According to a report in The Guardian newspaper this weekend, the events of Black Friday by the United States may aid British Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt in his review of the online gambling industry.
According to the report, Secretary Hunt is looking for a way to better protect British players, while overhauling the rules companies must play by, and further restricting the advertising of casinos by offshore operators. Under current regulations, offshore companies are able to operate in the UK without being licensed by the country's UK Gambling Commission, as long as they are licensed by approved foreign regulatory bodies.
Black Friday is playing a major role in this decision according to the story, with a ministry spokesman saying that Full Tilt Poker's recent woes are a prime example as to why the industry needs to be looked at more closely. With the pending close look by the British Culture Secretary, companies such as Full Tilt and PokerStars will definitely be under the microscope, and how they have handled themselves may have a lot to do with how the Secretary views the industry as a whole when it comes to regulation.
Full Tilt recently had its license in Alderney pulled, effectively shutting down its operations for the time being. Rumors have been swirling in recent days that foreign investors are looking to buy into the company, with the intent of paying back funds to US players and opening the site to poker once again.
PokerStars in contrast has emerged in a better position than Full Tilt, paying back American players and seeing itself largely unscathed in the aftermath of Black Friday.
PokerStars, licensed in the Isle of Man, faces tighter regulations than companies with licenses in other jurisdictions. Asked by the Guardian if it applies a "fit and proper" test to license applicants, Isle of Man Chief Executive, Steven Brennan said, "The GSC thoroughly checks and vets every director and key official of any online gaming company ... It has the authority, and has used it, to turn down any company where it feels the company or the owners could bring the island into disrepute."
The UK Government often has the right intentions but ends up making a hash of things like this. That said I totally agree that things need to be above board for players, so if this is what Hunt is proposing then I'm all for it, Whether it will make a difference or not remains to be seen.