The UK’s online casino industry is booming and there are now countless gambling companies (both licensed and unlicensed) targeting the market. This means that choosing an online casino that is both trusted and legal is especially important for consumers.
UK online casino regulator
The online casino industry in the UK is regulated by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC).
The UKGC was established following the passing and enactment of the Gambling Act 2005. This means that UKGC is responsible for all licensing and industry oversight. As a result, the UKGC has the power to penalize operators who breach their licensing conditions and revoke the license of any operator the it feels is unsuitable to run an online casino business.
Any business that wants to offers any form of gambling products or services including lotteries, arcades, sports betting, casino gaming, and bingo, that business must obtain a license from the UKGC.
Online casino laws in the United Kingdom
Online casino gambling is legal in the United Kingdom for both residents and those visiting the country.
According to the Gambling Act 2005, there are six main forms of gambling in the UK.
All gambling businesses, both land-based and online, are categorized into the following groups:
- Gaming Machines
The Act states that any business that wishes to offer any gambling services including online casino gaming must apply for a license through the UKGC. The regulator will then put each operator through a rigorous vetting process to ensure that the operator is a suitable and responsible entity.
Once a license has been issued, the Commission will undertake regular compliance checks to ensure that an online casino operator is adhering to its licensing conditions.
These conditions include but are not limited to:
- Implementing the correct anti-money laundering (AML) procedures for player deposits
- Verifying source of funds
- Contacting players that have exhibited signs of problem gambling
- Ensuring that players understand any risks involved
Any operator found to have breached its licensing conditions will be warned and may face financial penalties or have its license suspended or revoked.
How to spot a licensed UK online casino
As the UK online casino industry is so heavily regulated, it makes sense to only play at one that is licensed by the UKGC and spotting a legit online casino is quite simple.
All online casinos are required by UK law to display their license details on their website. This is usually visible in the footer (bottom section) of the home page on the website or the home screen on the app.
There may also be details of a license held in another jurisdiction such as Malta or Alderney, but any online casino that is licensed to operate in the UK must also display its license number as issued by the UKGC.