Gambling, casinos, slot halls and online casinos in United Kingdom
The Gambling Act 2005 (as amended) and the National Lottery Act 1993 (as amended) regulate gambling in the UK. Under the Gambling Act, the UK Gambling Commission was set up to regulate commercial gambling in the country in partnership with local licensing authorities. In 2013, the National Lottery Commission merged with the Gambling Commission.
Although the Gambling Commissions of the British Overseas Territories (Gibraltar) and major islands (Alderney, Jersey, Isle of Man) are independent statutory boards, they comply with the UK Gambling Commission. Thus, the UK Gambling Commission regulates all types of gambling that use British-based equipment.
Land Based Gambling
Casino games are available in casino premises. There are 152 licensed casinos in Britain. Most casinos offer a variety of international table games, poker, electronic games, and gaming machines. The Gambling Act differentiates between ‘large’ and ‘small’ casinos. A small casino has a minimum table gaming area of 500 m2 and a minimum non-gambling area of 250 m2. It has a maximum of 80 gaming machines. A large casino has a minimum table gaming area of 1,000 m2 and a minimum non-gambling area of 500 m2. It has a maximum of 150 gaming machines.
Gaming arcades operate all over the country. Adult gaming centers (AGC) are for only those aged 18 and over. Family entertainment centers (FEC) are open to all ages. These arcades offer their visitors various gaming machines. Licensed arcades do not sell alcohol, as there is strong evidence of the relationship between alcohol consumption and gambling problems. Arcades provide their guests with nonalcoholic drinks only.
Pubs may also set up a limited number of gaming machines. Under the Code of Practice for gaming machines in premises with an alcohol license, these machines must be situated in places where they can always be supervised.
The UK has been accepting stakes and bets via the telephone for decades. Online gambling has recently increased. The UK numerous islands do a lot to attract companies to set up their gambling businesses in their jurisdictions. According to the Annual Report 2018/19, Britain has the largest regulated online gambling market in the world. Approximately 10.5 million adults (more than 50% of consumers) gambled online in 2018/19.
The UK Gambling Commission has implemented new rules to strengthen age and ID verification checks. It encourages gambling operators to really ‘know their customer’ in order to protect them. Before transferring any money into a gambling account, the Gambling Commission asks gamblers to check if the organization they plan to gamble with is licensed. The Commission’s license register shows the type of activities online operators are allowed to offer as well as their address, website domain names, trading names, and current license status. If a gambling business does not have a Gambling Commission license, it is acting illegally. Licensed online casinos may either belong to the national domains .uk or to commercial domains.
Use of the Internet by entrepreneurs has transformed remote gambling. Many operators have located their businesses away from jurisdictions with heavy taxes to offshore centers with lower taxes. Island governments assist companies wishing to have a gaming presence on the islands. They actively encourage the development of gambling and e-gaming business. Local gambling commissions provide strong regulatory environment, supported by a wide range of attractive business benefits. In 2001, the Isle of Man Government was one of the first jurisdictions in the world to introduce legislation specifically designed to benefit gambling and e-gaming firms. Isle of Man, Gibraltar as well as some Channel Islands have been able to generate substantial revenues by offering such terms.
Nowadays, the UK is the world’s leader in creating licensed software for online casinos. Some of the top online casino software providers are based in the country. They offer numerous casino games and slots to choose from. Microgaming, Net Entertainment, Playtech, WMS, and Evolution Gaming are just a few names which are currently considered to be the giants of the gaming software world.