UK government rejects lawmakers call to treat crypto like gambling

The United Kingdom government has rejected a proposal made by the U.K. Treasury Committee to regulate crypto retail trading in the same way it oversees gambling, stressing that it “firmly disagrees” with the Committee’s stance. 

A panel of British lawmakers called for regulating the crypto market in the country similar to gambling in a May 17 House of Commons Committee report. The Treasury Committee said that the crypto investment activity is consistent with the principle of “same risk, same regulatory outcome.”

U.K financial services minister Andrew Griffith, in a response on July 20 to the committee, rejected the proposal and said that the HM Treasury firmly disagrees with the “Committee’s recommendation to regulate retail trading and investment activity in unbacked cryptoassets as gambling rather than as a financial service”.

In the U.K. all forms of gambling are governed under the Gaming Act of 2005. Businesses including bingo halls, lotteries, betting shops, online bookmakers, and casinos are under scrutiny in an effort to curb compulsive gambling and implement anti-money laundering measures. 

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The government response noted that such an approach has the potential to completely counter the globally agreed recommendations from international organisations and standard-setting bodies. The British government belive the committee’s recommendations can potentially create unclear and overlapping mandates between financial regulators and the Gambling Commission.

The government added that they are already working on regulating the crypto market and a proposed regulatory legislation was laid before parliament and debated last month. Talking about setting standards for the crypto industry and crypt firms, the government noted: 

“HM Treasury and the FCA will work with the industry to ensure crypto firms are made fully aware of the standards required for approval at the FSMA gateway. Further communications will be provided in due course to ensure standards for approval are clearly available to crypto firms operating in the UK. “

The government also said that this legislation may come into force by late 2023 while stressing that the committee’s recommendations were also taken into consideration.

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