Gambling Jurisdictions of The World: UK Industry

UK gambling laws are pretty straightforward and allow anyone aged 18 and over to gamble in casino’s and online at UK based gambling sites, as well as some foreign based sites that are licensed to operate in the UK.

The Gambling Commission

UK gamblers are protected by the Gambling Commission, a regulatory body which governs commercial gambling service providers. The organisation ensures that gambling operators adhere to strict guidelines, offer fair games to players and are financially stable. The Gambling Commission works with licensing authorities to ensure that only bona fide companies obtain licences to operate.

The Gambling Commission has the power to take action against non compliant gambling companies and can impose fines or revoke licences. The organisation also liaises with payment organisations such as visa, MasterCard and PayPal and can instruct them to withdraw a service provider’s payment facilities.

Only gambling companies based in the UK can be issued with licences by the Gambling Commission, although the organisation holds a list of approved gambling jurisdictions, which enables foreign operators who obtain licences from these regulators to serve UK customers.

How UK gambling laws protect you

UK gambling laws are in place to protect players and ensure that gambling is carried out in a fair and transparent way. The laws safeguard children and vulnerable adults from harm and exploitation and aim to prevent gambling from causing or supporting criminal activity.

The benefits of UK gambling laws

Under UK law gambling winnings are not classed as taxable income. This means that you get to keep all winnings and aren't required to pay any tax on them.

You can enjoy online gambling with the reassurance of knowing that gambling sites have been approved and are regulated; plus if you feel you have been unfairly treated you can make a complaint to the Gambling Commission.

Identity checks on UK gamblers

The Gambling Commission demands that UK gambling sites ‘Know Your Customers’ (KYC), which means that customers names and addresses must be verified and the player’s age confirmed as 18 years or older. In most cases identity checks are carried out automatically but you may be asked to provide supporting documentation.

How to recognise a registered gambling website

Reputable online gambling websites will display their British Gambling Commission Licence and provide a link to the licence register which details the company’s trading names, address, website domains and its current licence status.

You are advised to check that the operator’s website domain names and details of offered activities match those listed on the public licence register.

Prevention of misleading and unfair treatment for UK gamblers

The Gambling Commission in partnership with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) are currently investigating alleged unfair treatment of gamblers by online operators. The complaints relate to companies offering sign-up promotions with cash bonuses to attract players. In many cases these deals carry complex and obscure terms and conditions or require high minimum spend levels to qualify for advertised bonuses.

Advice for gamblers

Before participating in any gambling activity it is essential to make sure that you fully understand exactly what you are betting on and are aware of the gambling product’s terms and conditions. This will help you to make informed gambling decisions.

If you have any doubts about a gambling company or suspect it to be offering illegal gambling services in the UK, refrain from handing over any money and report your concern to the Gambling Commission.

To learn more about gambling visit BeGambleAware


Gambling Jurisdictions Of The World: South African Industry

The article is prepared in tight collaboration with Chris Burke from gambling Europe, a German-based company involved in gathering statistics and reviews on gaming houses across the world. The example of South Africa is oozing with peculiarities and noteworthy features, representing something truly worthy of close attention.

The rise of gambling

The beginning of the 90s was the time for South Africa’s radical changes. Apartheid regime fell, the Bantustans were abolished and their territories were merged into a single legal space. For gaming, this meant the transition to underground. That was the time of an acute need in legalizing gambling in the updated State. In this case, it was desirable to go beyond the former Bantustans, located at a distance from major cities. Fortunately for the industry, the new government quickly realized the importance of gambling legalization. The state needed a cash infusion, and the opportunity to replenish the budget with generous taxation portions was a reasonable way to go.

Legalization of gambling

South African authorities have shown wisdom by making a decision to continue examining the area. In 1992, a commission of Howard, and in 1995 another commission was created. Both commissions included scientists, officials, and representatives of the gambling business and public organizations. The commission studied the experience of different countries, economic factors, as well as social and ethical aspects. Both parties agreed on the need for the legalization of gambling, justifying its position that the excitement is a part of human nature, and no state bans would be able suppress the desire for games, in existence since ancient times. For the modern man is an element of entertainment. And yet, both the Commission acknowledged the risk factors and recommended the practice of gambling limitations.

The main tasks that faced the new law on gambling:

  • legal frameworks in the field of gambling;
  • legitimate development of the gambling industry;
  • guarantee of fair gaming by the operators (being fair to the players and maintaining their privacy);
  • protection of vulnerable groups (especially minors) from the negative effects of gambling;
  • protection of society from the stimulation of demand for gambling;
  • protection of business from crime, anti-money laundering.

The outcome of the experts’ effort was introduction of Gambling Act, adopted in 1996.

It legalized the activity in this area by setting certain requirements and quotas. In particular, the number of licenses was limited to 40 (about 1 per million inhabitants, 4-6 per province). This meant that running gambling business was a privilege of firms with considerable resources and serious plans.

In addition, in order to avoid the monopoly on gambling market the number of licenses per operator was limited: thus, no more than 2 licenses per province were granted (16 in total). The Act of 1996 has fulfilled its main task – the legalization of gambling and the establishment of a reasonable course of its development and functioning. In 2004, the new edition was approved, which operates in South Africa till nowadays.