Simon’s Guide to Online Gambling in the UK

This is a mobile optimized version of this page, view original page. It is recommended to use the original version, newer mobile devices should have no problem with it, some games, interactive maps do not work on the mobile version.

Online Gambling UK

 

Gambling and online gambling are legal in the UK. Online gambling laws in the UK went through a thorough overhaul in 2014 with the enactment of the “Gambling (Licensing & Advertising) Bill*”,which was signed into law July 2014. The bill introduced new standards, that all kinds of online gambling operators are to be held to in the UK. This regulated the online gambling market, and opened it up for foreign investors.

Reasons behind the legislation:

The piece of legislation formerly regulating online gambling in the UK was the 2005 Gaming Act*, which allowed foreign online gambling operators in the country without imposing taxes on them or requiring them to hold a UK license. There was in fact no licensing procedure or regulatory body in place.

The online gambling operators, which were legally allowed to offer and advertise their services to UK players (after acquiring a UK gambling license) were listed and licensed in the so called ‘whitelisted’ jurisdictions (Gibraltar, Alderney, the Isle of Mann or Antigua and Barbuda), or in one of the countries of the European Economic Area (EEA).

The bottom line is, when it came to online gambling, UK laws used to be quite liberal.

However, it all changed last year and the reason for the enactment of the new regulations, apart from increasing tax revenues from the blossoming UK online gambling industry was the need for strict governmental control over operators.

The major changes in the regulation and taxation of online gambling platforms seeking to offer their services to UK players:

During the parliamentary debates leading up to the enactment of the Gambling (Licensing & Advertising) Bill, the Gambling Commission proposed a possible amendment, that would’ve granted the right to the Commission to order financial providers to block transactions to and from unlicensed online gambling sites.

Even though the House of Lords voted against the amendment, some of the major financial corporations, including Visa, MasterCard and Paypal signed agreements with the Commission to voluntarily block the transactions in question*.

The Commission also approached ISPs to block the online gambling sites unlicensed in the UK, but lacking the proper court orders or enacted legislations to refer to, they were turned down by all of them*.

So for now, players from the UK are allowed to register on unlicensed sites, although these are not allowed to advertise their services neither online nor offline, and as most major operators already obtained a UK licence, there is not really an upside to playing on unapproved ones.

Actually, if there is a problem (casino does not pay you your winnings, credit card fraud, stealing personal information etc…) you don’t have the UK Gambling Commission to turn to. As a matter of fact, you have no one to turn to for help if you play in an unlicensed casino, because citizens of the United Kingdom are only supposed to play in licensed online casinos.

Post-brexit gambling and online gambling in the UK:

The people in the United Kingdom decided to leave the EU in June 2016 . This will have an effect on the gambling and online gambling scene of the whole EU. The gambling license whitelist of the UK Gambling Commision was seen as the list of the most trusted gambling licenses in the world. Other countries copied the UK system and the UK was one of the few EU countries that fully liberalized its online gambling market, in accordance with EU directives. However, post-brexit, Scotland and North Ireland will likely try to secede and remain part of the EU, and Spain is trying to get closer to annexing Gibraltar (a famous online gambling hub, gambling licenses from Gibraltar are on the whitelist of the UK Gambling Commission, hundreds of online gambling websites are registered there). If these countries do secede from Britain they have to develop their own gambling laws. It is not yet clear how the Brexit will affect existing UK gambling laws, but the following changes are expected in the next few years:

I expect that many online gambling operators will leave the UK market in the coming years. You can find the list of online gambling websites, which currently accept players from the UK below.

 

*1. Source: Gambling Act 2005

*2. Source: Visa, MasterCard and PayPal to block unlicensed operators in UK (iGaminbusiness.com)

*3., Source: Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014

*4., Source: British Internet Service Providers: “We Are Not Internet Unofficial Police” (pokernews.com)

 

If you like the article, give it a +1!

 

Summary:

 

 

Online Casino Gambling in the UK

 

Online Casino Gambling in the UK: legal, requires a license

 

Online Casinos are licensed by the UK Gambling Commission under the “Gambling (Licensing & Advertising) Bill” of 2014. Due to the financial burdens and their inability to comply with the standards some casinos pulled out of the British market. However, most of the major players in the industry obtained their licenses to legally provide online gambling in the UK, so players from the country can choose from a wide variety of such sites. The recent Brexit will have an influence on the online casino scene of the UK, but it’s too early too see how it will play out. We will update this section as soon as we know more.

The following online casinos accept players from UK:

BGO casino – accepting players from UK

32 Red casino – accepting players from UK

Betsson online casino – accepting players from UK

Betsafe online casino – accepting players from UK

Casino Euro – accepting players from UK

 

 

Online Bingo in the UK

 

Online Bingo in the UK: legal, requires a licence

 

Bingo sites, like all other UK online gambling operators also need to obtain a license from the authorities (separate bingo license is needed) in order to be able to offer their services in the country legally and to advertise in the UK. There is a wide variety of licensed sites to choose from for players in the UK, this includes online bingo websites.

The following bingo websites accept players from UK:

BGO bingo – accepting players from UK

Betsson Bingo – accepting registrations from UK

32 Red Bingo – accepting registrations from UK

 

 

Online Poker in The UK

 

Online Poker in The UK: legal, requires license

 

Poker sites need to obtain a Remote Gambling License from the Gambling Commission in order to legally operate platforms offering online gambling in the UK. Companies applying for such a licence are rigorously audited and even developers of poker games and other kinds of online gambling software need to hold a specific licence, issued by the commission. The strict licensing procedure and monitoring ensures that rogue online poker websites can not legally enter the UK gambling market (Always check the gambling license of a gambling website! never play in an online casino without a license!).

The following online poker sites accept players from UK:

Betsson online Poker – accepting players from UK

Betsafe online Poker – accepting players from UK

32 Red online Poker – accepting players from UK

 

 

Online Sports Betting in the UK

 

Online sports betting in the UK: legal, requires a licence

 

Online sports betting sites are also licensed by the Gambling Commission, and since the enactment of the 2014 Gambling (Licensing & Advertising) Bill many of the major players in the industry applied for and received a licence for offering their services in the UK. Actually, online sports betting is the most popular form of online gambling in the UK*, and the sports betting market grows by about 7% annually. Maybe the growth will slow down post-brexit, but it’s too early to tell how leaving the EU will affect the economy of the UK (the overwhelming majority of experts predict some slowing down, but the extent of it is unclear).

The following online sportsbooks accept registrations from UK:

Betsson online sportsbook – accepting registrations from UK

Betsafe online bookmaker – accepting registrations from UK

32 Red sport online sportsbook – accepting players from UK

*Source: UK sports betting market continues to grow driven by gen Y and mobile betting apps

 

Online Lotteries in the UK

 

Online Lotteries in the UK: legal, requires licence

 

Even though the UK has a National Lottery and its possible to play online, the authorities issue licenses to independent online and offline lottery operators as well. Depending on the scale of operations, providers may need to hold an operating license and personal management licenses for the key personnel. If a company wishes to sell lottery tickets online, they need a remote gambling license as well. UK citizens are free to purchase lottery tickets (online or offline) from any of the licensed vendors.

The following websites let people from UK purchase lottery tickets online:

Coming soon!

 

 

BitCoin Gambling in the UK

 

BitCoin Gambling in the UK: legal, license required

 

Even though Bitcoin is not recognised as a currency, British tax authorities argued, that Bitcoins are considered “single purpose vouchers”, which means transactions in the cryptocurrency is subject to taxation and it is regulated to some extent.

The stance of the UK Gambling Commission is quite stern. As UKGC CEO Jenny Williams said:

“The Commission neither prohibits nor encourages bitcoin. We are interested only in ensuring the proper regulation of gambling products consumed in Britain.”

So when it comes to Bitcoin based online gambling, UK laws require casinos specialising in the cryptocurrency to obtain the same licenses as every other UK online gambling site.

The commission also warn possible future licensees on its websites, that when applying for a UK online gambling licence, they have to  declare the use of virtual/digital/crypto currencies and/or payment processors on their platform.

The following Bitcoin casinos accept players from UK:

I can not recommend any right now.

 

If you have questions or any feedback don’t hesitate to drop a comment below. Please let me know in the comments section if you think we might have gotten something wrong or if you have additional information, clarification about the legal status of online gambling in this country.

 

If you like the article, give it a +1!

 

This page is part of Simon’s List – Legal Status of Online Gambling – a definitive guide to the legal status of all forms of online gambling activities in every country around the world.

 

Last updated: 2016-06-29

Summary
Article Name
Simon's Guide to Gambling in UK
Description
An overview of the legal status of gambling and online gambling in the UK and websites accepting players from the UK after the Brexit.
Author
Simon's Online Marketing Kft.