UK Online Casino Licensing and Regulation

Gambling in the United Kingdom has always been very popular. Since the emergence of the internet, the industry has become even bigger generating revenue in the tune of billions. Seeing that this is a very lucrative venture, there are numerous UK casinos on the market to offer their services.

Since not all online betting houses operate legally, the authorities had to come up with effective licensing and regulation laws as defined below.

What's Casino Licensing?

UK Casino Licensing and Regulation

An online casino license is a permit certifying that an operator is fully compliant with a set of requirements devised to regulate its operations. Licensing is very important in this industry as it ensures that betting establishments observe an official code of conduct including following strict social responsibility guidelines such as:

  • Underage participation
  • Information and player protection
  • Technical standards
  • Self-exclusion
  • Anti-money laundering safeguards
  • Alternative dispute resolution
  • Contribution to research and education
  • Advertising and marketing

The 2005 Gambling Act

UK Casino Licensing and Regulation

The UK Gambling Act came into force in 2005 and made key amendments to existing legislation for proper licensing and regulation of online gaming. Before the Act was endorsed, the Gambling Board was responsible for supervising the industry, with a focus on land-based casinos, bingo halls, betting shops, and lottery retailers.

This Act also saw the establishment of the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), an independent organization, which took over from the Gambling Board in 2007. Note that this body isn't part of the government, and in fact, doesn't have any political association.

In 2014, this Act came up with additional clauses (licensing and advertising) that required all betting operators based outside the United Kingdom that transact, or market to UK players to acquire a licence from the UKGC. Additionally, all those game sites needed to pay a 15% point of consumption tax.

The UK Gambling Commission

UK Casino Licensing and Regulation

This particular body is authorized in licensing and regulation of all UK commercial gaming including the National Lottery. Besides this organization, there are other reputable bodies that licence UK casinos such as Gibraltar Licensing Authority, Alderney Gambling Control and Isle of Man Supervision Commission. The commission's main objectives include:

  • Ensuring that gaming is conducted in a fair and transparent manner.
  • Preventing gambling from being a source of crime, or being used to support crime.
  • Protecting minors and other vulnerable people from being exploited by UK casinos.

In order to fulfil these goals, the regulatory authority has a set of standards spelled out in a document known as Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice. Then, it assesses all operators, game suppliers to make sure they're fully compliant.

In case a UK casino displays non-compliant behavior, the commission launches an investigation and a comprehensive report is generated. The licensee is then compelled to remedy the issue or enforcement action is taken.

Checking for United Kingdom Commission's Licence

Residents of this country should do their due diligence before joining a betting operator; here is how you can be sure that a UK casino holds the proper permit:

  • A game website must display the commission's logo at the bottom - for both desktop and mobile versions.
  • By clicking the logo, you should be redirected to the respective licence on the licensing and regulatory body's public registry.
  • You need to ensure that the status of this permit is "active".