Online Gambling Laws in the UK

Gamblers in the United Kingdom have it a lot easier than those in many other parts of the world. All forms of gambling, including online betting and gaming, are well-regulated, and the relevant legislation is pretty easy to understand. This is in stark contrast to some countries where the laws are confusing, and regulation is at a low level, or even non-existent.

UK residents can use the Internet for betting and gaming, knowing it is perfectly legal and that the sites they use are subject to strict standards of service. This provides a peace of mind that gamblers in other parts of the world simply don't enjoy.

More about the benefits of clear legislation and strong regulation are found on this page, along with details of what applies to online gambling in the UK.

The Gambling Act 2005

The Gambling Act of 2005 established many of the laws and regulatory processes related to online and offline gambling that still apply in the UK today. A key aspect of the act was the formation of the Gambling Commission. This organization assumed the responsibilities previously held by the Gaming Board of Great Britain, and was granted the authority to license and regulate online gambling service providers.

The Gambling Commission was formed with stated objectives including the assurance that "gambling is conducted in a fair and open way." Among other things, they must check that the gambling sites they license use software that is fair for customers. Another notable objective is to "protect children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling."

Under the terms of the act, any gambling company based in the UK must be approved and licensed by the Gambling Commission in order to operate online. Any company based overseas and providing gambling services to UK residents must be licensed by a gambling authority approved by the Gambling Commission.

The Gambling (Licensing & Advertising) Act 2014

The most recent piece of gambling legislation brought into UK law was the Gambling (Licensing & Advertising) Act of 2014. First proposed in 2013, it took just over a year to be passed. It introduced a number of regulatory changes, the most significant of which is the requirement for any operator providing facilities for remote gambling in the UK to have a license from the Gambling Commission.

Under the terms of the Gambling Act 2005, as previously mentioned, an overseas-based company can provide online gambling services in the UK if licensed by an approved authority. This is no longer the case, however, and it must now be licensed directly by the Gambling Commission.

This may not seem like a particularly substantial change, but it is actually a very important one. It will help to ensure that a consistent set of rules and practices is adhered to by sites accepting UK customers. This should, at least in theory, lead to an improvement in the overall standard of these sites.

Benefits of Clear Legislation

There are several reasons why clearly-defined laws relating to online gambling is a good move. The simple fact that there is no confusion about the legality of online gambling is a major benefit. People can happily bet and play online without worry of breaking the law. Many gamblers in many countries would love to be able to do the same.

This legalized environment also allows for a strong regulatory framework to be implemented. This is exactly what has happened in the United Kingdom: gamblers have a level of protection lacking in other parts of the world. Any site found mistreating its customers is answerable to the Gambling Commission and has to prove it has acted correctly and in accordance with relevant standards.

In many ways, this makes it much easier to choose a gambling site if you live in the United Kingdom. Providing a site is properly licensed, you can feel confident that you will be treated well and almost certainly have a decent experience.

The fact remains that certain sites are better than others. We suggest taking a look at our recommendations if you would like to use one of the best.