UK Gambling Commission
The United Kingdom Gambling Commission is – the often much criticised – a gambling control body that oversees all forms of gambling in the United Kingdom. As well as new casinos, slots and bingo sites, the UKGC (as it is usually abbreviated to) oversees all gambling aspects aside from the lottery. This includes an online bookmaker and even real-world arcades.
As far as casinos that offer wagering services to people based in the United Kingdom are concerned, if you do not have a UKGC licence, you are operating illegally and could be facing a heavy fine. Via this piece, you will learn all about the UKGC, some of the legislation that this commission has passed, and why it often comes in for criticism as an organisation.
Why the United Kingdom?
First and foremost, we must explain that the United Kingdom Gambling Commission is not like other licence providers. It is SOLELY for UK online casinos, slots and bingo sites who wish to offer their services to customers and potential customers in the UK.
So, if a casino is based in Cyprus and wants to acquire a licence to enable them to offer their services to people in North America, there is simply no point in them acquiring a UKGC licence as legally, they would not be covered. They would have to apply for a licence from a provider such as the Alderney Gambling Control Commission instead.
The UK is a hotbed of gambling and always has been. The country, which is also commonly known as ‘Great Britain’ even though Great Britain and the United Kingdom are not the same things (Great Britain is the name of the main island that makes up the UK), consists of a union of four different countries – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Legally, they exist as one, although they all have their parliaments. You would need a passport to enter the UK, but you would not need a passport to move from England to Scotland.
At one stage Great Britain spawned a vast empire, ‘owning’ other countries such as India, Australia, Canada and even parts of the United States. These days the UK is much more isolated and even more so since the country voted to leave the European Union in 2016 (although they did not officially leave until 2019).
The United Kingdom and Tax
There are no tax benefits to owning or registering to online casinos in the UK, unlike the tax breaks associated with other similar territories such as Gibraltar or Curaçao. Most individuals and companies in the UK are taxed at a rate of 20 percent.
Companies that wish to make money from people in the UK register their companies via offshore business centres to avoid paying the higher business rates they would otherwise be liable for.
The United Kingdom and Gambling
As stated previously, gambling has always been prevalent in the UK. Betting on horse racing has been around since the 1500s. However, gambling began to become frowned upon in the 1800s, and it was banned except at racecourses on race days.
All this changed in 1960 was an act was brought in that permitted off-course gambling. At the same time, bingo was legalised. Betting shops and bingo halls erupted all over the country, which at the time was still struggling to recover from World War Two. Football pools became extremely popular too, as did the national lottery which was established in the 1990s.
The rise of new UK casinos caused an unprecedented increase in gambling in the UK. At the time, online gambling companies were free to offer their services to people in the UK as long as they had a recognised licence from a provider such as Curaçao eGaming or the Gibraltar Gambling Commission.
In 2014 the UK Government worked out to miss out on a huge chunk of revenue because non-UK licence providers could regulate UK-facing casino. The United Kingdom Gambling Commission was formed.
The United Kingdom Gambling Control Commission
The requirement for all UK-facing online casinos, slots sites, bingo sites and sportsbooks to have a UKGC licence changed the face of online gambling in the UK. Countless online sites withdrew from the UK market rather than going through applying for and paying for a UKGC licence.
Since 2014 the UKGC has taken many other steps to make the UK gambling market difficult for online gambling providers. These include a complete ban of credit card use at new UK online casinos and established ones, the banning of games being available for ‘free play’ or ‘play money’ and options to ‘buy features’ instead of winning them when playing some online slots.
The UKGC also comes in for constant criticising. People say they are more interested in making money (usually by levying massive fines if they prove a breach by a licensed site in their stringent conditions) doing what they are supposed to do in protecting vulnerable UK gamblers.
How to Apply for a UKGC licence
Applying for a UKGC licence can only be done online. Online gambling companies wishing to apply for a UKGC licence can do so via the UKGC site.
The UKGC for the Players
If you have a complaint about a UKGC-licenced online casino, slots, bingo or sports betting site, then you can contact the UKGC via their website. Be warned though as the UKGC has a terrible reputation for responding to player complaints.
It is hard to fathom how the UKGC has benefitted anyone, other than the UKGC. Their approach to helping problem gamblers seems to make gambling more difficult, however, like drugs addicts, people who ‘need’ to gamble will always find a way to gamble no matter how difficult it may become.
The UKGC has also had a detrimental impact on the UK gambling niche. Some people delight in this, but it’s hardly what the UKGC was set up for. Expect more turmoil in UK gambling markets in the future.
- UP TO 500 FREE SPINS ON STARBURSTRestricted in United StatesTerm & Conditions
For new depositing players only. Must be 18+ to play and a minimum deposit amount of £20 is required. The Spins are available for Starburst or Fluffy Favorites. The Wagering Requirements are 65x the bonus won. You may want to read more as additional T&C’s Apply.Visit CasinoRead Review
- 100% BONUS UP TO £200Restricted in United StatesTerms & Conditions
For new depositing players only. This bonus is for slot games only and must be 18 or above to register and deposit to play. The minimum deposit is £10 and wagering requirements of 40x times the bonus and deposit amount combined. Full T&C’s apply.Visit CasinoRead Review
- Restricted in United StatesTerms & Conditions
New depositing players only. 18+, Minimum deposit of £20/$20/€20. Bonuses that require a deposit, must be wagered 35x. The maximum bonus varies per deposit. The welcome package includes 3 deposits in bonuses. Full T&C’s apply.Visit CasinoRead Review
- Spin the Sailor Wheel & 50 Free SpinsAllowed in United StatesTerms & Conditions
First-time depositors only. Min deposit £10. Max offer: Bingo Tickets worth £40 (£40 to play BIG BANG) & 50 Pending Free Spins (Irish Luck, win cap of £1, wins are set at min £0). Pending Free Spins will be available once £5 of deposit funds have been wagered. Bingo Tickets/Free spins are valid for 7 days. All winnings are real money and cashable at any time. Full T&C apply.Visit CasinoRead Review
- UP TO €800 BONUS & 100 SPINSRestricted in United StatesTerms & Conditions
Offer valid on first 4 deposits. Offer only applies to new players 18+. Bonuses that require a deposit must have the bonus wagered 35 times. Winnings won with extra spins that require a deposit, have to be wagered 35 times your extra spins winnings unless stated otherwise. Bets on different games contribute differently to the compliance of the wagering requirements. Full T&C’s apply.Visit CasinoRead Review
- UP TO €300 BONUS & 150 SPINSRestricted in United StatesTerms & Conditions
This welcome bonus is for newly registered players on the first 4 deposits. The wagering requirement attached to this bonus is 35x the bonus amount. Bonus funds won from bonus spins require a wagering requirement of 35x the bonus amount. Bonus Spins from this promotion will be applied to Starburst. Full T&C’s apply.Visit CasinoRead Review
- UP TO €/£200 WELCOME BONUS & 100 SPINSRestricted in United StatesTerms & Conditions
New customers only from age 18+. Min. deposit: €10, Max. Bonus: €200, & Max. winnings: €500. Winnings from the free spins must be wagered 35x as well as deposit bonuses must be wagered 35x. Full T&C’s apply.Visit CasinoRead Review
- UP TO 300 BONUS SPINSRestricted in United StatesTerms & Conditions
For new clients only at the age of 18 or over. The minimum deposit is 10 EUR & the maximum bonus of 200 EUR. This welcome bonus carries wagering requirements of 40x time the bonus & deposit amount, it must be met before requesting a withdrawal. Max 5x conversion. Full T&C’s apply.Visit CasinoRead Review