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2016 Promises to be no different to 2015 in terms of new regulations and inspections

On the 6th June 2016 we will be holding a seminar at the Hippodrome Casino Leicester Square from 10am to 1pm which will cover a wide range of topics for land based gambling operators. The main theme of the seminar will relate to the fact that 2015 was a pivotal year for the industry in terms of regulation and enforcement action and there is no suggestion that anything is going to change in 2016.

On the 11th of April 2016 we saw the publication of a new strategy aimed at tackling gambling related harm over the next three years with the National Responsible Gambling Strategy setting the basis that all operators and regulators will need to follow. The Gambling Commission have reported the publication of this strategy on their website and referred to the comments made by Sir Christopher Kelly who is Chairman of the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board: “the overarching aim is to minimise gambling related harm. Gambling related harm goes wider than the harm experienced by those identified as problem gamblers by existing screening tools – it can also effect the families of gamblers, their employers, their communities and society more widely.”

This strategy is on the back of the local based risk assessments that were introduced in April 2016 and followed some detailed investigations into casinos and betting offices during 2015/2016. If you have not already undertaken a risk assessment then you should do so immediately and you should ensure that you include on the risk assessment any local factors which may be relevant to the licensing objectives. Rob Burkitt from the Gambling Commission is quoted on their website as confirming this: “if there is a gambling premises adjacent to a bus stop which is used by college or school students between, say 3/5pm, the premises should ensure that staffing levels are adequate to mitigate the risk of underage access. If there is a gambling premises close to a homelessness hostel, the operator would ensure that they have staff awareness training to ensure that homeless customers are not putting themselves at risk of harm.” Rob has very kindly agreed to speak at our seminar on the 6th June.

I will be watching closely during the next twelve months to see where the focus of the Gambling Commission moves following its investigations in London and in particular in the casino sector in the last 48 months. I suspect that their focus will move on to other sectors of the industry such as bookmakers and bingo operators and I would also like to see the Gambling Commission producing some guidance in particular relating to anti money laundering policies during the next year or so. This may or may not coincide with the LCCP Prime Consultation Review although it is unlikely to coincide with the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 which I suspect will be pushed back to Autumn 2017. The fourth Anti Money Laundering Directive took effect on the 26th of June 2015 and EU countries will have two years from that date to implement the rules contained in the Directive International Laws. This will apply to a whole range of businesses including financial institutions and the rules will have to be complied with by businesses involved in making or receiving cash payments of a certain amount. The member states will have to prove that they have taken appropriate steps to identify, assess and mitigate anti money laundering risk.

I’m hoping that by the time our seminar takes place on the 6th of June we will have more information on the above. If you have not already signed up or would like to come please contact me at