In Britain, some of the biggest economies remain as being retail, banking and travel and these leaders have not changed for a considerable number of years. But there is one interestingly exception to this rule, and that is of the gambling market which has become one of the biggest economies, not only in the UK but of the world. It may be that its popularity in Britain is down to the fact that the UK is home to some of the oldest, biggest and most well-known bookmakers in the world. Although there is also some logic to the fact that because there are so many laws and legalities in place surrounding gambling and slot gaming, the UK is one of the safest places to game and gamble in the world too because both the player and the punters are protected by the law.
Whether you are residing in or are a citizen of the UK, you are legally allowed to gamble if you are over the age of 18 years old. There are lots of ways in which the government protect players whether they choose to play online or in a bricks and mortar casino. It is a legal obligation that the casinos, on or offline, provide a fair and safe environment for every single player. One of the best things about gambling in the UK is that if you are fortunate enough to win a sum of money, no matter how big, you do not have to pay any sort of tax on this return. The UK is one of the best countries in the world to gamble because the punter and player are protected in equal measure, the government pay a great concern and interest in keeping users safe, and due to the fact that no tax is paid on winnings. As there are so many reasons why people love gambling in the UK, we need to look at more of the regulations so that we are fully aware of all of the legalities that help to keep up safe whilst we have fun with gambling.
Where Did UK Gambling Come From?
The original forms of gambling enjoyed by residents of the UK were bingo, the lottery, and any kind of sports betting. The national lottery was authorised to begin officially and was recorded as early as 1694, and the lottery, as well as bingo and sports betting, have remained popular ways of gambling to this day. To be able to provide a gambling service of any kind, online or offline, a license must be obtained from the UK Gambling Commission, although previously, permission had to have been granted from the parliament directly. This includes if you are a company who just advertises or does marketing material creation for a gambling service provider. The modern version of the Gambling Act now takes into consideration that a large proportion of gambling, 35% approximately, is done online, and this was just one of the reasons that the Gambling Act from decades before was so seemingly outdated, though not the only reason. Therefore a new Act was put into place, where the latest version of the Gambling Act are the 2005, 2014 and 2015 legislate.
Gambling Acts of 2005 Onwards
When the 2005 Gambling Act was implemented, all previous forms of legislation were not seen as legally binding. The 2005 Act now included not only new laws regarding casinos and other forms of land-based gambling but also the modern format of online gambling too. The EU supported the shift in legislation and backed the new laws made by the UK in relation to gambling. This meant that both the UK and the EU wanted to ensure that gambling did not promote any sort of crime or disorder in any way. They both also wanted to protect users from participating in acts of gambling when they were under aged. One of the biggest differences created by this new Act was to ensure an open, secure and equal environment for gambling to take place where the punter and player were both protected and both had their own rights.
Gambling in the UK has always been legal but to protect yourself you must check that the operator you have chosen to participate with has a licence from the UK Gambling Commission. If they do not, then you are not safe to gamble with this service provider and they should be reported as they are actually acting illegally. Anyone living in the UK is freely able to play on online casinos, bingo, play the lottery, visit poker sites, along with other gambling activities.
After 2014, the Gambling Act of 2005 was updated to include that remote gambling operators who act as a service provider to those living in the UK also had to have a license from the UK Gambling Commission. Failure to do so was, and is, a criminal offence from these service providers, where both the service provider and the player are unprotected if they use this service. It was up until this time that gambling providers could legally provide facilities for UK gamblers and could do so from outside of the UK without needing a license. But this all changed in 2014 when it was realised that the point of consumption needed to be addressed, monitored and secured.
Gambling in the UK Today
The latest Act to be put into place and change anything prior to its release is the 2015 Gambling Act which sees one major change. This is the establishing of the UK Gambling Commission which is the independent non-departmental public body which was created and funded by the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport. It is through this channel where every gambling representative in the UK is regulated and helped to attain particular standards to ensure that safe, healthy and fun play spaces are created for the gamers where both the gamers and the punters are protected in a generic, proper manner. Every different type of gambling is overseen by the UKGC, from slots games, bingo and the lottery, to sports betting, general gaming and software related to gambling. It even includes gambling services from remote, non-UK based locations which have not always been well monitored or protected. All but one type of gambling is looked after by the UKGC and that is the realm of speed betting which is the only gambling taken care of by the Financial Conduct Authority, unlike all others.
The Whitelist of Gambling
Whether you participate in land-based or online gambling, there is something you should always look out for and that is the licence. In land-based casinos they are legally obliged to display they certification so that players know that they are not at risk, they are protected and that there are certain rules they must obey to be permitted within the casino. The casino must have a licence to be a legal gambling house. This, you may think, is rather hard for online casinos to be able to configure, but actually, it’s quite the opposite. On every single, reputable and legal gambling site, you will see, and should always look out for, different logos. The best one to look out for is the commissions’ logo but it is certainly not the only logo that holds any stand. If you click on the logo, you will be redirected to the UKGC website where you will be able to check the status of the license held by the site you wish to play on. The icon you are looking for in this instance is half of the Union Jack flag with a white box over the bottom of it containing the words “Gambling Commission”. Seeing this gives you a sign of approval and should reassure you that all is well, but there are other icons for you to look out for too that will help you to rest assured. Other icons have been approved by the UKGC and create what is known as a “whitelist”. This is a list of the places where you are safe to play casino games or where it is secure to gamble on sites linked to the following jurisdictions whilst you are residing in the UK:
- Alderney – The Alderney Gambling Control Commission
- Antigua and Barbuda – The Directorate of Offshore Gaming
- Countries within the European Economic Area (EEA)
- Gibraltar – The Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner
- Isle of Man – The Gambling Supervision Commission
- Tasmania – The Tasmania Liquor and Gaming Commission
You and the UK Gambling Laws
If you are a UK resident then it is good news for you. You are able to gamble in one of the best and most well regulated markets in the world. This is thanks, mainly, to the amount of testing that each gambling provider goes through as well as the number of legislation that must be addressed in order for them to get hold of their license and been seen as legal. For every single punter who puts in an application for a license, a rigorous evaluation is undertaken by the UKGC to check that they are reputable and law-abiding. One of the most important things done in this instance is that the promotions, bonuses and marketing materials are never misleading for the gamblers as well as making sure that there is a way of checking that every player either entering into a land-based casino or wanting to play online is over the age of 18.
Gambling in the UK
If you are wanting to participate in a form of gambling in the UK then there are multiple things that you must check out first on the site or in the casino you are thinking about using. This may take a little time, but it is absolutely worth it so that you remain safe and protected at all times. The first thing you want to see is whether you have been asked for proof of your age in some way. This is because you need to prove that you are 18 years old or above to legally be allowed gamble. Next, you need to look for a license. If you are in a land-based casino, check around and see if you can see the license which should be clearly displayed and usually near the entrance or registration desk. If you are unable to see it, just ask a member of staff and they should provide you with the information you require or show you where the license is. It is their legal requirement to do so, so do not be afraid to ask to see it. If you are playing online, take a look, usually at the bottom of the web page, to see if you can see any icons that indicate the jurisdiction or the commissions’ logo. Read through the section of this article about whitelisting if you are unsure about any of this and it will point you in the right direction about what this means and what you should be looking for to ensure that you are playing on a reputable site.
Other Gambling UK Info
Gambling can be great fun for many people. There are many different ways in which you can participate and it is open to anyone over the age of 18 years old. With so many different games, ways to gamble and promotions that are all easier to access than ever, it is, sadly, easy to see why this fun past time can sometimes get out of hand. Please ensure that if you are a frequent user of gambling that you are limited in one way or another, be it financial or time based so that you do not develop an addiction. But if you are worried for yourself or someone around you then contact one of the many support groups across the UK who are able to help with compulsion or addiction to gambling. This is not a position anyone wants to be in so try only to gamble when you are in a positive mood, when you are financially able to lose money and when you are having fun. If this is not the case, stop!