The gambling act 2005 regulates all online gambling activities in the united kingdom of great britain. The united kingdom gambling commission was established under the gambling act 2005 to regulate commercial gambling in great britain. The uk market is the biggest gambling market in europe, which makes it exceptionally attractive and competitive. Remote betting, casino games or lotteries can be made available to uk players if the appropriate remote gambling license is granted by the ukgc. The uk is widely acknowledged as being one of the stricter jurisdictions in the eu, putting great emphasis on player protection and social responsibility, as well as defining clear technical standards and implementation guidelines.
Gambling and betting has been present throughout history and has often been banned or restricted by various rulers. For example, oliver cromwell banned most sports and betting when he enacted the unlawful games act in 1541. The reason behind this was that new games and sports were distracting young people from archery, which was seen as a more traditional activity. It wasn’t until 1845 that the british government issued binding legislation on gambling, with the gaming act of 1845.
The 1892 gaming act was designed to make betting more difficult and less appealing by making it unenforceable as a contract. This would theoretically discourage people from gambling, as they could not legally back up their bets. However, this act did not stop people from gambling altogether and was eventually rescinded in 2001. The 1960 act saw the final repeal of the 1845 gaming act, finally allowing betting and gambling off course.
The 1960 betting and gaming act removed restrictions on offsite betting, leading to the opening of the first betting shops in 1961. This act is seen by many as the beginning of the end for greyhound racing and some smaller horse racing meetings. New forms of betting, such as gaming machines and the internet, led to new legislation being needed at the end of the 20th century. The 2005 act and 2014 bill were passed in response to this.
When reviewing an application, the commission looks closely at the founders’ financial situation and criminal history. There are also a number of key requirements for applicants: games must be fair and transparent, ensured by an rng system; only licensed games are allowed; all necessary conditions for safe and responsible gambling must be met; restrictions for minors must be in place.
No company or organisation can legally provide gambling services to british players without the approval of the commission. If a company wishes to offer gambling services in britain, they must apply and be granted a licence from the ukgc. However, getting a gambling licence from the uk gambling commission is no easy task. It is an involved process that looks deeply into a company’s background before approving any licence. The commission takes this responsibility very seriously and will only approve a company for a gambling licence if they can show a clear ownership structure, demonstrate sufficient financials and the ability to pay out prizes, have integrity, are sufficiently competent to provide the services they offer, and do not have any criminal record. What’s more, if companies break any of the regulations set out by the ukgc, their gambling licence will be revoked — preventing them from being able to legally provide gambling services in great britain.
The uk gambling commission is one of the most diligent gaming authorities in the world and has several key areas of focus, including: protection of player funds — ensuring that licence holders keep customer funds segregated from business/operating funds. Player identification — ensuring that licence holders put steps in place to verify the age of online players. Player protection — ensuring that licence holders are aware of (and comply with) measures for protecting players with problematic gambling behaviour. Fair gambling — ensuring that licence holders only use software (including games and proprietary os) supplied by licensed software providers. Honest marketing — ensuring that licence holders do not offer misleading promotions or advertisements. Cash handling — ensuring that licence holders take action to prevent money laundering and only utilise safe and legal payment technology. Customer service — ensuring that licence holders have systems in place to log customer complaints and resolve issues.
If online gambling operators do not comply with the gambling commission’s rules, they could have their licence taken away and could be investigated or prosecuted.