UK Gambling Commission
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) was established under the Gambling Act of 2005 to regulate the British gambling industry. The regulator’s remit covers online gaming, land-based casinos and bingo. Since 2013, the UKGC also replaced the National Lottery Commission as the regulator of the National Lottery. The UKGC is often said to be a prime example of gaming regulator best practice and has set a benchmark for regulatory authorities across the world. The majority of online casinos recommended by Casinos to Play are UKGC-licensed.
Types of Licences
The UKGC regulates gaming, betting, lotteries and offers different operating licences for each of these activities. All gambling activities operating without relevant licences issued by the UKGC are considered illegal.
Operators that wish to provide gambling products to UK residents are required to acquire one of the following licences depending on what the operators want to offer:
- Casino operating licence
- Bingo operating licence
- General betting operating licence
- Pool betting operating licence
- Betting intermediary operating licence
- Lottery operating licence
Other than activity-based licences, gambling firms are required to obtain Personal Management Licences (PML) for their senior employees. This means staff members who are responsible for key business areas including financial budgeting, strategic planning and regulatory compliance will not be allowed to make operational decisions without an approval for a PML.
Applicants have to undergo a detailed and thorough procedure in order to apply for an operating licence. The first thing they have to do is to identify the gambling activities they want to offer. Next, they have to provide a UK address at which the Gambling Commission can send documents to them. Applicants are also required to inform the regulator of their previous convictions and offences.
Gambling operators looking to apply for a UKGC licence are advised to carefully consider and seek legal advice regarding the application process, including the forms they have to fill in and the details they have to provide.
The UKGC observes the identity and ownership, finances, integrity, competence and criminality of an applicant to decide its suitability.
The UKGC plays the role as a mediator between casino sites and players. They offer a comprehensive FAQ section to help players protect their safety. Gamblers should be able to resolve most disagreements by approaching the online casino, but in case of an ongoing dispute, players are encouraged to get in touch with the Gambling Commission.
Latest Development of the UK Gambling Commission
Following the merger with the National Lottery Commission in 2013, the UKGC has been bearing the responsibility to implement the 2014 Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act.
Tailored to tighten the regulation of gambling advertising in the UK, the law requires all gaming companies that offer gambling products or advertise to UK residents to apply for an operating licence from the UKGC. This means operators have to be licensed by the regulator if they wish to enter the UK regulated gaming market, even if they are based abroad. The latest regulation applies to all forms of advertising, including TV advertisements, sponsorships or physical installations.
Shall I Trust the UK Gambling Commission?
The UK Gambling Commission is known to be one of the world’s most diligent gambling regulator. They specialises in a couple of areas, such as:
Protection of Player Funds: The UKGC ensures that their licensees are keeping customer funds segregated from operating funds.
Player Protection: Licensees are required to comply with measures for protecting problem gamblers. Also, the UKGC makes sure licence holders have systems in place to handle customer complaint and resolve disputes.
Fair Gaming: Licensees are only allowed to use gaming software provided by licensed software developers.
Honest Marketing: The UKGC keeps the regulated gambling market free from misleading promotions or advertisements.
Cash Handling: Licence holders are required only to use secure and legal payment methods and have measures in place to combat money laundering.
Gaming companies that fail to comply with regulations established by the UKGC may risk having their licences revoked. They may even face investigation or prosecution.
You can get in touch with the Gambling Commission via email or phone. The contract centre is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm.
Full AddressGambling Commission
Victoria Square House
There is a handy PDF with directions on how to find the Gambling Commission in Birmingham. You can download this document here.