separate entities in the country, it introduces an important requirement that licensees should have a “significant substantive presence” in Gibraltar once the law gets adopted.

The definition of this rule will make quite an impact on foreign online casino operators that are not yet located in the country and will need to adapt their presence to the new requirements. According to local authorities, this specific rule was chosen in order to allow the Minister for Finance – who also acts as the licensing authority – more flexibility “in relation to equipment location, amongst others”

Factors that are part of this requirement include the “nature, extent, purpose and usage”  of land based equipment in the country of Gibraltar, the “number and nature of job positions to be created and kept” and the amount of tax revenue paid in Gibraltar.

The gambling bill also includes different “entry conditions” that all licenced online operators will need to meet. These are all related to the conduct of activities, the suitability of the company owners, responsible gaming, crime prevention, and the location of the branches.

“The core concepts are pointed towards standards and suitability, and having a presence in Gibraltar,” the local government added. “These are the main criteria both for obtaining a licence and, on a continuous basis for decision making by the licensing authority to consider either issuing or revoking a licence.”

The new gambling law originates from an initial report released in March 2016 with a critical view of Gibraltar’s licensing and regulatory policies. A stakeholder consultation on the new Gambling Act is now open for discussion, allowing everyone who is affected to come with their input on the gambling bill. It will last until 31 August 2022 at the lastest, but the Gambling Division of the Gibraltar Ministry of Finance has communicated it will try to stimulate “early consideration of the material”. After the consultation is done, the gambling bill will be introduced in the Gibraltar Parliament.

About Casino Licences

Online gambling is not regulated by the NZ government, but players of 18 years and older are allowed to play at offshore websites. Most casino sites that are available in New Zealand hold their licences in Europe, with the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association, and the UK Gambling Commission being the most sought after authorities.  Casino operators that want to offer crypto casinos tend to obtain their licences in Curaçao that is also in the process of reforming its licences.