UK Gambling Commission (UKGC)

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Online Gambling in the United Kingdom

When considering a UKGC licenced online casino in 2021, some things are par for the course; all must adhere to the highest standards of Responsible Gambling and equip players with a utility belt of time and spend limiting tools to help prevent gambling harm. The facility for reversing withdrawals has been phased out and, in the main, made payment processing more reliable. More recently, the Autoplay functionality has been removed from online slots and the landscape has grown tighter and more controlled.

As a result, when choosing your new UK online casino, you can rest assured many things will stay the same wherever you play. The subtle differences are where GMBLRS reviews come in handy. GMBLRS lists the good, the bad and the downright ugly that will help readers to make an informed decision.

Terms and conditions are scrutinised, sites, games and RTP evaluated, bonus terms checked and many have been tried and tested. As always, remember to ‘Gamble Responsibly’ and ‘Take Time To Think’

GMBLRS no longer promotes UK Casinos. Any tracking links in our reviews are meant for players from countries accepted by the sites but outside the UK.

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UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) - A Brief Introduction

Although the United Kingdom had widespread gaming arcades and betting shop networks, it wasn’t until the Gambling Act 2005 when they set up the Gambling Commission. The mission was clear, regulate all forms of gambling in Great Britain. This includes operators and individuals within the United Kingdom that provide arcades, gaming machines, betting, lotteries, bingo, online gambling, casinos and even gambling software. They are also responsible for awarding the licence to run the National Lottery.

UKGC Screenshot

With the rapid growth of online gaming, the 2005 act was complemented in 2014 by the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act that requires any operator transacting with or advertising to British consumers to obtain an operating licence from the Gambling Commission. Until then, any operator outside the United Kingdom could offer remote gambling to any British player as long as they had a licence from another authority such as the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association or MGA Malta.

The UK Gambling Commission in 2024

Today, the Gambling Commission is an independent public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Their main objectives are to keep crime out of gambling, to ensure that gambling is conducted fairly and openly, and to protect children and vulnerable people.

To achieve its objectives, the UKGC has a range of laws, regulations and enforcement tools at its disposal. First and foremost, they are issuing licenses only to operators who meet the stringent criteria set forth in the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice. Further, they can levy fines and revoke licences as well as being tasked with investigating and prosecuting illegal gambling.

The benefits for players and betting patrons are apparent in such that they can enjoy their hobby in a safe and secure environment that is regulated by stringent norms. Whilst, the UKGC does not act as a dispute resolution arbitrator, it requires operators to designate a licensed arbitrator in their terms and conditions.

Further, the UKGC requires that player balances and money are held in separate accounts and payments cannot be limited to partial amounts per week or month. Last but not least, operators have to adhere strictly to the Social Code of Practice to protect vulnerable players and offer them a variety of tools to limit their gambling or activate an exclusion period.

The UKGC Policy on Responsible Gambling

The UKGC has a clear and detailed focus on combating the harmful effects of problem gambling. Playing at a UKGC licenced online casino means you will have access to limits for your spending and time, along with links to external sources of help including GAMSTOP. Self-exclusion periods are legislated to be carried out efficiently and see exclusion across a casino group, for better protection.

They enforce by imposing financial penalties, suspensions and settlements for licensees that breach rules relating to marketing, source of wealth and affordability, responsible gambling, and more. In recent times, the UKGC has tightened casino operations, banned the use of credit cards and removed the ability to reverse withdrawals. The latter helps to eliminate stall tactics previously employed by some casinos in the hope that players reverse their winnings.

New requirements for licence holders are scheduled to come into force on 31st October 2021. These promote better information on customers transactions, remove the autoplay functionality, tighten responsible product design by inhibiting ‘false win’ promotion and slow the speed of play.

UKGC - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. Is the UKGC a government agency?
2. Are the UKGC a strict licencing authority?
3. Is it easy to get a UKGC operating licence for a new online casino?
4. How do the UKGC protect players from gambling harm?
5. I am a UK player that uses autoplay, how will the removal of autoplay functionality in October 2021 help me?
6. What UKGC proposed changes will come into effect on 31st October 2021?
7. Do the UKGC uphold customer complaints?
8. What is the minimum game RTP I can expect from a UKGC licenced casino?
9. What documents can be requested from UK players undergoing KYC and SOW checks?
10. What are the benefits of playing at a UKGC licenced online casino?