UK Gambler’s Rights & Obligations
Did you know a recent survey found 38% of UK gamblers are unaware of their basic rights and responsibilities? Don’t let casinos take advantage of you! This guide outlines every right and obligation you have as a player.
We’ll cover crucial rights like fair play, timely payouts, and complaint resolution. You’ll also learn key obligations, from providing genuine documentation to avoiding bonus abuse. With pro tips for exercising your rights, you can make sure you’re treated fairly.
Arm yourself with this breakdown of gambler’s rights and obligations in the UK. Let’s boost that unawareness statistic by becoming informed advocates for fair, lawful play!
- The aim of this guide
- Authorities and rights: the baseline
- How to check if your fundamental rights are respected
- Your obligations as a UK gambler
- Notes on House – Patron relationship
- Ending remarks on UK gambler rights
The aim of this guide
One of our guiding motivations is to be your trusted casino guide. Before starting to gamble, you need to know what you are allowed to do and what is owed to you.
Why should you use our guidebook?
Browsing and selecting answers from the current laws can be overwhelming and exhausting. We know that legal stuff is complex; therefore, we make practical text summarising the essentials.
The same goes for heavyset financial dealings and rights. But there’s no need to go further than this page for these tips. We know how you should handle your gambling funds (and how the casino should handle them), and we tell you with no smoke and mirrors.
You are invited to consult the sections below and learn more about your rights as a gambler through our expertise. We hope our objectivity and experience help us in our duty as casino advisors.
Authorities and rights: the baseline
Before we go into our detailed description, let us answer some basic questions that matter the most in our online and offline gaming sessions.
Can you gamble in the UK?
Yes, you can. In the United Kingdom, you can engage in various gambling-based activities, like casino games (in-person or remote), sports betting, race betting, bingo, lottery raffles, etc.
The regulations involving each of these may vary slightly in terms of what you can do. Still, we tackle such differences on this page.
We advise you to pick casinos that are already listed on our site since they have already been tested and verified by legitimate casino experts and players.
Who regulates offline and online gambling?
All of the main aspects we discuss here are decided by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission or the UKGC. This independent governmental authority bases its work on the 2005 Gambling Act.
The UKGC is working on the part of The Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS). Their areas of expertise range from sports, media, and digital economy, amongst other things. DCMS is responsible for digital entertainment but also for Olympiad events, like the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
They underwent two name changes since the 1990s, in the Prime Minister terms of Tony Blair and Theresa May.
Places to gamble
Gamblers cannot place bets on any unlicensed places, no matter their nature or their setting, online or brick-and-mortar. However, people can make personal social bets. These situations are called betting syndicates.
Betting syndicates: definitions and legality
A group of people can make bets together outside of a betting house. They are legal as long as the person collecting the bets does not make any profit from it, or they do not collect a cut of the standard stakes.
In 1961, George Alfred James opened the first licensed casino in Port Talbot, Wales. The lobby and restaurant could host up to 400 people at once.
Such occurrences are often met in workplaces and are lottery draws in nature. As long as proceeds go to charity, they are overlooked by the enforcement authorities. Pub owners should not engage in betting slips games nor encourage customers to play unregulated actions.
Legal age for Gambling
Depending on the gambling activity, the legal age for gambling is either 16 or 18. All people over 18 can engage in any legally organised luck-based or skill-based games.
The required age for gambling
|Required age||Activity apology|
|18||Brick-and-mortar casinos, online casinos, slot machines.|
|16||Lottery draws, Scratchcards, Football pool bets.|
|Any age||Private bets, travelling-related bets, arcade machines.|
How does this detail compare with other countries?
Generally, the EU countries are consistent with a universally accepted minimum age of 18 for bets and stakes of any kind. However, some German states and Greece have raised the bar to 21 years old. This is on the same principle as Across the Pond in the US.
Child protection against gambling
Gambling businesses have certain obligations specially imposed by the UKGC to protect underage individuals from exposure to wagers.
How does that reflect in reality?
All casinos, whether they have physical rooms or operate strictly online, must verify that all their clients are over 18. This is done in the KYC procedures, where the team verifies the validity and details of the user’s identification papers.
Targeted ads will also have to specifically not target children. Simply put, an online casino cannot place ads in online environments constructed or aimed at children and adolescents.
This is especially important for video game stores, lobbies, and other online places with a young age demographic.
How to check if your fundamental rights are respected
This section will show you time-efficient ways to inspect if the casino/website respects your fundamental rights as a gambling customer. We take each right individually, advise you on how to proceed, and explain a bit about each issue.
Know the casino is UK-licensed
You should never play your funds in a place with no official governmental regulation. The way to check if your chosen platform has UKGC approval is by looking either in the website’s footer or its terms and conditions.
Conversely, you can search your casino’s teams and UKGC license, and you will see that the first result should be the business details on the UK Gambling Commission’s website. You will also find out things like sanctions, sister sites, and a unique reference number by clicking it.
Licenses are the aspect that ensures stability in the site’s terms, fair play in terms of your games, unbiased attitudes, and many more details that we have detailed on our other pages.
All online casinos operating with UK customers have to have been tested by the UKGC.
These rules have to contain all the necessary information, from games to payouts and data collection. They also must be made available to you in English, in an easily understandable variant.
If you believe that the agreement is not biased towards the casino and your opportunities are fairly set, you can start gambling. If you understand what is required and what is given to you, you can start gambling.
Why are these rules of use important?
Find resources for safe gambling
A casino must give you external links to platforms that deal in safe sessions and solutions for you to minimise or stop your gambling altogether, temporarily, or entirely. They should offer links and informative texts.
What are the main topics that concern casino safety?
Inspired by the statements of the UKGC, two main things need to be tackled. Mental health solutions for risk and problem gambling is an aspect we have discussed on our Responsible Gambling page.
The best three responsible gambling institutions currently available to contact for free
|Name of the institutions||Ways of contacting them|
|GambleAware||Phone number: 0808 8020 133, 24/7 Chat|
|GamAnon||Email, In-person meetings|
|Gamblers Anonymous||Email: [email protected]|
Maybe you need a middle way between the complete prohibition of gambling and regular gaming. Then, you can install and use Internet filters that eliminate any gambling site from your browser and store searches for your set period.
There are two options that we have tested and that we recommend: Gamban and GamBlock.
Most casinos that we have seen recently also allow you to impose limits on your spending and your game sessions. Use these options to avoid complicated situations.
Learn the rules of the games and bonuses
Casinos should provide the rules of the game they offer somewhere easy to find. Usually, they are posted under the main game category page or next to each game individually.
Since you are staking funds on the options, you should be transparently informed on how the game works and how the bets work, and you also need to have technical details like RTP, for instance. The casino may consider specific game strategies unlawful, meaning that employing them may result in a permanent ban.
An essential aspect of online wagering is the offered incentives. Their terms are unique and may change depending on the type of bonus we are talking about. Like all other vital information, these details should be fair and transparent.
Your gaming account transparency
Your unique gaming account is based on your personal data. It has specific settings that are pre-set or chosen by you, for example, your gaming limits.
How is the data shown?
You should be able to check out data for how many hours you spent playing and a complete history of your transactions.
It is your right to know what happens to your data, personal or digital traces, that you leave every time you use any online service.
Your funds must be protected
To find the exact settings and formats on how the casino protects the funds in your account, both the ones you deposited and the ones you received as bonus funds, you need to look at the financial part of the terms.
The UKGC has defined three levels of protection
- No protection whatsoever
This means that the funds you have left in your gaming account are considered to be part of the business profits in case of insolvency.
- Medium safety
This means the customer funds are kept separate from the business’s funds, and you could get them if the casino goes bust.
External bodies handle the gaming account funds in a completely different place. This means that if the casino goes bust, you can get your funds back in a decent timeframe.
You might want to spend funds through more than one company rather than having significant sums in one place.
How does that stand legally?
The Consumer Rights Act states that the product you pay for in a transaction must be delivered safely and satisfactorily.
If you receive something unfitting, unsatisfying, or anything else powerfully negative, you deserve a refund or to have the product changed in 30 days.
Make a complaint
There are several levels to a casino complaint. Your first attempt is to reason with the support centre and fix your issue through the internal mechanisms available.
If that is not an available option, you might try to contact an ADR and take up your issue there. This is the preferred round, also recommended by the Gambling Commission, since it does not involve court trials.
Choose marketing strategies directed at you
When you sign up, you will likely be asked how you want to be contacted with promotional materials like newsletters, new releases, latest bonuses, etc. Usually, you will be contacted with texts or emails.
It is your right to choose the medium in which these ads are delivered to you. You also have the right to change your mind and select different settings or stop them completely. You can stop receiving texts by texting “STOP” to a phone number that is given to you by the casino.
There are harsher ways to stop text marketing. You can either contact your mobile operator or an ICO, Information Commissioner’s Office authority. But these are extreme situations, which you reach in rare cases.
ICOs in the UK can cooperate with authorities from other countries to protect you from unwanted marketing from foreign places.
You have the right to enter EU lotteries
As long as the competition clearly states that it accepts punters from the United Kingdom, you have the right to enter gambling competitions in the EU space. Of course, each case will depend on the game type and its unique rules.
Since 2004, Brits have entered the pan-European raffle titled EuroMillions. They can both enter with a regular ticket or in more complex ways. They include subscriptions that enter you automatically with tickets with a set number of months.
Your obligations as a UK gambler
From this perspective, you also have a detailed list of points you must always follow. These are your gambler obligations. Because we want your session to be smooth and problem-less, we will explain what you must do and what to avoid.
You must be 18+ to wager online
As established, minors are not allowed to access casino games, no matter if they are held online.
Thus, when you open up a new online casino account, you have to be over 18, and you will prove it when the KYC procedure is requested of you.
This is when the casino team members validate your age and identity. It usually happens after you create your profile, and the casino lobby may be partially or locked unless you complete it. Take clear pictures of the ID that you send (driver’s licence, NHS card, property papers), so your sessions will not be postponed.
Some casinos may ask that you prove that the funds you’re about to wager are yours by requesting you to send them a recently paid bill, usually not older than three months.
The terms and conditions play the role of the legislation within the casino platform. Thus, the site can eliminate you from the customer list if you have violated said terms.
Since this is one of your obligations, you must be careful when picking a casino. If this seems overwhelming to you, you can rely on our expertly crafted casino reviews on any of our pages. The reviews are like a shortcut scan of a site’s terms and policies. Find the highlighted information and see what we consider of importance.
Respecting the terms is not uniquely your responsibility. The casino has to act just like they stated in their base text, and if they want to change an aspect after you’ve become a member, they need to notify you.
Do not cheat
You have to respect the fact that gambling relies on chance in a wide variety of scenarios. Thus, you cannot use any sort of cheating strategy when you play online.
These include classic approaches like card counting in Blackjack or using bugged software to mess up the RNG encoded in-game.
Card counting in Blackjack is almost impossible in modern times because the dealer will use more than 4 or 5 decks at a time.
If you attempt and tamper with the software being used, you will be permanently excluded from the casino. You can even expect the casino to press charges against you, depending on the severity of your deed and if you derived profit from illicit ways.
Never use bots to cheat online casinos
When gambling online, some players have been caught cheating using particular bots that automatically play games in users’ stead.
Such AI programs use specially incorporated detention algorithms to predict future moves in Blackjack games and other types of card games, so the chances of winnings shall be higher than they would be the case when gamblers directly participate in playing games.
Nowadays, online casinos have special detection systems installed to catch any cheating attempts by gamblers who use bots immediately. While using bots to cheat casino software might have been a widely-spread practice back in the day, modern gambling websites can no longer be deceived by such attempts.
Your data can be submitted to other casino corporations after you cheat, creating a ban on websites you have not yet visited. Please refrain from cheating at all times in order to make the most of your gambling experience and not risk being banned from multiple top casinos.
Do not pretend to be someone else
This issue has two facets, which we’ll tackle separately:
- You cannot use someone else’s papers to confirm your identity when you create your account. Impersonating someone is a crime and will be punishable outside the casino laws
- Do not log in and play with someone else’s account. The profiles we have, social or casino-related, constitute part of our privacy. Using someone else’s profile is a violation of their privacy and data
Both of these issues are serious, and you should be careful with them at any time.
Make sure to play from a private IP address, not a shared one. If more than two people log in from the same IP, their accounts could be locked.
Do not play to launder funds
It is not permitted, under any form, to fund your gaming account with funds derived from illegal activities. When you sign up for a new casino website, you will see a statement regarding the funds you will stake either in its terms or as a pop notification.
Money laundering is a serious offence, no matter if it is done via online casino play or not. It will be followed by fines and up to 14 years of imprisonment.
How do casinos check this?
Online transactions may be hard to follow, so casinos check your funds’ authenticity by performing checks on your past financial activity, such as requiring proof of your income and/or a bank statement from 6 months and 1 year ago.
They will ask at the beginning of your profile usage (and even randomly throughout the time you use their site) to submit proof of funds, like employment or inheritance papers.
If you are fair with your funds, avoid looking suspicious by making small and consistent transfers to your account. Also, wager what you send in, don’t just deposit and cash out.
Don’t fund illegal activities with casino wins
If you ever hit the jackpot or a series of lucky reels, do not use that casino funds to perform any illegal activity or harmful activity.
Funding any sort of unlawful activity with the funds you have won puts you and your loved ones in danger and decreases the built trust that casinos push to have in the communities.
Follow our advice and think of gambling as a fun activity. Leisure activities should be safe, shareable with your friends and peers, and worthwhile.
We strongly advise our users to consider these notes and direct their gambling to a truthful and correct path. Also, you can share these insights with a loved one who gambles to ensure they stay safe.
Notes on House – Patron relationship
Now that we have covered the essential grounds in the previous parts, it is time for us to tackle some issues of medium importance. Thus, this section contains information on
- A short comparison of your rights versus the casino’s
- The September 2022 UKGC newly added rules for problem gambling
- What are the major offences in this field and their consequences
Rights on both sides
|Taxes||0%*||15% of their annual profits|
|Licence||No need for one||Need to be granted one by the UKGC|
|Conditions to play||Need to be of legal age||Need to follow the UKGC Practice Code|
*Please note that 0% is relevant for amateur gamblers. If you base most of your income on professional gambling competitions, you will have to pay certain taxes.
September 2022 gambling-hard related UKGC updated stipulations
The new stipulations issued by UKGC in June and implemented in September bring forth new changes that aim to offer stricter rules and stricter guidelines for both existing and new online casinos.
As a consequence of the September update, online gambling website operators must:
- Monitor certain signals that could identify gambling harm
- Flag and emphasise any flag signals and act in consequence immediately
- Add automatic actions when a harm signal is signalled
- Take measures not to display any casino bonuses to vulnerable customers
- Provide evidence for guaranteeing customer interaction reviews sent to UKGC during routine casework
- Follow the requirements at all times, without any exceptions
This is an ongoing issue that we will best update with specific details. However, we will have to wait and confirm things before stating them as errors, so some aspects may be updated in a couple of days from when they were stated on other sources.
Obligations and penalties
There has to be the other side to every coin. This is why we dedicated this sub-section, where we reinstate the importance of following the laws and inform you about the consequences that may come when that is not fulfilled.
What happens when an underage person is caught gambling?
If a teenager below 16 gambles or bets, or an under 18 person attempts the things they still don’t qualify for, a fine will be issued, which may go up to £1000.
What happens when a place offers gambling opportunities with no licence?
This is a severe violation of the Gambling Act (2005). It can be punished with any of the following:
- up to 51 weeks of prison
- a fine that goes up to £5000
- a combination of the two
The same type of punishment of either a fine or imprisonment will be available for people who employ gaming machines (slot machines) without a special permit and without respecting the state conditions.
What happens when a business advertises abusively?
The company can risk jail time of up to 51 weeks. Additionally, fines of up to £5000 can be applied.
Ending remarks on UK gambler rights
We hope that this page was the result you were looking for when looking for more information on your rights as a casino player or sports bettor. All in all, your rights are similar to any other customer in the UK, and casinos have certain immovable obligations to you.
Know that you know more about your status and your rights. You can play safely! Be gamble aware!
- The UK Gambling Commission
- Change of name for DCMS – gov.uk
- The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) – gov.uk
- Gambling in the United Kingdom – Wikipedia
- Those were the days – 1963: The days of the Starlight Rooms and the Coronet Club – The Herald
- Gambling ads to be banned from child-friendly sites and games – The Guardian
- GamAnon UK
- Gamblers Anonymous
- Your refund rights explained – money.co.uk
- Consumer rights – gov.uk
- ‘Reformer’s shopping list’: gambling laws review starts next week – The Guardian