Although the government of UK has requested Internet Service Providers (ISP) all over the country to introduce pop-ups to warn Internet users attempting to access offshore online poker rooms that the sites are unregulated, the ISPs have refused to do so.
UK ISPs have expressed unwillingness to behave like “Internet police” for the UK government.
They have made it quite clear that they will obey the government only if it furnishes laws or court orders.
The UK government is bothered about offshore online poker rooms because it is required to solve the problem of residents gaining access to unregulated offshore online poker rooms if it wants to get the support of regulated and licensed UK online gambling companies for its Gambling Licensing and Advertising Bill. This law is meant to grant licenses to all gambling companies serving UK online poker players, irrespective of where they have their headquarters.
For example, if Betsson, a company licensed in Malta and based in Stockholm, wants to offer online poker services to UK residents, they will have to first get a license from the UK Gambling Commission. Companies such as 888 Poker, which is licensed in Gibraltar; Bodog, which is licensed in Canada; and PokerStars.fr will also have to get a UK gambling license in order to continue accepting UK players.
Almost all UK online gambling companies comply with the regulations of the UK Gambling Commission, but the new law includes a 15 percent tax on gross gambling revenue generated by UK gamblers.
Spain has already imposed a huge portion of the licensing fees and tax rates on the players, which is taken from them through a larger rake percentage. For instance, PokerStars.es charges 5.15 percent rake at its cash games while PokerStars.co.uk charges only 4.5 percent. This usually leads to poker players leaving regulated and licensed sites and opening accounts at offshore online poker rooms. The UK government wants to avoid this at all costs.
UK online gambling companies feel that the new law will not work as the UK Gambling Commission has no power over the Internet. A UK Gambling Commission spokesperson said:
We have been exploring the internet service providers’ approach when faced with clear evidence that sites are unlicensed and engaged in illegal activities. At this stage, we are just exploring back-up options as we do not expect illegal sites to be a major issue given the attractiveness and width of the legal offer.