Is It Legal to Gamble in the United Kingdom?

All inhabitants and visitors of the UK have the right to access gambling platforms of their choice. The government moderates all parties using the national gambling commission. This body awards licenses to operators who meet all legal requirements. It also protects gamblers from being exploited by bookmakers. This article breaks down how the UK gambling scene works.

The State of the UK Gambling Industry

British society has always had a soft spot for gambling over the years. This hobby has now turned into a popular industry that contributes to the economy. The UK’s gambling business has become very competitive, inventive and diversified over the last decade.

Generally, the industry has witnessed a slight reduction in the popularity of brick-and-mortar casinos. However, the popularity of internet gambling has grown tremendously during the same period. Remote wagering has experienced an increase of approximately 15.5%. In March 2022, the gross gambling yield was reported to be £362.8m.

UK Gambling Laws as They Stand

The UK has always had gambling rules but they were scrapped and replaced with new ones in 2005. It’s these rules that are still used to manage today’s gambling industry. Let’s dig deeper to learn about UK gambling laws.

The 2005 Gambling Act introduced the current gambling laws for online and traditional gambling formats. The act is based around the EU’s pro-gambling laws. It ensures that the country provides a safe gambling environment, restricts underage gambling, while preventing crime and disorder. The legislative authorities use this act to enforce gambling laws.

The act demands that all operators that work in the UK market must have a valid license that is issued by the national gambling commission. The act allows residents to establish gambling companies as well as play sportsbooks, bingo sites, poker rooms, lottery sites and online casinos.

In 2014, the act was updated to include a new law. The update demanded that remote operators needed to possess a UKGC license. This document is required when they’re advertising their gambling websites or providing services. Prior to 2014, foreign-based operators could provide services to British residents without needing a UKGC license. This means that the improved law monitors remote gambling from the point of consumption and not supply.

The Government is working on improving the 2005 Gambling Act in order to refresh it. They’re hoping to fit into the digital age.

Types of Legal Gambling in the UK

The UK law breaks down regulated gambling into three categories: lotteries, gaming and betting. In the past, these terms were only limited to common law. However, they are now recognized in statute.

The 2005 Gambling Act recognizes these terms but it doesn’t define them exhaustively. For instance, the terms ‘betting’ and ‘gaming’ are defined broadly without explaining the underlying concepts of  ‘bet’ and ‘game’. This omission is deliberate and it is meant to give judges the flexibility of categorizing new emerging products. You’re likely to make big winnings if you use free spins no deposit in Ireland casinos.

The government permits the following legal and regulated gambling activities:

  • Poker and online poker
  • Pubs that offer gambling machines (C or D)
  •         Land-based slots and table games
  •         Private lotteries and National lotteries
  •         Horse racing betting – at bookmaker shops, online or on course
  •         Online sports betting and Sports betting
  •         Bingo and online bingo
  •         Online table games and slots

Is Online Gambling Legal in the UK?

Visitors and inhabitants of the UK are exposed to numerous versions of legal gambling.  Some of these options include remote (online) gambling, scratchcards, bingo, lotteries, betting and casinos.

In short, the United Kingdom allows most forms of gambling as long as the player is 18 years or older. In fact, some options (like small prize amusement machines and lotteries) can be played by individuals above 16. There are many new online casinos that are emerging every day and they’re offering easy ways to make money.

Final Thoughts

Many UK players prefer to use online gambling because of the numerous bonuses and convenience. The internet gambling industry is becoming a major contributor to the economy of the UK. This gradual revolution has caused an expansion of the UK’s gambling market, which is expected to exceed $80 million by 2024.

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