Guide to UK Gambling Regulations

Gambling Regulations

The gambling industry is thriving in the UK, and a large part of its success is down to how well-regulated it is by the country’s gambling commission (UKGC). All operators offering gambling services and products need to be licenced and there are a number of safeguards in place to protect players.

The foundation of the UK’s regulated gambling market was set out in the Gambling Act of 2005; however, as this in-depth report highlights, there have been several important changes in recent times.

The Gambling Commission

From the 2005 Gambling Act, the UK Government established the Gambling Commission with the aim of comprehensively regulating commercial gambling operations in the UK. The Commission also regulates the popular National Lottery, which has been running since 1994.

In 2014, the Gambling Act, which centres around licencing and advertising, was made law. This made it illegal for an operator of gambling products to promote, advertise, and transact with UK residents without a UKGC licence.

Legal Gambling Activities in the UK

The UK is a lucrative market for gambling operators because it permits multiple forms of gambling. These can be broadly labeled into six categories, as follows:

  • Arcades
  • Sports betting, including horse racing
  • Lotteries
  • Casinos
  • Bingo
  • Gaming machines

*Spread betting, which is more commonly associated with stocks and shares, is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. The Gambling Commission has no legal power over this activity.

All operators must adhere to the LCCP (Licence conditions and codes of practice). Failure to do so will often result in a hefty fine, and in certain situations, suspension of the operator’s licence.

The minimum legal age for gambling in Great Britain is 18 years; however, an exception has been made for playing the National Lottery as that is set at 16 years. The reasoning behind this, according to the Government, is that the National Lottery is different from commercial gambling in that it offers ‘lower risk’ products and the primary focus is on generating money for good causes in the country.

Protect and Serve

While some believe the UK gambling market is too heavily regulated, it is worth highlighting that the Gambling Commission’s objectives are to keep the industry free from criminal behaviour, to ensure fair and transparent gambling services, and to protect vulnerable groups from the potential negative impacts of excessive gambling.

Affiliates marketers who work in the industry, promoting a range of gambling brands must also ensure that their content is honest and not misleading. In recent years, the Gambling Commission has come down heavy in this area, and many leading gambling companies have issued guidelines to these marketers as to what is and isn’t acceptable.

This is a positive step because it showcases the reputable player-acquisition websites, such as Casino Guardian which is known to be a leader in this field.

The good news is that the UK is happy to let its residents continue to gamble how they wish and operators cannot take advantage of players in any way. This creates a winning solution on both sides, in our opinion.

Paddy Power app

Weekly Free Bets with Paddy's Reward Club

18+ T&C's apply

Relevant news