Gambling Licensing & Regulation in the UK: What You Need To Know

Gambling Licensing & Regulation in the UK: What You Need To Know

Across the UK, every legal online casino, bookmaker and gambling website is required to be licensed and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission. It’s what keeps players safe. It’s what keeps games fair. And it’s what makes the online gambling industry in the country one of the most trusted and well respected industries on the planet.

At KingCasinoBonus we always prioritise player safety and that begins with providing you with online casinos you can 100% trust. All the sites recommended by us are fully licensed and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission.

But while that is the stamp of approval you should be looking for in a gambling site, what exactly does it mean?

Licensing & Regulation on Gambling in the UK: An Overview of the Gambling Act 2005

The UK Gambling Commission was formed in 2007 with an aim to keep crime out of gambling and ensuring that gambling companies operating in the UK are licensed, regulated and follow the laws stated in the Gambling Act 2005.

The Gambling Act 2005 was launched with three core focuses, these being:

  1. Preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime,
  2. Ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way, and
  3. Protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.

As part of the laws, all casinos and gambling outlets, offline and online in the UK have to have a licence that is approved by the UK Gambling Commission. This also applies to any online gambling sites that are based off-shore, a law which was passed in the Gambling Act 2014.

What is a UK Gambling Licence?

A licence is required for every business operating gambling activity. This is in order to be regulated in line with the three focuses mentioned above, with a rigid set of measures, compliance and rules in place to prevent the likes of underage gambling, money laundering, as well as fair play across all games.

There are three main types of licence in the UK:

  • Remote: A licence that allows operators to provide gambling products online, via television, mobile phone or any other form of online service.
  • Non-remote: A licence that allows operators to provide gambling products at betting shops, tracks, casinos and racecourses.
  • Ancillary: A licence that allows an operator to provide gambling products either via email or telephone.

All online casinos in the UK therefore require a remote licence. However, it is also possible to have a combination. For example, popular brands such as Grosvenor Casino will have multiple as they have physical casinos and an online offering.

How does the UK Gambling Commission decide who to provide a licence to?

The UK Gambling Commission explores a range of criteria in order to ensure that those running the gambling operator applying for a licence are fit for purpose and not a threat to the British public. This includes:

  • The applicant’s honesty, integrity and trustworthiness
  • Whether the business and applicant are financially capable
  • Expertise, experience, qualifications and history associated with gambling
  • Criminal records of applicants
  • Policies in place to ensure:
    • They understand and incorporate the legislation into their business
    • They follow the established licensing objectives
    • They provide evidence that they will adhere to social responsibility requirements

To apply for an operating licence in the UK, applicants must provide a large number of documents in order to establish that they are fit and proper, with the Gambling Commission meticulously going through the application to ensure that is the case.

What Gambling Regulation Provides Customers in the UK

For players, the strict licensing laws and regulations provides some guarantees for players who wish to sign-up and play with an online casino. This largely revolves around fairness and player welfare.

Fair play and the integrity of games

All online games in the UK are thoroughly tested and use independent testing services such as eCOGRA to ensure the integrity of games and complete fairness. All games available across UK online casinos must use random number generators that are approved by the UK Gambling Commission.

Financial protections

Operators who hold customer funds must include information on the arrangements for protecting such funds within their terms and conditions. This should include the level of protection used, alongside what happens in the event of insolvency. This information needs to be available at the deposit stage and in a manner in which the player can actively acknowledge it.

In order to ensure this, online operators are required to hold customer funds in a separate account, as well as report information around customer funds in quarterly regulatory returns.

Measures against problem gambling

As part of their duty of care to players, every online casino and gambling operator is required to follow a social responsibility code. This means that licensees must make information readily available to players on how to gamble responsibly. This must cover:

  • Measures to help individuals monitor or control their gambling
  • Timers or other forms of reminders
  • Self-exclusion options
  • Information around further help or advice

Gambling operators are also required to monitor a specific range of indicators that could identify gambling harm and flag those, as well as implementing automated processes for any strong indications of harm.

They must also provide a number of tools or point in the direction tools such as:

  • Being able to self-exclude
  • Being able to set deposit limits
  • Being able to set time limits

Complaint procedures and dispute resolutions

Operators must also have a rigid complaints service in place which allows people to resolve matters within eight weeks. Should a dispute not be resolved directly with the operator during this period, the operator must provide information of a third party which can continue the process. These are known as alternative dispute resolution providers and act as an independent mediator to try and resolve the matter.

How To Ensure a Casino is Fully Licensed & Regulated

It’s always worth playing with online casinos that are fully licensed and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission. It’s easy to discover this information and you can typically do so in two ways.

1. Visit the Gambling Commission’s Public Register

Firstly, you can find the Public Register, which provides information on all businesses and individuals licensed by clicking here. Simply search for the operator you’re looking for in the search box and you’ll find the information you need, or not in the case of them not being registered.

2. The footer of the casino’s website

Every licensed online casino must display their licensing information in the footer of every page on their website. This will include who they are licensed by as well as information such as account numbers and addresses. This will give you a clear indication as to whether the site is licensed by the UK Gambling Commission.

Gambling Licensing & Regulation in 2024: The State of Play

Over the next few years, the Gambling Commission have announced several areas for strategic focus between now and the end of 2027.

They recently revealed five areas that they are looking to develop, which are:

  1. Using data and analytics to make gambling regulation more effective.
  2. Enhancing our core operational functions.
  3. Setting clear evidence-based requirements for licensees.
  4. Being proactive and addressing issues at the earliest opportunity.
  5. Regulating a successful National Lottery.

This is largely revolved around improving commitments from licensees to their consumers and the wider public, providing even clearer information, particularly around emerging risks, opportunities and common issues.

Playing with Licensed & Regulated Casinos at KingCasinoBonus

At KingCasinoBonus we only provide our readers with casino sites that are fully licensed and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission. That means every site we recommend is trusted, secure and places player welfare at the heart of what they do.

Any sites on KingCasinoBonus that see their licence removed are then also removed from our website.

Frequently Asked Questions About Gambling Licensing & Regulation

What rights do I have to access information from gambling websites?

Players must have the right to access a range of information from sites, both about their account and the games that are available to play. This includes:

Player information

  • Transactions you are able to make
  • Time you have spent gambling
  • How to set limits
  • How to request a ‘reality check’ (a break from playing)
  • Any consequences of an interruption to play
  • How to request withdrawals

Game information

  • The rules of the game
  • A description of the game
  • The probability of winning

When was the Gambling Commission set up?

The UK Gambling Commission was launched in 2007 in order to oversee the Gambling Act 2005 and ensure that the gambling industry in the UK is safe, protected against crime and operates fairly for players.