State of Online Gambling In The UK In 2021

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) is the regulatory body that oversees all gambling activity in the UK. This includes online gambling, which is legal. The UKGC was created as part of the Gambling Act 2005 and is considered one of the best-organized gambling regulatory bodies in the world. If an online casino displays a license issued by the UKGC, you can be guaranteed that the site was carefully reviewed as the standards set by the UKGC are some of the highest in the industry. This means that anyone planning on providing online casino activities within the UK must first apply for a license to operate from the UKGC.

More On The Gambling Act 2005

Although there have been regulations in the past related to gaming activities in the UK, it was the Gambling Act 2005 that set in place an updated set of regulations to deal with the changes that have occurred in the gambling landscape. The primary change to the Act was a system of licensing casino operators and providing the means to protect gamblers. The Gambling Act 2005 has three main goals related to betting sites in the UK. They are:

Goal #1

To prevent gambling from becoming a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime, disorder, or as an accessory to a crime.

Goal #2

To ensure that gambling is conducted fairly.

Goal #3

To protect children and other vulnerable individuals from being harmed or exploited by gambling.

The UKGC has strict criteria that gambling operators must meet as part of the licensing process. They must be able to provide proof that they are already financially stable and can maintain that financial stability, and can offer players fair games. One more interesting element to come out of the Gambling Act 2005 is that licensed operators are permitted to advertise their sites within the UK. This is why it is not unusual to see at least one advertisement per sporting event promoting a UK-licensed sportsbook, online casino, or bingo site. While this kind of promotion is not allowed in many other countries, the Gambling Act 2005 in the UK has made it possible for these operators to be able to promote themselves in a way that benefits their operation.

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More On The UK Gambling Commission

As stated, the UKGC came to be through the Gambling Act 2005. It is tasked with overseeing all forms of land-based and online gambling within the country. The only exception is something called spread betting. This form of gambling is the responsibility of the Financial Conduct Authority. The three main goals of the UKGC outlined above, provide the regulatory body with its direction. The UKGC has also implemented a system that addresses the influx of out-of-country, commonly referred to as offshore, online gambling sites. Offshore sites are those that are licensed in other parts of the world and target places like the UK for new players and use various promotions and bonuses to attract them. Offshore sites are technically illegal to join depending on where you live. The UKGC has developed something they call their Whitelist. It is the mechanism the UKGC uses to deal with offshore sites.

Details On The Whitelist

Foreigners and non-UKGC licensed gambling operators are prohibited from marketing their services to potential new customers in the UK. This provision comes straight out of the Gambling Act 2005. The UKGC has developed something they call a whitelist. This whitelist provides exceptions to the advertising ban and is only for specific jurisdictions that have demonstrated that they meet the Gambling Act 2005 strict standards. Gambling operators with services based in the following areas are considered whitelisted which allows them to promote their gambling sites in the UK.

– Alderney

– Antigua and Barbuda

– EEA (European Economic Area) Countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK

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– Gibraltar

– Isle of Man

– Tasmania

According to the UKGC, the countries that have been whitelisted have regulations that are strict enough for online gambling that the commission feels that operators with licenses from any of these jurisdictions will meet or exceed the standards in place and enforced by the UKGC. This happens to be a controversial decision as many government officials have taken the blanket whitelist concept to task. The issue stems from the fact that members of the UKGC have not physically been to many of the whitelisted territories to verify whether the standards are as strict as they have been stated. The whitelist has also come under fire from other government leaders who argue that it goes against the goal of the Gambling Act 2005 that states foreign operators will not be permitted to set up a gambling business in the UK. Not much ground has been covered on either argument and the whitelist continues to be in force.

Final Thoughts

Gambling in the UK is alive and well. Gamblers have many choices ranging from land-based to online opportunities. The UK regulated the gambling landscape with the adoption of the Gambling Act 2005. That outlined three primary goals of the commission. One is to keep unlicensed, foreign operators from setting up a business within the UK. However, the commission has also created a whitelist where gambling operators in certain foreign countries are permitted to solicit customers in the UK. It is a bit confusing when you consider that the whitelist goes against one of the primary goals of the Gambling Act. However, there has not been much turmoil as a result, and it is safe to say that gambling in the UK will continue to take place and that the UKGC is watching it closely. Will there be any changes in the future? Of course, there will be but nothing seems to be on the horizon and for UK gamblers, that is a good sign that they will be able to keep playing at the online casino of their choice.

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