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UK Gambling Commission: licensing and regulatory body

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission is a respected and trusted name in the online gambling industry. Created by the Gambling Act 2005, it is considered the pinnacle of sports licensing and safer gambling regulations.

UKGC only works with sportsbooks and online casinos that share its passion for transparency, fairness and security.

Want to find out more about the UK Gambling Commission, what they do and how they can help improve your betting experience? Read on as I highlight the UKGC licensing and regulatory body.

What is the Gambling Act 2005?

The Gambling Act 2005 is an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom which applies to all sports and online casinos operating in England, Scotland and Wales. Its aim is to control all forms of gambling and create a safe and fair betting experience for everyone involved, including customers and bookmakers.

The Gambling Act 2005 sets out the objectives of licensing, including preventing gambling from becoming a source of crime whilst ensuring its safety and promoting responsible gambling at all times. It covers various forms of gambling including online betting, fixed odds betting, casino, bingo and other favorite games.

Failure to comply with the rules of the Gambling Act 2005 could result in penalties for a business. The law includes provisions to protect young people from exposure to gambling, which extends to the advertising of betting products.

Three guiding principles of the Gaming Commission

I will now highlight the three most important features of the Gambling Commission, demonstrating how it makes gambling fun, safe, transparent and age-appropriate for all UK licensed bookmakers.

  1. The Gambling Commission’s first guiding principle is to prevent gambling becoming a source of crime or disorder in the UK. Examples could be money laundering, betting on minors and identity theft. The UKGC guidelines ensure bookmakers know their customers, understand betting patterns and can detect suspicious activity.
  2. Another important feature of the Gambling Commission guarantees punters a safe and transparent gaming experience. All UKGC licensed sportsbooks and online casinos share its high standards and pass regular compliance checks.
  3. The third key role of the Gambling Commission is to protect children and vulnerable people from harm or exploitation linked to gambling. All guests must provide photo identification, proof of address and other details proving they are over 18 years of age. The UKGC also protects children and vulnerable people from gambling adverts and other promotions on television, social media and other crucial areas.

How the UK Gambling Commission regulates the casino and betting markets

Regulating an entire gambling business in the UK is no easy feat. How does the UK Gambling Commission regulate the casino and betting markets? Let’s take a close look at some interesting methods and features of the Gambling Commission.

The UKGC issues operating licenses to sportsbooks and casinos, allowing them to trade with customers across the UK. The licenses cover both remote and in-person betting. A bookmaker must apply for a remote, non-remote or both license. The fees involved in these licenses depend on the type of license and the anticipated gross return of the game.

The UKGC’s job is to make betting as safe and responsible as possible. Bookmakers and punters have a role to play in helping to create a modern, secure and transparent industry, equipped to stand the test of time whilst remaining at the forefront of technology.

Types of licenses issued by the Gambling Commission

I briefly mentioned in the previous section that the UKGC offers different types of licenses depending on the nature of the business and the size of the bookmaker. Let’s now detail the available licenses.

Operating licenses

The UKGC issues operating licenses for physical and online gaming facilities. Businesses must apply for a remote or non-remote license, but can hold both types, allowing them to run betting shops and casinos as well as gambling sites and apps.

Personal licenses

The UKGC also provides personal licenses, called Personal Management Licenses (PML) and Personal Functional Licenses (PFL). Licensees must maintain their license by paying fees, following industry guidelines, and training staff on the changes.

Premises Licenses

The third type of license issued by the Gambling Commission is the premises license. Local authorities use it to better understand betting businesses operating in their areas and ensure they maintain high standards in everything from betting laws to noise complaints. This type of license is used by betting shops across the UK.

Licenses and licensees ensure that gaming remains fun, compliant and secure for all users, while helping to protect against minor or problematic bets.

Requirements for obtaining a license from the UKGC

What are the requirements to obtain a license from the United Kingdom Gambling Commission? We explain in more detail in this section of our article to show why you can trust all UKGC licensed betting apps and sites.

To obtain a UKGC license, a bookmaker’s owner must be aged 18 or over and target customers in the UK across all forms of betting, including sports betting, casinos, bingo, gambling halls, etc. arcade, etc. Businesses must apply for a license through the UKGC portal, with the process taking around 16 weeks.

Owners must provide supporting documentation with their license information, including details of business structure, management, identity, history and other important areas. Gambling companies must also provide an ownership structure diagram, management structure, group structure, share certificates, articles of incorporation, certificate of incorporation, constitution and memorandum of association.

There must be trust documents, partnership agreements, individual identity documents, policies and procedures, customer terms and conditions, gaming rules, copies of gaming licenses from other jurisdictions, policies and procedures. The details of the gaming software and the methods of providing the software are also essential.

History of the UKGC

The UKGC was created following the Gambling Act 2005, but did not assume full powers for two years, ultimately replacing the Gaming Board of Great Britain. It covers many large and popular forms of betting, including sports, casinos, lotteries, bingo and arcades, but it does not currently cover spread betting, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Financial Conduct Authority.

The UKGC is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Interestingly, the UKGC took over responsibility for the National Lottery in 2013 and continues to regulate the lottery today. In 2020, the UKGC investigated three license holders and its findings showed that bookmakers had not properly prioritized the safety of their members between 2018 and 2020. In 2021, the UKGC chief executive , Neil McArthur, has resigned from his position.

Remote gaming regulations

The UKGC first regulates remote gambling by granting gambling licenses only to companies that adhere to its strict guidelines. Even bookmakers headquartered outside the UK must hold a valid UKGC license to accept customers from England, Scotland and Wales. The different types of licenses mentioned earlier in this article ensure that the UKGC covers all the bases and that no fraudulent or dangerous betting apps slip through the cracks. The UKGC is responsible for creating a legal gaming landscape that is the envy of the watching world.

The remote technical standards used by the UK Gambling Commission cover important aspects including security, fairness and responsible gaming measures. Operators must adhere to industry standards in everything they do, or face penalties ranging from fines and suspensions to the loss of their UKGC license.

UKGC Dispute Resolution

The UKGC oversees the resolution of disputes relating to the gambling industry. If players have a complaint regarding betting that cannot be dealt with by the bookmaker and customer, the UKGC provides guidelines and assistance. Many complaints also concern gambling advertising. If you have information relating to suspicious gambling activity, you can also provide it in confidence to the UK Gambling Commission.

The UKGC also approves alternative dispute resolution (ADR), which serves as an intermediary between gambling operators and customers. These include the ADR Group, the Independent Betting Adjudication Service (IBAS) and ProMediate UK Limited. These third-party services are available free of charge to consumers seeking rapid and legal resolution of their concerns.

Why you should trust the UK Gambling Commission

The UK Gambling Commission is considered the benchmark for similar gaming authorities around the world. They only allow bookmakers that meet the highest standards of betting, security and fairness. The UKGC then continually monitors the activity and values ​​of all its license holders and has proven in the past that it is not afraid to impose heavy fines on offenders or withdraw the licenses of those who allow to deviate from the standards.

When looking for your next online sportsbook, it is essential to only consider apps and sites licensed by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission. You will find licensing information at the bottom of a bookmaker’s homepage and get more information through the live chat function. When you choose a legal, UKGC licensed bookmaker, you know you are betting with a company that is fair, transparent, up to date with industry standards and passionate about providing a secure betting platform.

If the UKGC does not license a bookmaker, you should not create an account or provide any personal information. Visit the United Kingdom Gambling Commission website for more details and information.

About the Author

Frank Monkhouse

Frank is a former professional boxer from London’s famous TKO Gym who moved his career into sports betting writing. He has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry, including world-renowned bookmakers and ambitious affiliates. A student of the Formbook, he relies heavily on statistics and trends to help readers find value.

Follow Frank on X: @FMonkhouse

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