United Kingdom

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The United Kingdom is a fully licensed and regulated region All operators providing gambling services to UK punters must obtain licensing from the UK Gambling Commission.

The UK Gambling Commission is an independent non-departmental public body which was created as a result of the Gambling Act 2005 as a means to regulate commercial gambling alongside licensing authorities. The commission employs more than 200 employees throughout England, Scotland and Wales and receives funding from sponsorship by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and fees paid by licensees. As of October 1, 2013, the Gambling Commission replaced the National Lottery Commission as regulator of the National Lottery per the National Lottery Act 1993. Spread betting is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

The responsibility of the commission is to ensure fairness as well as combat corruption and underage gambling in the industry. Operators granted licensing in the UK must meet the standards of both the Gambling Act and License Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP). The commission also works as an advisor to the government and partners with licensing authorities, law enforcement and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

In terms of licensing, operators throughout Great Britain may apply for licensing for the following services:

  • Arcades
  • Betting
  • Bingo
  • Casino
  • Gambling Software
  • Gaming Machines
  • Lotteries
  • Remote Gambling via British based equipment

As with regulators in most regions, the UK Gambling Commission does not step in to settle player complaints or provide legal advice.

The Gambling Licensing and Advertising Act 2014

The Gambling Licensing and Advertising Bill was presented to Parliament in May 2013 to improve online gambling in the UK. Royal Assent was received a year later as of May 14, 2014 and requires all operators transacting within the UK market to apply for licensing from the Gambling Commission also making them subject to regulation.

These new rules will mean that although an operator is licensed in Curacao, for example, they will be required to obtain a remote gambling license in order to continue to serve UK punters. The new regulations are designed to protect players ensuring that there is a full understanding of their rights when dealing with online casino etc.; however numerous operators withdrew from the UK market, either permanently or until they are able to meet requirements, as a result of such new regulations.

Changes to the structure of online gambling regulations in the UK, effective November 1, 2014, were initially pushed back from its original October 1, 2014 implementation date due to a challenge from the government of Gibraltar.

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