For those familiar with the global online gambling market, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) is probably the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of regulations. Even if you have not been invested in gambling laws, you must have come across the name of the UK regulator.
The United Kingdom has a long history of gambling. At the same time, the UK Gambling Commission is considered to be a strict authority in the world of online casinos. It is a trustworthy regulatory body whose licences mean that the operators and providers that have obtained them have met stringent standards and regulations.
So, without further ado, let’s find out all about the UKGC and the licences it issues.
What Is the United Kingdom Gambling Commission?
The Gambling Commission is a gaming authority that regulates the UK gambling market. It was established under the Gambling Act 2005. The UKGC regulates the individuals and businesses that provide gambling services in Great Britain, including the UK National Lottery.
One of the UKGC’s responsibilities is licensing the companies that offer various forms of entertainment online and offline. At the same time, the body advises the government and provides guidance to operators and gaming software suppliers.
The UKGC is committed to raising online gambling industry standards while ensuring safe and fair gambling and protecting minors and the vulnerable. In their efforts to create a socially responsible environment, the UKGC imposes fines of millions of GBP on those companies that breach the rules.
Failing vulnerable customers, not enforcing self-exclusion measures and money laundering failings are some of the most common reasons why online casino operators face severe financial penalties in the UK.
The licence suspension cases have been recorded as well, so stay with us to find out more about the history of the UKGC and its responsibilities.
United Kingdom Gambling Commission History
As we have previously mentioned, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission was founded under the Gambling Act 2005. In 2007, it took over responsibility from its predecessor, the Gaming Board for Great Britain, to oversee various forms of entertainment.
As an executive non-departmental public body, the UKGC is sponsored by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. It regulates casinos, remote gambling, bingo and lottery operators, arcades, and sports betting. Besides, it regulates gaming machines and software suppliers in the UK.
In November 2014, the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 entered into force. It introduced a set of new requirements the operators who want to offer their online gambling services in the UK must meet.
For instance, foreign operators must hold a UKGC licence to offer gambling services and advertise them in Great Britain. According to the Act, remote operators must pay 15% of profit coming from transactions made by UK-based customers in Great Britain. In addition, sports clubs and governing bodies involved in gambling advertising in the UK can partner only with UKGC-licensed operators.
In April 2020, the UKGC banned credit cards for online gambling. The measure was introduced to prevent gamblers from playing online casino games with borrowed money.
Obtaining UKGC Licence
Those who want to operate an online gambling business in Great Britain can legally enter the market with a valid licence issued by the UK Gambling Commission. The procedure takes about 16 weeks, provided the applicant has provided all the needed information and met the requirements.
The regulatory body has listed all the required information on a page dedicated to the application process based on the type of service prospective operators want to offer. All applicants must have a business plan, bank statements for the last six months, proof of funding, and profit and loss projection for the next three years.
Gaming companies that want to run online casinos in the UK also have to pay licensing fees. When submitting their application, they need to pay an application fee calculated based on the services they want to provide. It starts at about £5,000 and goes up to ca. £15,000.
The application fee is not the only expense they have to reckon with. There is also a first annual fee due 30 days after the licence is issued. It can range from about £3,500 up to £50,000 per year, depending on the company’s turnover.
As of October 2021, annual fees for online gambling licences increased by 55%, while UKGC licence application fees increased by 60%. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport also removed annual fee discounts that had previously applied to combined and multiple licences as of October 2021.
Operators and Providers Licensed by UK Gambling Commission
About 200 online casino operators have a valid UKGC licence to offer their services in Great Britain. In addition, the UKGC register shows that more than 400 suppliers have obtained a licence to offer their gambling software in this jurisdiction. Microgaming, Playtech, Yggdrasil, Evolution and NetEnt are some of the companies whose products are available in the UK market.
Among licensed operators and providers, you will find some of the biggest names in the industry. If they want to offer their services in the UK market, they must comply with high standards set by the regulator. In addition, they have to apply responsible gambling measures, including a self-exclusion programme.
How to Find UKGC-Licensed Online Casinos?
To find an online casino that operates lawfully in the United Kingdom, you can browse the list available on our website. We have included some of the best gambling sites where you can enjoy the best games and take advantage of rewarding bonuses, promotions and loyalty schemes.
Alternatively, you can go to the UKGC register and look for casino operators with valid online gambling licences. All gambling sites licensed in the UK have the Gambling Commission badge in their footer.
Why Play at UKGC-Licensed Online Casinos?
If you are a UK resident, choosing a licensed online casino is the best option for you. You will have peace of mind while enjoying casino games in a safe and fair environment. At the same time, you will be able to contact the regulator and make a complaint if you believe your rights have been violated.
Needless to say, all UKGC online casinos accept GBP and support payment options suitable for UK players. Some of them are PayPal, Pay By Phone, major debit cards and more.