Online gambling is growing in popularity worldwide and with more and more casino sites coming online, it is important to protect yourself and gamble responsibly. While the online gambling industry in the UK is relatively new, it is one of the most responsible and regulated gaming industries in the world. The United Kingdom was the first country to introduce online gambling regulations to protect players and ensure that all UK online casinos conform to certain standards.
The online gambling industry in the UK is regulated under the 2005 Gambling Act (amended in 2014) that allows for the legal provision of certain forms of interactive betting, including online sports betting, casino games and bingo, provided the player is over the age of 18. The UK Gambling Commission was set up to have jurisdiction over the entire gambling industry in the UK and prevent players from being taken advantage of by unscrupulous operators as well as unfair terms, practices and wagering requirements.
A UKGC licence is essential for all UK online casinos
The online gambling regulations in the UK are straight forward and easy to understand and all forms of online gambling are legal provided the online casino or gambling site has a valid licence from the UKGC. But obtaining a UK gambling licence is no easy task and nor is it cheap. Meeting all the requirements of the UKGC takes time and hard work and all UK gaming operators are required to pay an annual point of consumption tax that amounts to 15% of their profit. A portion of the tax is used to fund gambling addiction prevention programs. Players, however, are not taxed on their online gambling winnings if they play at a UKGC licenced online casino.
Despite the time and cost involved, it is still worth it for online casinos to be licenced by the UKGCbecause it is illegal for non-licensed operators to accept UK players, only UKGC licensed casinos can advertise on TV and in the print media, and there are heavy fines for online casino operators that do not comply with all the rules and regulations of the UKGC. Because the UK Gambling Commission is so effective at policing its own jurisdiction it has become increasingly difficult for UK players to register at non-licenced casinos, making it in every UK gaming operator’s best interest to follow the rules and ensure that they have a valid licence. It is the only way that they will gain access to the large and lucrative UK gambling market.
A UKGC licence protects players and the industry
Any gambling has inherent risks and online gambling is no different. It is a game of chance and for many players that is an essential part of the thrill, but technology has changed the playing field and made it easier for unscrupulous online casino operators to manipulate results and defraud players. The UKGC dispute resolution system has been set up as an impartial body to protect the rights of players and relies on disputes between players and casinos being handled by an appropriately qualified and approved third party.
The UKGC constantly reviews its regulations and introduces new measures to protect players. In 2019 new regulations will be put in place to protect minors and vulnerable players. It is illegal to allow people under the age of 18 to gamble at a UK online casino and the new regulations will require UK licenced casinos to verify the age and identity of newly registered players before they deposit any funds into an online casino account. Not only will this protect minors, but it will also make withdrawing funds easier for everyone as the verification process will already be taken care of and players won’t have to wait as long for their funds or have funds delayed by a verification dispute.
By regulating the gambling industry, the UKGC prevents money laundering and online gambling becoming a source of funding for illegal activities, criminal acts and terrorism, it preserves the integrity of the industry by promoting transparency and protects the rights of players, preventing them from being treated unfairly and giving all UK gamblers recourse to dispute resolution services.
As an online gambler in the UK, it is essential to only play at online casinos that are regulated and licenced by the UK Gambling Commission, this not only protects you, but it also protects the industry and ensures that only licenced gambling sites are able to operate in the UK.