The Gambling Authorities

(Guide To Gambling Licences & Law In The UK)

The UK Gambling Commission

Gambling in the UK is regulated by the Gambling Commission, established in compliance with the Gambling Act of 2005. The main offices are mostly in Birmingham. Its goal is to control commercial gambling implemented in Great Britain. The Commission is an independent public body. Its sponsor is the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The Commission has licensing authorities for partners. It also controls the National Lottery, since 2013.

Licensing of online gambling operators

The Commission issues licenses to remote, or online, gambling operators, under the Gambling Act of 2005. Operators are obligated to show compliance with the Gambling Act. That can be done for example by providing results of testing implemented by independent third parties.

The assessment of applications for licenses is implemented by judging the suitability of applicants to adhere to the requirements posed for obtaining licensing. The criteria applied comprise:

  • the applicant's identity and the applicant's ownership
  • the applicant's past and present financial situation
  • the applicant's honesty and reliability
  • the applicant's competence and expertise
  • the lack or presence of a criminal record

Online gambling operators must obtain licenses from the Commission if their equipment, or part of it, is based in the UK, or if the equipment is outside the UK, but it extends gambling to UK based customers.

The Financial Conduct Authority

This organisation is the authority for regulating spread bets. Recently it proposed that there should be stricter standard risk warnings with respect to this type of bets.

Independent testing authorities: eCOGRA and iTech Labs

Independent testing authorities test the fairness and safety of gambling on online casinos. eCOGRA is based in London, active since 2003, providing certification of online gambling software.

iTech Labs is another major independent testing organisation for online gaming systems, active for the past 10 years. It is based in Australia.

What is online gambling

Another term for it is remote gambling. The Gambling act of 2005 specifies that this is gambling in which punters use remote communication. This includes the Internet, telephones, TV, radio, and other electronic media.

Online gambling software

This is computer software employed for online gambling. The Gambling Commission will judge if there will be the need for obtaining additional licenses, and appoints technical standards for such software.

According to the requirements for technical standards, each gambling software has to be tested accordingly, before the game is released to be used publicly.

Online betting

Another term for it is remote betting. It comprises the making of a bet, or the accepting of one, regarding the outcome of a sports competition or of an event. Betting also comprises guessing the likelihood that an event will come true, or it will not come true. Yet another type of bet is betting on something being true or not true.

What is interesting is that betting can also involve competitions or events already in the past, when one of the parties to the bet knows the result, like with historical events, for example.

Types of bets

Let us start with the most common bet, called fixed odds. There you will bet to win some fixed amount, on the basis of the available odds.

Pool bets are made on the total amount of the wagers paid to form the pool, and the wins are made on that total amount. The pool amount is divided by a number corresponding to how many winners there are, and thus the win amount is formed. You can have pool bets for example on football or on horse racing.

Spread betting is a type which does not fall within the regulation of the UK Gambling Commission. It is controlled by the Financial Conduct Authority. It does not only involve guessing the final outcome. In spread sports betting, the details for betting on are such as: the goals number, the fastest time to be achieved, the winning margin, etc.

Fairness of online casino games

Online sportsbookers also extend sections with casino games. These games must also be in compliance with requirements, especially with requirements about fairness. To ensure that games are fair, and outcomes are based on randomness, third party authorities test them at regular intervals.

The authorities testing online games fairness are eCOGRA, iTech Labs, and some other ones. You can check if the online games are inspected for fairness for looking for the logo of an independent testing organisation on the casino website. The presence of such a logo will guarantee fairness and randomness of the games on offer.

Setting the gaming session limits

Providing gamblers with the capability to set their gaming session limits is a prime requirement of the Gambling Commission. By setting the length of your session of gaming, with these limits you will control the amount you spend, and thus not incur significant losses.

Restriction of Auto Play

As players can see, there are some limits imposed on the number of games that they can play in this mode.

For example, there will be restrictions on the number of spins in Auto Play. This is again in force to protect gamblers from incurring heavy financial losses.

The restriction on gamblers' age

On sites licensed by the Gambling Commission, you cannot play if you are aged under 18 years. This is one more measure undertaken to prevent gambling which is not prudent.

Requirements for gambling sites bonuses

According to the requirements for licensing in the UK, the rules, terms, and conditions for bonus offers must be fair and easy to understand by players.

Licensing of mobile gambling sites

In conformity with the requirements of the Gambling Commission, all gambling sites accessible via mobile devices must be completely licensed when they offer their services to UK based players.

The gambling laws in the UK

According to the laws applicable in the UK, UK based players can gamble online when they are minimum 18 years old.

By choosing licensed gambling sites, you will bet or play safely, and the betting or games will be fair.

According to the taxation laws of the UK, wins in gambling are not taxable. So when you win, your wins will not be subject to taxing on that amount.