The UK Gambling Commission is the online gambling regulator for UK. If you are looking to play online casino games from the UK, make sure to learn all about their licenses and which online casinos are licensed by the UK Gambling Commission.
Online Casinos Licensed by UK Gambling Commission
In accordance with the 2005 Gambling Act, the UK Gambling Commission is the regulatory body that licenses and oversees all gambling activities in the entire UK. As such, any online casino that wishes to operate legally within the UK is required to apply for an online casino license with the UK Gambling Commission.
To this date, over 100 online casinos have applied and received the license, while many others did not pass the strict requirements of the Commission.
About UK Gambling Commission
The history of gambling stems back hundreds of years in the United Kingdom of Britain. It has over the centuries become knitted into the very fabric of their society. Gambling is so much a part of the of the culture, that the UK boasts over double the number of online gamblers than all of Europe put together. This is a major feat, considering the diminutive size of the country. The UK makes up for only 8.85% of the entire population of Europe yet dominates the market so doggedly.
Obviously, this creates an environment that could go awry without the presence of some hefty regulations to keep the order and the peace. It’s in a country like this that ‘rogue casinos’ would feast on if no laws were enforced to prevent this from happening.
The United Kingdom raised its effort to curb gambling malpractice and put into place one of the best regulating authorities in the world today, ‘The UK Gambling Commission’.
“Minor Mass: The United Kingdom is a small mass of land making up a mere 2.4% of Europe’s entire land mass. Gambling must be a side effect of living on a heavily populated Island, because the UK tops the charts for the number of gamblers per capita, with approximately 21 million active online players.”
GAMBLING REGULATION RECEIVES EXTRA MUSCLE
The UK Gambling Commission was empowered under the Gambling Act of 2005, to regulate gambling of all forms within the borders of the UK, with a special interest and attention to online gambling. It officially started regulating in 2007, taking over from the previously less empowered gambling board that existed before-hand. In 2013, the commission merged with the ‘National Lottery Commission’ to produce a power house of legislation that stands as a benchmark in the industry today.
They exist primarily to:
- Ensure that gambling in the UK is crime free.
- Ensure gambling in the UK is fair and open.
- Ensure that children and people who are vulnerable to gambling are kept safe.
RESTRAINT BOOSTS REPUTATION.
The stringent practices and enforcement of the UKGC makes even the ‘Malta Gaming Authority’ look like a friendly puppy, in comparison. The UK government have tasked the commission to adopt a ‘no-nonsense’ approach to gambling governance.
The Licensing process alone show no BS approach!
Gambling operators cannot merely buy a one size fits all umbrella license to trade freely as a remote gambling licensee. Operators will need to apply for separate licenses, depending on the services and entertainment that they would like to offer:
- Betting (Like Sports Betting)
- Casino Games
- Gaming Machines
- Gaming Software
In addition to this, online gambling operators and casinos are also required to apply for Personal Management Licenses (PML) for all of their senior staff. This means that the commission will scrutinise anybody with the ability to make operational decisions at an online casino.
- And if this were not stringent enough, the criteria for license applications includes very detailed information, including:
- Provision of a complete company structure, including all shareholders owning more than a 3% equity.
- Details of all people involved in application for credit, criminal checks and ‘PML’.
- Evidence of how business will be funded (Cannot trade if you cannot honour payouts).
- Three-year projections with supporting assumptions.
- If you are an existing business, then 3 years of audited financial statements.
- A Business Plan
- List of policies and procedures to service your clientele efficiently and fairly.
- Technical compliance: All software and mechanisms must meet the industry standards.
“No papers = No Players! The UK expressly forbids any casino (domestic or abroad) from servicing residents of the United Kingdom without a UKGC license to do so.”
Death and Taxes!
Unfortunately, taxes are always something that businesses must face at some stage, but it really seams that the United Kingdom Gambling Commission are trying to minimise the number of vendors servicing its country.
Most casinos are taxed by the countries where they reside, but the UK passed consumption tax laws that force offshore casinos to pay a flat rate 15% tax on gross profits for servicing the UK.
WHAT ON EARTH DRAWS THEM?
With all of the stringent laws and heavy taxations in place to service UK online gamblers, you would wonder why the casino operators line up for UKGC licensing.
“Popularity despite the cuffs: The UKGC has around 1000 registered companies with remote gaming licenses and a list of over 200 gaming development firms also on board. Those are by no means numbers to smirk at.”
So, what draws the casinos in? Why would they even want to put up with stringent laws in place?
- Prestige: Being able to carry a UKGC license is a mark of superior gaming and service. The mark denotes that as a casino, they can be trusted as a premium brand.
- Population: The sheer number of registered online gamblers in the UK is motivation enough for casinos to find a way into the market. It is one of the biggest, if not biggest igaming market in the world, and an online casino’s chances of success increase when receiving this license.
- Pounds: Even after the ‘Brexit’ debacle, the pound is still an extremely strong currency. Offshore casinos stand to gain great investment when offering their services in GBP.
- Billions: The UK’s annual income from online gambling is around 4.5 billion GBP. Any share amongst registered operators is enough to take seriously.
- Protection: You can bet your bottom pound that the protection by the UKGC is not all one sided. Being affiliated to this iconic brand ensures safety and security to operators as well, to protect them from consumer abuse.
SO, WHAT CAN WE BET ON?
As consumers, the question must be levelled – What can we expect from licensed casinos, under the UKGC jurisdiction?
The laws dictating the industry generally give birth to the practices presented in the industry. The UKGC reputation of excellence and strictness can only then produce online casinos of the finest quality. The commission keeps a stiff hand upon 7 areas specifically, which will give us an understanding of what to expect from licenses casinos:
1. Protection of your money: Casinos must keep players funds separate from business and operational funds.
2. Your personal protection: Vulnerable players will be protected. Online casinos have controls in place to identify whether you have/are developing a gambling issue.
3. Player identification: Your children are sure to be protected, as the casinos must ensure that they are not paying out to underaged (under 18years old) minors.
4. Fairness: Casinos must be audited regularly to ensure that their software is reputable and non-biased. You can also rest assured that all UKGC casinos are using original licensed software and not pirate versions.
5. Safe Handling of Money: All UKGC casinos employ safe and efficient payment methods that can be used on their sites, to protect your money. The UKGC has no tolerance for crime and as such, keeps a keen eye out for money laundering and other devious practices.
6. Customer Service: All UKGC casinos guaranty an efficient method to log complaints and resolve issues, fairly and efficiently.
7. Honest Marketing: The UKGC is very strict on misleading marketing. No advert on TV, radio, internet or paper media can seem to suggest something without following through on the offer to the ‘T’. UKGC does not tolerate ‘bait and switch’ tactics that involve additional catches and fine-print. The way they sell it in the advert, is the way you can expect to receive it.
“Not just blowing smoke! The UKGC are not a commission that come with idle threats. They live up to their promises and just downright do their job. In January 2018, the gambling commission approached 17 online casinos about their inefficiency in controls exercised to root out money laundering, terrorist financing, and problem gambling. Five of these casinos face losing their licenses in this jurisdiction (Issue unresolved when going to press). This is proof that the commission is a pit bull!
DON’T DELAY, GO UKGC RIGHT AWAY!
We at GamblersPick would like to conclude that licensing under UKGC is amongst the finest licensing in the world. If any casino will treat you like royalty, it will be one that supports the jurisdiction of the British monarchy.
It is still advised that you read up, right here on our site, about experiences at UKGC sites, via our GamblersPick community reviews. Look out for the GamblersPick Select Badge to read one of our premium reviews.