UK Gambling Commission

Of all the governing bodies that regulate online gambling, the UK Gambling Commission seems to be the largest. This governing body from the UK regulates different forms of gambling and supervises the gaming law in Great Britain. It covers lotteries, bingo games, casino games, slot machines, casinos, as well as remote operators.

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The UK Gambling Commission issued highly-valued licenses to online casinos across Europe and the world and collaborates with the authorities to prevent illegal gambling and organized crime.

The UK Gambling Commission replaced the previous Gaming Board for Great Britain in 2007 and is supervising and regulating the National Lottery since 2013. It’s one of the most-respected governing bodies for online gambling, working under strict laws and regulations casinos must adhere to if they want to get the most powerful license in the industry.

What does the UK Gambling Commission deal with?

The UK Gambling Commission’s motto is “Keeping gambling fair and safe for all”, and it perfectly describes its actions. The body prevents gambling from being a source of crime while ensuring it is conducted in a safe and fair way. It also prevents underage gambling and protects vulnerable persons from gambling exploitation.

UK gambling commission
The UK gambling commission

With more than 2,500 operators in an ever-growing and changing industry, focusing on all problems at once is impossible. In order to make sure all gambling activities are safe, the UK Gambling Commission prioritizes problems so it can reduce the risk by recognizing the scale of the threat and the risk it poses. At the same time, the Commission is developing new regulatory requirements with relevant authorities as a way of neutralizing potential risks.

On the other hand, the UK Gambling Commission doesn’t resolve consumer complaints nor does it give legal advice except for general information about the Gambling Act and its goals. The Commission issues gambling licenses but doesn’t issue premises licenses, which are issued by other licensing authorities.

Notable Actions

The UK Gambling Commission is the biggest and most-respected governing body that regulates gaming in the UK. With hundreds of licensees under its control, it has been involved in a number of high-profile cases. In 2018, the UK Gambling Commission fined famed bookmaker William Hill £6.2 million for failing to protect players after failing to prevent money laundering.

Also in 2018, the Commission fined major gaming operators LeoVegas and 32Red for misleading adverts and failing a problem gambler respectively, which shows that it’s a respectable body that doesn’t favor any operator, not even the biggest ones. It constantly investigates various gambling-related problems which might harm players – most recently, the UK Gambling Commission investigated a possible link between loot boxes and exposure to gambling, refuting media assertions that the former is a gateway to gambling.

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Application Process

Any potential gaming operators can apply for a UK Gambling Commission license through a simple online portal which contains all the documents and general information about the license. Aptly named eServices, the self-serve portal offers 3 different services – for licensed gambling services, business or personal license, and eServices for personal license holders.

The whole process takes about 16 weeks to complete in case the operator provides all the information the Commission needs. Once the application is submitted, the UK Gambling Commission will start its screening process. It will verify the identity and ownership of the business, conduct a full review of its finances, integrity, and competence, and also do a background criminal activity check. It will also make sure that the policies adhere to its strict licensing objectives.

As the Commission issues licenses to UK-based operators, all remote operators must provide a correspondence address on UK soil.

Once issued, the license lasts indefinitely unless it is revoked, suspended, surrendered or forfeited. There is an annual fee involved which must be settled 30 days after the license has been issued. In case the application is refused, gaming operators can write an appeal to the HM Courts & Tribunals Service.

History of the UK Gambling Commission

The 2005 Gambling Act established the Gambling Commission, although it went live in 2007, overtaking the regulation in different areas of gambling including lotteries, slots, betting, arcades. The new body doesn’t regulate spread betting, though – the Financial Conduct Authority does. The Gambling Commission is sponsored by the Department of Culture, Media, and Sport, headed by MP Matthew Hancock.

The UK Gambling Commission also regulates remote gambling including online betting on UK territory. In 2013, the Commission absorbed the National Lottery Commission, overtaking its responsibilities of regulating the National Lottery. The Gambling Commission has more than 300 employees in their main office in Birmingham, with a further 40 home-based employees in Scotland, Wales, and England.

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