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Regulation

UKGC Gains IP Blocking Authority in Criminal Justice Bill – Boosting Anti-Illegal Gambling Efforts

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Are you concerned about the proliferation of illegal gambling websites in the UK?

The Gambling Commission (UKGC) is set to take a giant leap in the fight against illegal online gambling.

As part of the sweeping reforms brought forth by the UK’s Criminal Justice Bill, the UKGC is poised to gain formidable IP blocking powers.

This seismic shift promises to reshape the landscape of online gambling regulation and empower law enforcement agencies.

Dive into this expertly-crafted guide, where we unveil the key details of this groundbreaking development and its potential impact on the industry.

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Enhancing Law Enforcement in the UK: A Closer Look

The Criminal Justice Bill, a comprehensive overhaul of UK criminal law, is currently making its way through Parliament. This multifaceted legislation aims to equip police and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to combat various crimes effectively. Already, it has cleared its initial parliamentary hurdles and is progressing through the legislative process.

The Legislative Journey of the Criminal Justice Bill

At its core, the bill seeks to bolster law enforcement’s ability to suspend IP addresses and domain names linked to serious criminal activities. This will enable police and investigative agencies to seek court orders that require IP and domain name providers to block access to websites suspected of being involved in criminal operations.

IP Suspension: The Current Scenario

Currently, UK law enforcement can secure access to specific IP addresses through voluntary agreements with public and private partners. However, this voluntary suspension mechanism doesn’t always apply, especially when domains are hosted outside the UK. In such cases, foreign internet infrastructure providers typically act only when court orders are issued.

Expanding Jurisdiction with New Legislation

The proposed legislation seeks to bridge this gap by granting UK law enforcement agencies the authority to obtain court orders that can be served to entities located abroad. This expansion of jurisdiction will significantly enhance their ability to tackle criminal activities that transcend international borders.

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Empowering the UKGC: A Game-Changing Move

During a recent public bill committee discussion, Labour MP Carolyn Harris raised a critical question regarding the bill’s potential application against illegal gambling sites and crypto casinos. Minister for Policing Chris Philp responded affirmatively, emphasizing that the bill’s provisions would indeed apply to combat illegal activities.

Strengthening the Hand of UKGC

Furthermore, the bill includes provisions allowing a member of the Gambling Commission with a grade of executive director or higher to apply for court orders against individuals or entities suspected of criminal involvement. This measure, as highlighted by Philp, provides a robust tool for dealing with overseas entities that may not respond to polite requests but are more likely to act when faced with a court order.

Protecting Constituents from Online Crime

Chris Philp emphasized the bill’s importance in safeguarding constituents from online criminal activities, including fraud and illegal gambling. The newfound powers are expected to significantly aid the UKGC in its ongoing mission to clamp down on unlicensed gambling operators.

A Record of Success

The UKGC’s relentless pursuit of unlicensed gambling operators has yielded substantial results. With additional funding in 2021/22, the regulator achieved a remarkable 500% increase in enforcement actions against unlicensed operators in 2022/23. Furthermore, between May and July 2023, the UKGC successfully implemented geo-blocking measures to restrict access to four of the top 10 illegal domains in the UK, resulting in a 46% decrease in web traffic to the largest illegal sites in the market.

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This comprehensive update showcases the impending transformation of the UK’s online gambling regulatory landscape, offering insights into how these newfound powers are poised to make a substantial impact. Stay informed and prepared as the UKGC and law enforcement agencies gear up to combat illegal gambling with unprecedented authority.

Jerome, a valuable addition to the Gamingo.News team, brings with him extensive journalistic experience in the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry was sparked during his college years when he participated in local poker tournaments, eventually leading to his exposure to the burgeoning world of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now utilizes his accumulated knowledge to fuel his passion for journalism, providing the team with the latest online scoops.

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Legislation

Maryland Bill Seeks to Ban Online Gambling on College Campuses

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Maryland Bill Aims to Prohibit College Campus Gambling

As a seasoned gambling professional, staying abreast of legislative developments is paramount to understanding the evolving regulatory landscape. Maryland has recently garnered attention with the introduction of House Bill 1087, signalling a bold move to curtail online gambling activities on college campuses within the state. In this in-depth analysis, we delve into the intricacies of the proposed legislation, exploring its objectives, potential implications, and the broader implications for the gambling industry.

House Bill 1087, introduced in Maryland, seeks to prohibit online gambling on college campuses, underscoring concerns about the proliferation of gambling activities among students. The bill mandates the establishment of virtual perimeters, known as “geofences,” around college campuses to block access to online sportsbooks via cell phones. This proactive measure aims to mitigate the negative impact of gambling on campus communities and safeguard student welfare.

Under HB 1087, four-year public institutions, Baltimore City Community College, and local community colleges in Maryland are tasked with contracting geolocation service companies partnered with licensed sports betting operators. These institutions must implement the virtual perimeters by August 1, 2024, ensuring strict enforcement of the proposed ban on campus gambling. While the bill anticipates increased expenses for colleges, it asserts no revenue impact, emphasizing its primary objective of promoting a safe and responsible campus environment.

Despite the bill’s noble intentions, concerns have emerged regarding the practicality of enforcing geofences on college campuses. Towson University, a prominent public university in Maryland, has voiced apprehensions about the feasibility of implementing geolocation restrictions effectively. Challenges such as geolocation accuracy, mobile device settings, ethical considerations, and private network usage pose significant obstacles to enforcement, raising questions about the efficacy of the proposed legislation.

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Maryland’s foray into sports betting in November 2022 marked a significant milestone in the state’s gambling landscape, with ten operators, including industry giants like FanDuel and ESPN Bet, entering the market. However, the introduction of HB 1087 underscores a shift in regulatory focus towards addressing emerging concerns surrounding gambling accessibility and its potential impact on vulnerable populations, particularly college students.

As the debate surrounding House Bill 1087 unfolds, it prompts crucial discussions about the intersection of gambling, education, and regulatory oversight. While advocates argue for stringent measures to combat problem gambling and protect student well-being, critics raise valid concerns about the practicality and effectiveness of geofencing solutions. Ultimately, Maryland’s legislative initiative serves as a microcosm of broader efforts to strike a balance between consumer protection and industry growth in the ever-evolving landscape of online gambling regulation.

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