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Is Online Gambling Legal in the U.K?

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All countries have online gambling laws, including the UK. In the UK there is legislation to protect its gamblers and operators. Gambling is very popular in the UK and a fair amount of it now happens online. 

What is online gambling? 

Gambling is when people risk money or anything of material value on an event with an unsure outcome. Their intention for doing so is to win. Online gambling is when players use the internet to place their bets. 

Online gambling in the UK

In the UK online gambling is not only legal but well regulated. Gambling has a long history in the UK and instead of criminalizing it, the government focuses rather on creating a safe environment for gamblers. The Gambling Act of 2005, provides a suitable framework for legislating and monitoring gambling of any kind, both land-based and online. 

If you live in the UK, the Act means you can legally participate at any online casino or establish a gambling service. The only qualification for being allowed to gamble is that a player must be over 18 years of age. 

Photo by Alessandro Bogliari on Unsplash

How online gambling is regulated in the UK

When the Gambling Act was passed in 2005, the UK Gambling Commission came into being to make sure that what was in the Act could be practically applied. It is there to ensure that every type of gambling happens in a safe and fair manner. 

The Act also ensures that children are protected. In fact, the commission recently made changes that require operators check a person’s age before they gamble, not afterwards. This adds another protective layer for vulnerable young people. 

If an operator wants to offer games to UK citizens, it has to have a licence issued by the commission and certain requirements have to be met. The operators who have licences are also carefully monitored to make sure they comply with regulations. 

In 2014 the legislation was updated and all remote gambling operators who wanted to offer services to UK customers now have to have a licence from the commission. The law now regulates the supply point rather than the consumption point in instances of remote gambling. 

Image: Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash

What else you need to know about gambling in the UK

  • Each online real money casino must display the fact that they have a licence on their websites. When you click on the logo of the Gambling Commission, you are taken to the UKGC website where you can see the details. 
  • The UK government approves some remote jurisdictions, such as Tanzania and Gibraltar, because they meet the necessary gambling standards. They are placed on a whitelist and are able to offer UK citizens gambling services.
  • A benefit you have in the UK as an online gambler is that you do not have to pay tax on any of your winnings (even at $1 deposit casino). The government does tax online casinos but this does not affect the players. 
  • The legislation also requires online casinos to watch the ways in which they advertise. They can’t mislead players with false promises or spam internet users. If they break the rules, they can be prosecuted and receive hefty fines. This gives players more of a sense of security. 

A final word

Thanks to the strength of its regulatory commission, UK-based casinos are some of the safest in the world. UK citizens are able to enjoy online gambling knowing that they are protected and the online casinos also benefit because the number of players is growing all the time. The UK economy also benefits from online gambling so it is a win-win situation for everyone. 

 
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