How Is Gambling Regulated?

Gambling in the UK is deeply rooted, in fact, the first real national lottery dates back to 1694 where it was authorized by parliament, other forms of betting such as bingo and sports betting gained immense popularity throughout the 20th century and even more with the birth of the internet. Currently, 35 percent of all gambling activities are conducted online, online gambling is very versatile allowing users to gambling services in the UK and abroad.

Initially, gambling was regulated by pieces of legislation whose time had passed, it contained all the past and present forms of legislation to codify gambling as legal in the UK but currently to be able to offer gambling services or advertise it to UK residents you have to acquire a valid license from the UK Gambling Commission.

History of UK Gambling Laws

After the Betting and Gambling Act of 1960 was passed, it allowed commercial bingo halls to operate in the UK.

On the 1st of May, 1961, betting shops were legalized and in 6 months alone since the law was passed over 10,000 shops were up opened for gambling in the UK, however, the requirements were stiff and only allowed gambling service providers to operate on pay staff and “go straight” basis, a requirement that hindered its uptake as many bookmakers couldn’t keep up with these tough restrictions, this called for a revision.

To further streamline betting activities in the UK, an update was made in the 1980s, that betting houses were allowed to offer a more welcoming and comfortable environment to customers. The betting shops could now put TV sets for racecourses, seats and even refreshments.

The Gambling Act of 2005

The previous regulations laid the groundwork for the Gambling act of 2005 which went further to regulate all forms of gambling including all known online formats. This was in an attempt by the European Union to control gambling to ensure that it does not encourage criminal activities and disorder, to ensure that gambling environment is safe and open, and also to prevent underage gambling.

From this Act, all persons seeking to offer gambling service and advertisements to British residents had to hold a license issued by the UK Gambling Commission. Under the act it is also entirely legal for people residing in the UK to participate in gambling as long as they are over 18 years, therefore, they can participate in poker rooms, online gambling, lottery sites, casinos, sportsbooks, bingo sites, and also establish a gambling service for profitable cause or charitable services.


In the most recent update to the gambling legislation, the 2014 Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act stipulates that all the remote gambling providers shall be licensed by the UK Gambling Commission, previously, the operators would offer gambling services to UK residents but their equipment wouldn’t necessarily be located in the UK. this act regulated operations based on the point of consumption rather than the point of supply.


The UK Gambling Commission commission was established under the Gambling Act of 2015 as an independent non-departmental public body that is funded by the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport. it is the body responsible for all commercial gambling and oversee all its sectors including; betting, arcades, bingo, lotteries, gaming machines, casino, gambling software and all forms of remote gambling services, however, speed betting remained regulated under the Financial Conduct Authority.

For any gambling provider to be on the whitelist, the authorities or governments of countries, territories, and jurisdictions have to submit presentations to the Secretary of State. They are then vetted rigorously and the secretary of State for Culture, Media and sport will determine in its discretion if they meet the required threshold

Gambling Jurisdictions That are Whitelisted

All gambling services either online or in a physical structure are required to clearly display the details of their licenses on their places of business be it online or a physical location.

The jurisdictions on the UK Gambling Commission whitelist are:

– Countries within the European Economic Area

– Antigua and Barbuda – The Directorate of Offshore

– Gibraltar – The Gibraltar Gambling Commission

– Isle of Man – The Gambling Supervision Commission

– Alderney – The Alderney Gambling Control Commission

– Tasmania – The Tasmanian Liquor and Gaming Commission

Note: According to the Gambling Act of 2005 section 33, Gibraltar and any other country, territory or jurisdiction that is not part of the European Economic area or located outside the UK are not allowed to advertise, sell or offer gambling products or services on the territory of the UK.

Gambling Laws effects on you

As a gambler residing in the Uk you have confidence that playing in your gambling market is regulated. The UK is one of the most rigorous regulatory regimes in the world, all operators are evaluated by the Gambling Commission. The commission also ensures that all the operators adhere to the established rules and regulations, and also all their promotional offers and bonus are presented in such a way that it is not ambiguous or misleading.

you can gamble as long as you are over the age of 18 anywhere in the UK, the strict regulations are the operators’ concern. In case you have been treated unfairly, there are eleven Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) providers that are approved by the UK Gambling Commission, you could lodge your complaint(s) and be rest assured that it would be followed up.

Another added benefit for a British gambler is that your winning is not considered as a taxable income in the UK. you are exempted from paying tax any sum of money you earn through gaming or betting. The operators are taxed but this won’t have any effect for you as a customer.

In case you develop a gambling addiction, there are many organizations in the UK to assist you and also offer you support for addiction and compulsive gaming.

It is your obligation to check if your preferred choice of online casino is licensed by the UK Gambling Commission or other authority. whitelist, this is also important to avoid fraud and malpractice.

All these acts and updates are there to protect everyone residing in the UK from exploitation by gambling service providers


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