The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGB) has become one of the most respected and trusted online gambling jurisdictions in the world – we explain what the UKGB does and the best casino sites licensed by this leading jurisdiction.
UK licensed online casinos
About the UK Gambling Commission
The United Kingdom Gambling Commission is the key authority responsible for overseeing all forms of gambling within Great Britain, both online and offline, while also regulating the National Lottery. Running under the laws of the UK Gambling Act of 2005, the commission issues gambling licenses and oversees the operation of the people and businesses that provide gambling services. It also ensures all gambling operators wishing to advertise services within Great Britain obtain a license in accordance with the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014.
The Commission operates out of headquarters in Birmingham, England and employs over 250 staff members. It is an independent non-departmental public body (NDPB) sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
When it comes to online gambling laws, no other place in the world is as well-regulated as the United Kingdom. Rather than trying to stop online gambling, the UK embraced the fact this new activity is here to stay and made the smart move to regulate the industry to protect its players and stop gambling revenue from going offshore.
What does the United Kingdom Gambling Commission do?
The major purpose of the UK Gambling Commission is to keep the online and offline gambling industry free from crime and safe and fair for players. The Commission’s main objectives are to:
- Prevent gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder, or being used to support crime
- Ensure gambling is conducted in a fair and open way
- Protect children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling
- Ensure the returns from the National Lottery are used for good causes.
The Commission aims to operate in a consistent and fully transparent way, putting the focus on the issues and businesses that present the greatest risk to the licensing objectives listed above.
When a vendor applies for a UK Gambling license, in addition to being compliant with all gambling laws, there are several licensing conditions and codes of practice they must comply with. Vendors will need to prove to the Commission they have practices in place to support social responsibility, anti-money laundering, technical standards, sector specific compliance and dispute resolution. The license conditions and codes of practice (LCCP) are amended regularly and it is the responsibility of the license holder to be aware of changes to the industry and emerging social responsibility information.
The UK Gambling Commission also provides services to the public, including information about how punters can control their gambling, seek help for gambling problems and avoid falling prey to scams and fraudulent gambling activity.
Technical standards for online casino operators
All online casino operators who apply for a UK Gambling license must adhere to strict software and technical standards to maintain their licensing. The technical standards enforced by the UKGB include conditions for:
- Customer account information
- Displaying transactions
- Rules, game descriptions and the likelihood of winning
- Rime-critical events
- Result determination
- Result determination for play-for-fun games
- Generation of random outcomes
- Auto-play functionality
- Skill and chance games with auto-play
- Interrupted gambling
- Limiting collusion/cheating
- Financial limits
- Time requirements and reality checks
- Responsible product design
- Information provision
Operators must also comply with a testing strategy to ensure random number generated (RNG) software is fair and unbiased, and submit the results of their test to the Commission as evidence they are satisfying the testing requirements.
What isn’t the UK Gambling Commission responsible for?
While the UKGB is responsible for overseeing the licensing and regulation of gambling operators, there are several things which do not fall under the responsibility of the Commission:
- The United Kingdom Gambling Commission does not get involved with customer complaints, as operators who hold a UK license are required to have procedures in place for handling such disputes.
- It does not provide legal advice to help gambling operators develop business models or ideas, but will supply general information about the laws of the UK Gambling Act.
- It does not regulate spread betting – that is the responsibility of the Financial Conduct Authority.
It’s important to note the UKGB is not responsible for regulating all online gambling sites. Only those online casinos which trade with or advertise to players in Great Britain are subject to operating within the confines of the UK Gambling Commission license.
How to tell if a casino is licensed in the UK
A license from the United Kingdom Gambling Commission is the best online casino license on the market, so if a vendor is licensed by the UKGB it will proudly display this information on their site. You can usually find this information listed at the very bottom of the online casino’s homepage, along with any other certification and software information.
Click on the UKGB logo (usually just showing as Gambling Commission) and you will be able to view the details about the casino’s license, including its official address, all trading names, licensing type and most importantly, its current license status and whether it has any compliance misdemeanours, sanctions, warnings or past issues.