UK Licenced Casino
Every new casino online needs a licence to operate legally. This includes brick and mortar casinos as well as online casinos.
Casino sites began popping up online around the beginning of the new millennium, which meant the laws and regulations had to be tweaked for this new medium. Around this period of time, gambling laws changed in the UK. This meant that they too needed to think about UK licenced casinos.
The Start of Gambling Regulations
Gambling had first been introduced in the UK in 1960 with its own Gambling Act soon following. This restricted the residents gambling behaviour. People were only allowed to partake in games of bingo and the lottery. Mainstream casino and new slots games were not present and there was nowhere available to partake in these types of games .Players took part in gambling activities within their own homes. That all changed 45 years later.
It became legal for residents to gamble in the UK in 2005 with the introduction of the new gambling act. This meant that people could open up casinos, gambling shops and online casinos as well as advertise these as places of business. To oversee these new practices, the UK Gambling Commission was founded.
This has seen a rise in gambling activity of almost 35% each subsequent year.
2021 UK gambling laws
With the new gambling act came some new laws. These must be followed in order to run a UK licenced casino and these are regulated by the UK Gambling Commission. These laws are:
- The legal gambling age: the legal age of gambling in the UK is 18 years or older. Both players and casino workers must be above this age. The only exception to this is the National Lottery where players can start buying tickets at the age of 16.
- Licence: the casino or casino site must hold a valid licence given by the UK Gambling Commission
- Advertising: the casino must also comply with advertising regulations. This comes into practice with the code for Socially Responsible advertising set up by the UK government.
- Tax: all UK casinos and betting shops must pay 15% tax on all money made from their business.
These are the laws that need to be upheld in order to keep hold of the UK casino licence. In order to gain one of these licences, all gambling establishments must follow the rules and conduct of their business.
Gambling licence regulations
To obtain a valid UK gambling licence, the establishment must meet these guidelines. This is also true of online casinos.
All gambling machines must meet their countries Commissions standards. These standards include timing regulations and rates of pay. It ensures that both brick and mortar and online casinos cannot rig the machines to reduce pay-outs.
Peer to peer gaming
This is an agreement that states that all players receive the same information upon signing up to the casino. Peer to peer gaming is a regulation that aims to provide the same standards and chances to all players. This means that no player has an unfair edge over another, especially when partaking in casino games against one another.
Disclosing the risks and rewards of gambling to players is paramount. This is usually done in the terms and conditions page that all new players are required to read when first signing up to use the casino or bookkeeper. All players must be aware that their wager of real money is at stake when they play and that there is no guarantee that they will win. The UK licenced casinos must lay out the fundamentals of gambling as a game of chance.
Fair and Transparent Terms and Practices
The casino must inform all players of any changes to the disclosure agreement or terms and conditions before they make any changes to these practices. This is done so that players still have the option to leave before they undertake activities or incur penalties they were not aware of.
Segregation of funds
The UK Gambling Commission requires all licenced casinos to hold all player funds in a bank account separate from the casino. These player deposits must remain here until the player loses them in a casino game. This is to stop the establishment or business owner spending deposits that are yet to be forfeit as per the wagering agreement.
Display of casino licence
The casino establishment must be able to display a valid gambling licence on request by the UK Gambling Commission. Players may also request the validity of this licence.
Penalties for breaking licence agreements
The UK Gambling Commission is tasked with upholding all the laws and regulations that UK Licenced Casinos must adhere to. Failure to comply with the law can result in punishment. These vary based on the seriousness of the breach and include:
- Gambling underage will result in a fine of £1,000
- Employing a person under the age of 18 in a place that provides gambling will result in a £5,000 fine or 1 year in prison
- Tampering with gambling machines or operating one without a valid casino licence will result in a fine of £5,000 or 1 year in prison
- Proving the means to gamble via games or a website without a casino licence will result in a £5,000 or 1 year in prison
- Not segregating funds can result in a £5000 fine or one year in prison
- Cheating on behalf of another player in contradiction of the peer to peer gaming regulation can result in a fine of £5,000 or 1 year in prison
These punishments are subject to change depending on the severity of the breach or multiple offences.
Changes/ to the laws
Since the 2005 Gambling Act in the UK, gambling has changed, mostly due to the shift in medium. 78% of all UK gambling now takes place at online casinos which comes with many advantages but also some difficulties. This has resulted in some changes to the UK Gambling Act in the past 15 years.
Ban on Credit Cards
The most recent change that UK licenced casinos must adhere to is the ban on using credit cards as a deposit method for casino games. In April of 2020, it became illegal for players to use and online casinos to accept credit card payments as a wager for casino games.
This happened for several reasons. One was that the online casinos were not receiving payments for the games. Credit is not real money, therefore the player o easily flake on payments putting the casino in trouble. For the player, it became easy to rack up large credit card debts and be unable to pay them. The ban on credit cards was enforced to protect both players and casinos.
Whilst the UK Gambling Act of 2005 lifted the ban on advertising gambling, TV ads were still illegal. However, in 2007 the Gambling Commission relaxed these laws and allowed online casinos and bookkeepers to advertise on TV after the local watershed (9 pm).
In 2008 the laws were relaxed further. These adverts for gambling were then allowed to appear on television at any time of day. In 2013, the Gambling Regulation reported a massive 700% increase in gambling activity across the country due to this change.
The UK government has a strong influence over UK licenced casinos. So much so that they introduced the Gamstop scheme shortly after the introduction of the 2005 Gambling Act. In 2006 it became law for all casinos to target players that have a known gambling addiction with advertisements for their business.
This is known as Gamstop, the process where a player can self-exclude themselves from all gambling influences and advertisements. A player in the UK that has had issues with gambling can receive an assessment form their doctor. This doctor can then declare them as a VIP, thereby stopping them from receiving gambling advertising and making local casino organisations know of the player’s self-inclusion.
Sections of the UK Gambling Act of 2005
Those curious about the Gambling Act of 2005 and UK licenced casinos can see the references to certain sections down below:
- Lottery games/pools: Section 48
- Private betting for non-commercial purposes: 48
- Equal chance in gaming regulations: 48
- Licenced Gambling age restrictions: 46, 47
- Machine upkeep and laws: 47, 48
Terms and conditions
It is the law that the UK licenced casinos must provide a terms and conditions page to inform players about the agreement they are getting into. These will detail everything you need to know about the laws and regulations and signing them absolves the online casino of any reliability for real money lost by the player.
That is why it is imperative to read all terms and conditions documents before making a real money deposit at any type of casino. Make sure that you fully understand these terms and the requirements that you, the player, must adhere to in order to undertake the act of gambling at the establishment.
Doing so will stop any unfriendly parties from taking advantage of your money and, most importantly, will reveal whether or not you are playing at a real UK licenced casino.