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How is Gambling Regulated in the UK?

How is Gambling Regulated in the UK?

Remaining as some of the largest economies in the UK are those of banking, retail and travel which have been at the top of the leader board for considerable lengths of time. But there is one relative newcomer to the party and that is on line casino gambling. It is now one of the biggest economies in both the UK and the world. Gambling is enormously popular in the UK for many different reasons. Some people think that this is because it is home to some of the oldest, largest and most popular known bookies, whereas others think its popularity is all due to the legalities behind how the UK treats punters and players.

The levels of safety for gambling in the UK are second to no other country in the world which makes the UK a popular country for professional gamblers, despite their gaming choices (as roulette, jackpots online or slots are all regulated equally) to settle, too. Even casino promotions have many regulations and wagering requirements in place.

Gambling Regulations in the UK Image


For citizens or visitor to the UK, you are legally allowed to gamble as long as you are 18 years old or over. Anyone under this age is not permitted to play. The government goes to great lengths to be able to protect the people who choose to place bets whether they do so in a land-based casino or through an online casino. The government aim to provide a safe, protected and fair environment to all bettors and purveyors. With both being protected legally in an equal manner, the UK is often considered to be the best place in the world for gambling.

Fortunately, for winners of bets, there is no tax charged on the money you win through betting when done so in the UK, but there are plenty of other rules and regulations that you should be aware of if you are wanting to place a bet online on slot or other games or in a land-based manner. Always ensure that you are aware of the laws that will affect you as they are often the laws that will keep you safe as you play, participate and place your bets.


It was centuries ago in 1694 that the most original forms of betting occurred in the UK. These took the form of Bingo and the National Lottery, which was the earliest recorded date for this popular game to have been played. To this day, both Bingo and the National Lottery remain popular but another style of betting was a common favourite and this was sports betting. This is still popular today, with some of the largest bets and the most enormous numbers of people placing bets on famous horse races for example, such as Cheltenham.

As the shift for gambling started to move away from the land-based style casino and technology continues to advance, we see a much bigger drive towards the use of online casinos. The most recent data collection has shown us that over 35% of all gambling is now done online which means that there are multiple things that we need to take into consideration. The most important of which is the way in which we are protected regarding gambling whilst we do so in an online manner. This was the reason that the Gambling Act was modernised and has been done so for the 2005, 2014 and 2015 legislate to ensure full protection.


There have been many reasons that online gambling has been such a success when it has come to the way in which people choose to undertake their gambling habits. For some it is the convenience of having everything they need to be able to place a bet at their fingertips, not having to leave the comfort of their own homes in order to participate and they can even play on the go if they so desire. As our lives are busier than ever, online gambling enables us to multitask more, so placing bets via our smartphone or mobile device of choice as we commute, do the school run or whilst we do an alternative chore makes everything a whole lot easier.

With so many people taking to playing games online as well as gambling, it is now considered as one of the most popular ways for people to occupy themselves. We don’t have as much disposable cash as we once did, so finding fun ways to occupy ourselves and potential increase the money in our bank account with a fairly low risk idea is valued by many people. This is why games such as Bingo, Slots and the National Lottery have been, and still remain, such a big hit, as they do not require large values of money but still give players a chance of being able to win their fortune.


It has always been completely legal to gamble in the UK. With every new Act that comes in to play, any acts before it are no longer legally binding. The first Act to take online casinos into consideration, as well as land-based casinos, was that of the 2005 Act. Staying properly protected whether you choose to gamble online or in a land-based casino is the way in which you gamble responsibly. You want to ensure that you are kept safe and fully protected. But the biggest changes made by this act was absolutely nothing to do with the online betting ability, but was, in fact, to do with creating a secure, open and equal betting environment for all players and all punters so that everyone was equally protected legally.


Ensuring that you are placing your bets through a legal purveyor is compulsory. You can do this in multiple ways and they vary slightly between online and land-based techniques of gambling. If you are playing online you can look for the commissioner’s icon or the logo that indicates the allowing of the jurisdiction. Either of these logos will permit you to place a bet on your choice of gambling regime, as long as you are over the 18 which you will be asked to verify on the site that you are using before play can commence or a bet can be placed. If you are placing a bet in a land-based casino, you need to look for the license of the casino when you enter the building. The most common place for the license to be placed in is either beside the main door so that it is clearly visible to anyone on the premises, or alternatively, it can frequently be found near to the registration desk. If, for whatever reason, you are unable to see the license which is usually by the door or the reception desk, then you are absolutely within your rights to ask a member of staff to show the license to you. After all, they are not legally allowed to function without this license so showing it to you and making it known should be nothing but a good thing!


Whether you are wanting to place a bet online or in a land-based casino, you want to make sure that the enterprise you are wanting to use is fully licensed. There are different ways to do this depending on whether you are placing bets online or in a land-based casino. But nevertheless, it is imperative that you do so. Failure to do so, could mean that you are no protected against any misconduct, you may not be entitled to fair play and it may not be safe for you to be playing in that way at all. There are multiple reasons why a license may be missing from an establishment. Some people may not have applied for a license from the UK Gambling Commission. Some people may have applied for their license but may have failed the evaluation process which means that the UKGC found something that they were not happy with. But there are some people who actively try to avoid having to go through the licensing process, perhaps because they know they are not legit in some cases but for other people, it is because the application and the license both cost money that some establishments cannot pay out.


Whitelisting in many respects is the opposite to when something is blacklisted. To blacklist something means that it is not approved on and therefore not allowed so it is added to a list of examples that should not be used. In this very instance, if we apply the very opposite logic, to whitelist is to approve something and, when referring to gambling, it means that it is legally approved. The term whitelisting sounds much more complicated than it perhaps actually is, because really what you need to keep an eye out for is a logo at the bottom of the screen when you are playing online that indicates whether approval has been given by an approved jurisdiction for that particular site. When playing online, only want to play on sites that have been approved so you can look out for the eye-catching logos that sometimes have lions or are Union Jack orientated. But you need to make sure that they are from one of the following jurisdictions to ensure that you are kept safe whilst placing your bets:

  • Alderney – The Alderney Gambling Control Commission
  • Antigua and Barbuda – The Directorate of Offshore Gaming
  • Countries within the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • Gibraltar – The Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner
  • Isle of Man – The Gambling Supervision Commission
  • Tasmania – The Tasmania Liquor and Gaming Commission


Placing a bet is safest to do so in the UK. There are no other countries that beat the UK with the safety that the government and the UK Gambling Commission have created to protect both gamblers and establishment owners. Interestingly, these laws have been created so both the bettor and the purveyor are protected in equal amounts which is unlike many other economy.

It has always been legal to gamble in the UK and there is a rich history across Britain of people having done so. With dates all the way back to 1694, there is a great deal of proof that gambling and placing bets is not a new phase that we are going through as a nation but in fact, it is something that seems to be engrained in us all. With Bingo, the National Lottery and sports bets still as popular as ever, the economy for gambling is on the increase with every decade that goes by. This has been greatly helped by such incredible technical advancements, such as the internet, mobile devices and apps, enabling people to be able to place bets online from anywhere and at any time.


It is important that if you place a bet in the UK, whether online or in a land-based casino, you must be over the age of 18 years old and you will be asked to verify this. This is not to prevent you from having fun, but is actually there to protect you and keep you safe as gambling can be a very dangerous world to be in. There are many ways in which bets can be placed and it is often best to ask for advice from more experienced bettors or from the bookmakers, although some are unwilling to help. Gambling needs to be kept control over and should not become something that controls your life. If you notice that a gambling addiction is becoming difficult for you or someone around you, then you should seek immediate help from one of the many different support groups spread across the UK.

The idea of gambling is to be a source of entertainment, not something that rules your life. You should only ever place a bet when you are in a good, happy, positive mood. Remember, if you are going to potentially be in a financially difficult position if you lose all of the money you are thinking of betting, then do not place that bet. If this is no longer a fun concept for you, then the time has come to stop placing bets and seek help.