Legal UK Online Casinos

best-uk-gambling-websitesThe UK has some of the most liberal attitudes to gambling and online gambling in the world. Brits can bet on roulette in their local betting shops, play poker in pubs, and go into many larger casinos without a membership.

Online is just as prevalent: UK-facing sites offer real-money casino games like roulette and blackjack as well as thousands of slots and instant-win games. As long as you are over 18 you can sign up and register a credit card in minutes. There are even multi-million pound progressive jackpots available to play for.

Let’s take a look at how online betting is regulated in the UK, and how you can stay safer when gambling.

Legal UK Gambling At A Glance:

Legal Age: 18 (National Lottery: 16)
Games Available: Slots, poker, bingo, sportsbetting, fantasy sports, lottery, casino
Regulating Body: UK Gambling Commission
Licensing Bodies In British Isles: Alderney, Isle of Man

The UK Gambling Commission

Set up in 2005 under the last Labour government as part of the new Gambling Act, the UK Gambling Commission was given powers to regulate gambling across Great Britain. It also provided a safe haven for approved offshore sites to advertise their services in the UK.

In came a relaxing of casino laws – paving the way for several large casinos around the UK – and more advertising on television. Poker was also permitted (for small limits) in pubs for the first time.

Main Objectives Of The UK Gambling Commission

– Issuing online and land-based gambling licenses in the UK
– Reacting to complaints about license-holders and operators
– Collecting details on illicit gambling activities
– Producing reports on gambling activity in the UK and fighting problem gambling
– Handing out fines to operators violating their gaming licenses

How Remote Licenses Are Issued

As well as issuing licenses to land-based casinos to operate in the UK, the Gambling Commission allows applications for remote casinos and gambling sites.

In November 2014, a new amendment was made to current gaming legislation. The Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 made it a legal requirement that any providers wanting to offer games to British gamblers would need their own UK licenses. In addition, operators based overseas would need to pay a tax on all consumer gaming if it came from the UK.

The move was intended to make consumers safer and make it easier for advertisers to know if an operator is allowed to promote their games in the UK. New licensees have to go through rigorous tests before being issued with a license to operate. This includes proving they have the funds to pay out all winners on their site.

It’s not just casinos and betting sites that need UK licenses. Some software developers have pulled out of the UK market altogether because of the new restrictions. If you are gambling online in the UK, you may not be able to find the same suite of games at the same site compared to a player based overseas.

It’s a legal requirement to have a UK license in order to offer British-based players real-money games like poker, bingo or roulette. Got an operation in mind? You can apply here for a license.

How To Deal With Complaints

The Gambling Commission has procedures in place if you want to make a complaint against an online gaming operator. If you are disagreeing about payouts, payments, or the way a bonus has been advertised, you can make an official complaint.

If you haven’t gotten anywhere with the casino’s own complaints department, you can contact the the site’s ADR (Alternative Disputes Resolution) entity. Each legal and UK-licensed site should have an ADR to handle disputes. Contacting an ADR is free of charge, and the Gambling Commission has an approved list of ADRs. (You can find the whole list here.)

If the casino or ADR still hasn’t resolved the issue, you can make a direct complaint to the Gambling Commission using the site’s complaints process.

Playing at Non-UK licensed Casinos

UK casino players can still enjoy gambling at sites that are licensed overseas. Many operators will block UK players – and some mobile providers too – from non-UK licensed sites, but there are still hundreds that will take British Sterling.

Other gambling jurisdictions like Curacao, Alderney and Malta issue licenses in different ways, with varying degrees of strictness over how diligently the sites must operate. External auditing of payouts and software is usually still required, and there will be complaints procedures in place if you are unhappy with a decision.

Picking The Right Sites

UK casino players never need to hunt around for that one website that will take their credit card payments. With so many legal choices available, there’s no need to resort to unlicensed or unproven casinos.

The hardest decision, in fact, is choosing where to play. As long as you are of legal age and don’t abuse the bonus terms, you can enjoy safe and secure gambling on your desktop or mobile phone.