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Playing By the Book: UK Online Gaming Laws

When it comes to gambling in the United Kingdom, the good news is that the laws, rules and regulations are a lot more straightforward than they are in many other places around the world. The complicated laws pertaining to traditional and online gambling pertains mainly to casino owners or those providing some sort of gambling service. In general, though, UK residents have a very easy set of laws to follow.

Most gambling – both online and offline – is legal in the UK, and the industry has great standards of regulation.

Online casinos have become a core aspect of the economy in the UK and they now sit alongside retail, banking and service sectors as a major financial contributor. The UK has some of the biggest and oldest bookmakers, and sports betting has long been a fan favourite, which is no surprise given our love of football.

The UK Gambling Commission has some of the strictest gambling regulations in the world and these rigorous standards ensure that betting operators go the extra mile for their punters’ safety, security and enjoyment, no matter where they choose to play.

In this blog, we’ll take a quick look at the initial gambling law implemented in the UK, the amendments made to it, how the UK Gambling Commission Works, discuss the White list and see how these laws could impact on players like you.

The UK’s first gambling laws

Bingo has been a game of ages in the UK, and has been loved by communities since as early as the 1920s on a commercial scale. Bingo became hugely popular during and after the Second World War, in which troops and civilians had played the game to pass time and keep up morale.

This popularity skyrocket in the UK with the inception of the Betting and Gambling Act of 1960, which allowed commercial bingo halls to legally operate in the UK for the first time. On May the first in 1961, betting shops were legalised and this saw up to 10,000 of the establishments open up within the first six months after legalisation. 

The legislation in this very first UK Gambling Act set out terms for previously illegal betting shops to register the premises and pay their staff and “go straight”. However, most of the biggest and oldest bookmakers were reluctant to make the change because of the initial injection of capital and the stringent regulations that they would have to stick to. By the 1980’s most of these bookmakers had come around and created warm and welcoming gambling environments for their punters.

In 1968 a further Gambling Act was passed, which set out the rules and regulations for the creation of commercial casinos complete with table games. It was in the 1980’s that the internet started to rear its head and the was once again the need to implement further laws. The Betting and Gaming Duties Act, established in 1981, was put in place to regulate offshore gambling and advertising serviced within the country. 

These rules and regulations were the law of the gambling land until 2005.

2005: The Gambling Act

1 blue and 1 green 18 and over neon signs

In 2005 the Gambling Act was implemented, which did away with previous rules and regulations. This Gambling Act consolidated all forms of gambling into regulation and licensing under its one roof, including the emerging world of online gambling.

This Act ensures that gambling establishments uphold stringent standards when it comes to their customers’ safety and security. The laws are there to discourage the gambling world from crime and to prevent underage people from gambling too.

Under the 2005 Gambling Act, a licence from the UK Gambling Commission is a prerequisite for any individual or operator looking to offer gambling services or advertising them to a British audience. It also made all forms of legit online casino games legal and you can enjoy online sports betting, bingo, lottery sites and poker rooms all within the long arms of the law.

In 2014, there was a further update to the UK gambling legislation. The Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act further adds that any remote gambling operators be licensed by the UK Gambling Commissions. These remote establishments could previously offer gambling services to UK residents without a licence.

The UK Gambling Commission

The UK Gambling Commission is an independent, non-departmental public body that was established under the Gambling Act of 2015. It is funded by the Culture, Media and Sports department and is officially responsible for standardising and regulating all commercial gambling activities within the UK. This UK commission goes so far as to regulate gambling software, machines and other remote gambling services – not just the establishments themselves. Speed betting falls under the Financial Conduct Authority, which means that it is the only form of betting that doesn’t fall under the UK Gambling Commission.

The Whitelist


Whitelist being turned on with a knob

Any establishment that offers gambling services within the UK needs to be licensed by the UK Gambling Commission in order to do so legally. Operators are required to have the license fully displayed on their premises or website, with the details made clear. This means that would-be gamblers can ensure that the casino that they are looking into is legit. If you see a UK Gambling Commission licence displayed at a casino, then it’s a safe bet that they are trusted and a safe place for you to spend your money. If you’re playing online, all you have to do is click on the UKGC logo and it will then divert you to the official website where you can see the full details of the licence.

Sometimes, you might find that the online or live casino that you want to gamble at has a licence but it isn’t from the UKGC. If you don’t recognise the logo, do some research and find out where they have been licensed. The UK government also has a number of other gambling jurisdictions that it has approved as meeting enough of the same standards as the UKMG to appear on the UK Gambling Commission’s whitelist.

The operators that have been licensed by whitelisted jurisdictions are free to advertise and offer gambling services in the UK. As such, if you notice that the casino you are looking into has been licensed by the following jurisdictions, you can rest assured that they are safe:

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

For a jurisdiction to make it onto the UKGC’s whitelist, the government or other entities in these territories have to submit comprehensive presentations to the Secretary of State. These then go through rigorous hoops before they are vetted completely and the application is either then accepted or rejected. Keep in mind that any operator from anywhere other than the EEA that is not in the UK or Gibraltar is explicitly banned from advertising or selling their gambling services and products to audiences within the UK.

What is the impact of these laws on you?

The UK has some of the world’s best gambling regulations and this means that, as a gambler in the UK, you can enjoy yourself without having to worry about your safety. The UK Gambling Commission is one of the most rigorous around the globe and any operator given their licence by this establishment is one that can be trusted. All licence applications are comprehensively evaluated and the commission ensures that even once an operator has a license that they stick to these standards in order to retain it.

We are proud to operate in a country with such strong rules and regulations. Our customers’ safety is our number one priority and we ensure that our clients can enjoy their experience with the peace of mind that we have been licensed by one of the world’s best gambling commissions.

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We offer a unique online live  casino experience that has all the thrills and excitement of a land-based casino – all from the comfort of your own home. We have a wide variety of games such as live roulette that are available 24/7 for your convenience and players have the pleasure of playing with real, trained and experienced dealers. 

Our customer care service is also available around the clock and if you have any questions or queries, then our expert team will be more than happy to help you out as much as they can. Remember that you must be over the age of 18 to gamble in the UK. Sign up with today and take advantage of our wonderful welcome bonus. 


We’re here to help you keep it fun – remember to set your deposit limit. Click here for more details on the safer gambling tools available including reality checks and the ability to take a break from your gaming.







One response to “Playing By the Book: UK Online Gaming Laws”

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