and Legislation for Online Casinos in the UK
The UKGC, or better known as the UK Gambling Commission, was established by the UK government after the completion of the 2005 Gambling Act, and the UKGC regulates gambling in the UK, including sports betting, bingo, traditional arcades, fruit machines in pubs, slots machines, casinos and the National Lottery under the National Lottery Act from 1993. The regulations include both physical forms of gambling as well as remote gambling done online or on the telephone.
The UK Gambling Commission oversees all the internet sites that use British-based equipment, meaning all the best UK online casinos hold a UKGC licence. This licence is considered to be one of the strictest in the world and is often used as a framework when another country modifies their regulations or implements them for the first time.
The UKGC’s goals are to ensure the following:
that a fair execution of gambling is ensured
that gambling is not associated with crime, or utilized to fund crime in any way
that children and vulnerable adults are safeguarded from any exploitation and harm from gambling.
These objectives really have the player’s wellbeing as their main priority. This is why all players residing in Great Britain (meaning England, Wales, and Scotland) should play at casinos that hold a UKGC licence. If a casino operates in the UK and does not have a UKGC licence, it is illegal and must be avoided and reported to the authorities.
The firm rules of the UKGC apply only to England, Scotland, and Wales. Speaking of Northern Ireland, gambling is regulated by the Betting, Gambling, Lotteries & Amusements (NI) Order of 1985, that is not wholly suited for gambling done online, as it is slightly outdated.
Before the 2014 Gambling Act was set in place, players were able to play games from certain operators from whitelisted countries (e.g. EEA countries, Isle of Man, Alderney, Gibraltar, and Tasmania), but this right was revoked back in the year 2014 and no longer is valid.
A new important update to the gambling rules is that from April 2020, credit cards can no longer be used for gambling in Great Britain.
Does the UK Gambling Commission Protect Players?
Responsible gambling and crime prevention: Casino sites operating in the UK must do strict checks to ensure the identity of their players to protect minors and problem gamblers. These checks are also in place to prevent money laundering. All UK casinos must also offer easy-to-use services for players to set deposit limits and self-exclude themselves from playing.
Gameplay fairness: Online casino sites operating under the UKGC licence must offer games from approved game producers, whose games have been independently tested by another UKGC approved company. The online casino is required to hold a set amount of funds in reserve so that the players will always get paid their winnings in full – this includes the jackpots.
Personal data protection: The casinos must show that they protect their players’ data, provide secure payment methods and that all funds and communication records are protected from outside access.
Complaints and licence enforcement: All UK casinos must provide access to an independent body called Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) which deals with customer complaints when the player deems the result from the casino’s own customer service unsatisfactory.
If any of the strict UKGC standards are violated or not met by an online casino operating in the UK, the UKGC might place sanctions, fine, or even revoke a licence from the casino in question.
All UK casino sites on our list have an active UKGC licence and provide a link for the players to check the validity of their licence. If you are a resident in Great Britain, never play on an online site that does not hold a licence from the UK Gambling Commission.