British Casino Association Obtains Judicial Review

In an attempt to ensure UK casino gambling regulation is uniformly enforced, the British Casino Association (BCA) has instigated a judicial review of the 2005 UK Gambling Act’s provisions for awarding seventeen new casino licenses. Giving a voice to existing casinos who feel they are getting the short end of the stick, the BCA is questioning the fairness of grandfathering arrangements in the Act.

The BCA represents the interests of over 90% of the casinos in the United Kingdom. Having already gauged how existing casinos would fare under the terms of the Gambling Act, the BCA has concluded that the Act gives extra privileges to the seventeen new casino licensees, but does nothing for existing operators. This inequality, says the BCA, threatens the future of existing operations, and gives unfair advantages to new operators who could end up putting established casinos out of business.

Interestingly enough, the British government may very well be on the side of the BCA. A judge has approved their application to have the government, or rather, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell (who approved the UK Gambling Act to begin with), to reassess the grandfathering arrangements in the Act. The BCA is essentially hoping that Jowell will update the Act to include grandfathering clauses allowing existing casinos to reap the same benefits that new operators will have, thus putting all casinos, old and new, on the same playing field.

A three-day hearing is now scheduled to precede the induction of the Gambling Act in September of this year. It has been confirmed that the hearing will certainly take place before May 25 so that any legislative changes will have time to be drawn up. At this stage in the game, it looks like the BCA may end up getting at least some favorable changes made. Why these were left unchecked to begin with is a good question for Secretary Jowell.