The UK Gambling Commission is the governing body in charge of all gambling activities in the United Kingdom. In this review, we will give you a brief history of the UKGC, and we’ll explain what it does. Specifically, we’ll explain how the UKGC protects British players, and how its strict enforcement of the rules has created one of the safest gambling industries in the world.
The UK Gambling Commission – A Brief History
- The predecessor of the UKGC was the Gaming Board for Great Britain. After a government review, it was decided that a new regulator would be established, and a unifying nationwide gambling law was required to deal with online gambling and other aspects of the industry.
- The UKGC was first set up under the Gambling Act (2005). However, it wasn’t until 2007 that it assumed full power over the regulation of the UK gambling market.
- In 2013, the UKGC took over the regulation of the National Lottery. More specifically, the National Lottery Commission became part of the UKGC.
- Since its inception, the UKGC has not been afraid to take on the biggest gambling operators. See the section below for a history of large UKGC fines on top UK gambling companies.
How the UKGC Protects British Gamblers
The UKGC has stated its aims clearly. They are:
- To keep crime out of UK gambling.
- To protect the vulnerable from being exploited.
To achieve these goals effectively, the UKGC does multiple things.
- It issues, assesses, suspends, and revokes operator licences.
- It tests remote gambling software to make sure that it is fair.
- It takes enforcement action on non-complaint operators.
- It advises the British government on various gambling issues.
- It helps the police investigate suspected illegal gambling activities.
It’s also important to know what the UKGC does not do. It doesn’t:
- Give legal advice to individuals or deal with disputes.
- Regulate gambling sites advertising to players outside the UK.
- Regulate financial spread betting. That’s the remit of the FCA.
If you have a dispute with a casino, do not contact the UKGC. Instead, you should take it up with a dispute mediator such as IBAS.
Some of the regulations that UKGC-licensed operators have to comply with include:
- Social responsibility commitments to help to protect vulnerable people. For example, all casinos must prominently display links to GAMSTOP on their websites and must honour self-exclusion requests.
- Financial regulations, such as keeping player deposits and balances separate from operating capital. This protects players in the event of bankruptcy.
- Responsible advertising guidelines. For example, UKGC casinos may not make false claims or target underage players in their advertisements.
The UKGC is strict about enforcing its regulations. Several high-profile gambling operators have received steep fines for violating license terms, and plenty of operators have lost their UKGC licences or had them suspended for non-compliance (see below).
A History of UKGC Fines – Big Operators Do Not Escape
- In 2016, the UKGC fined the Camelot Group £3 million. This is the national lottery operator. The UKGC found that it did not have robust fraud detection controls.
- In 2017, 888 Holdings was fined £7.8 million for failing to protect problem gamblers through self-exclusion policies. This was a record fine at the time.
- In 2018, William Hill received a £6.2 million fine for failing to protect players and prevent money laundering.
- Also, in 2018, LeoVegas was ordered to pay £600,000 for failing to comply with UKGC advertising guidelines.
- In 2020, Caesars Entertainment UK was fined £13 million for social responsibility, money laundering prevention, and customer interaction failures.
UK Gambling Commission – Frequently Asked Questions
Should I contact the UKGC if one of its licensed operators scammed me?
No. You’re wasting your time if you do this. The UKGC does not handle these matters. The appropriate course of action is to contact a dispute mediator such as IBAS, who will then present its findings to the UKGC in good time.
How can I get a UKGC license for my casino or gambling site?
You’ll need to apply, which will involve substantial application fees. You can find out more information about UKGC licences, the type you should apply for, and the relevant fees on the UKGC website.
How can I tell if an operator really has a UKGC license? Couldn’t they just say so?
The UKGC publishes a public register on its website. You can verify whether an operator really has a UK gambling license by entering its name or license number into this.
Why do UK players have to verify our identities? Is this a UKGC rule?
Yes, it’s a UKGC rule. This process prevents underage gambling and prevents money laundering. This is in alignment with both of the UKGC’s stated goals of reducing crime and protecting vulnerable people.