This article was produced by Olswang LLP, which joined with CMS on 1 May 2017.
As reported in our previous update Ofcom's consultation on its proposal to re-classify TV gambling channels as teleshopping services closed on 19 March. Ofcom has now indicated that no decision is expected until Autumn.
It is understood that Ofcom originally saw this reclassification as something of a "tidying-up" exercise, designed to make broadcasting and gambling regulations consistent. The short time frame and nature of the consultation was due to what Ofcom had seemingly believed was the limited impact of this matter. However, a number of issues were apparently raised during the consultation that required further consideration and legal input and as a consequence Ofcom does not believe that the implications of this reclassification are quite as straightforward as previously thought.
Ofcom also seems keen to maintain a distinction between gambling channels (which are transactional with free entry - via the internet or by local rate phone call - and make their money through the actual gambling) and participation TV (which make money via premium rate services). Its approach is to try to ensure that any decision in relation to one type of channel will not impact the other.