If you're opening a brick-and-mortar casino or starting a casino online in the UK, then you will need a license from the leading gambling authority in the country – from the United Kingdom's Gambling Commission. This commission regulates all gambling activities in the country but does not grant planning permissions for bookmakers' shops. This kind of task falls upon local authorities.
In today’s brief review, we’ll tell you a bit about the history and jurisdiction of the Commission, as well as their goals and aims.
The UK Gambling Commission officially came to be in 2005, thanks to the Gambling Act that was passed that year. However, the Commission did not assume full powers until 2007. By that time, it had taken over the responsibilities of the Gambling Board for Great Britain. Since then, the Commission has overseen regulating sports betting, arcades, slots, casinos, both brick-and-mortar and online, and, starting from October 1st, 2013, it had assumed the responsibilities of handling and regulating the national lottery when National Lottery Commission became a part of its regulating body. Lastly, it should be said that the Gambling Commission is an executive non-departmental body, with its parent department being the Department of Culture, Media, and Sport.
Victoria Square House
Birmingham B2 4BP
Phone: 0121 230 6666 (in the UK)
International Callers: +44 121 230 6666
Contrary to the full name of the regulatory body, the UK Gambling Commission does not include all parts of United Kingdom. The Gambling Commission is responsible for governing gambling operations in Great Britain, but it does not have jurisdiction in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland has got their own regulating body. The Gambling Commission also doesn't extend to Commonwealth nations – they all have their own regulatory bodies.
The first and foremost aim of the UK Gambling Commission is to keep the gambling crime-free, open and fair. They’re also tasked with protecting children and prevent people from developing a gambling addiction. Indeed, whenever you open an online casino page, on the bottom you will find a warning and a plea that you ask for assistance if you feel yourself getting addicted.
Seeing as the Commission issues licenses, it can also revoke them. In the pursuit of fairness and end to manipulation, the Commission is also investigating casinos to prevent illegal gambling and slot manipulation. It can also issue fees and fines to those who break the law and commit an infraction. Lastly, the Commission advised the government, both national and local, on various gambling issues and problems.
The regulatory body also deals with remote gambling. If a casino is based in the Great Britain and has all its equipment in the country, the Commission will issue a license without any problem. Conversely, if a gambling operator is looking to expand and include players from Great Britain, they must obtain a special license, as stated in the Gambling Act of 2014. Any company trying to include Great Britain in their operations must hold the Commission's license, while that was not required before 2014. Such a company would also have to procure a license from Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association.
To ensure everything is running smoothly, the Gambling Commission has field agents that commit to visiting casinos and other establishments to inspect their operations. During these inspections, the Commission can advise the establishment on changing their operations and make amendments to follow the law. Should the establishment break a law, various penalties might be imposed on it, ranging from monetary fees, all the way to having their license revoked. Some operators can get blacklisted, and all persons and operators that have received a penalty or have been sanctioned are displayed in the Gambling Commission's official website.
With all said and done, it should be noted that the UKGC does not accept nor manage player complaints. These complaints are redirected to Alternative Dispute Resolution services. However, all these services are approved by UKGC too. But, be advised – all ADRs are independent, and their efficiency may vary. Depending on what ADR does a casino use, you will have a different experience.
Lastly, the UKGC is concerned about player safety. The regulatory body pays special attention to protection against cyber-theft. This is of vital importance to the UKGC, and many online casinos seek to protect their channels with SSL encryption, and the UKGC will settle for nothing less. Also, the UKGC advises the casinos to be audited by external authorities, to ensure fairness, and to make sure the data doesn’t get manipulated.
Well, that’s it for the United Kingdom Gambling Commission. To reiterate, this is, as for 2007, the most relevant gambling regulation body. The task of this authority is to review casinos and make sure they operate within the boundaries of the 2005’s Gambling Act. The Gambling Commission regulates the national lottery, as of 2013.
There is no casino and no gambling establishment that can run without the say-so of the UKGC. However, this regulatory body doesn't cover all United Kingdom (they have no jurisdiction in the Northern Ireland), and they don't cover ADRs. Aside from that, they handle all licensing, license reviews, fines, and crime and fraud prevention.