The United Kingdom is one of many countries in Europe that regulates online gaming. This includes online poker, casino games and sports betting. Punters can feel comfortable giving action to sites that adhere to the strict licensing process set forth by UK Gambling Commission. Funds deposited at these sites are just as safe as they would be at corner betting shops.
The UK started regulating online gaming in 2005. It was one of the first countries in the world to do so. That was at a time when the industry was still evolving. The industry was regulated by the UK Gambling Commission.
A loophole in the law permitted companies to remain offshore and dodge taxes and regulations set force by the UKGC. These companies had the same access to the market as ones located in the UK.
The only difference was the lack of regulation or taxes paid. The law was changed in 2014 to address this concern.
The Gambling Licensing and Advertising Act of 2014 required remote gaming companies to register as of October 1, 2014. Sites were mandated to do this to obtain proper licensing to operate in the UK. The full law went into effect on December 1, 2014.
A separate license is required for each segment of gambling offered to UK players. Poker, casino, sports, bingo and lotteries all require unique licensing. Those that do not comply with these regulations and still accept UK players violate the act and are subject to criminal penalties. Media outlets are not permitted to accept advertising from these companies.
The largest point of contention between remote gaming companies and the Act is the tax rate. The UK has a point of consumption tax of 15 percent. This and the licensing procedure caused several major players to leave the UK market. Some of those that stayed were forced to adjust pricing to cover the tax rate. Many of these companies previously operated in tax havens like Gibraltar and Isle of Man where rates were well into the single digits. This kept operating costs down. That luxury is no longer available to these companies.
Some sites moved players to .de domains and away from ORG. There is little or no difference between the two sites in most cases. UK poker sites network into international player pools. All casino games and sports bets available to customers outside the UK are available to those in the country, even if access is from the .co.uk domain. Most changes were to bonuses or VIP programs. Additional taxes were typically attributed to these changes in policy.
There are no restrictions on the menu of gaming available at UK sites.
Poker, casino games, sports betting, bingo and lotteries are all permitted. All of the traditional brick-and-mortar bookmakers operate the same games and bets online as they do in the local betting shops. The online sites simply add a level of convenience to the player’s experience.
More about the UK online gambling marketplace
As one of the most tightly-regulated online betting markets in the world, the United Kingdom is a wellspring of information regarding the operators that offer products such as online sports betting and the consumers who use those products.
A majority of that information can be found via the website of the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, which is broadly charged with oversight of all sports operators that serve the jurisdiction along with online poker, bingo, casino, and other real-money wagering products.
The UKGC recently released a comprehensive take on the online gambling habits of players in the UK. Read Facts and Figures: 2016 for a broad array of insights into the nature of the market for online sports wagering and other types of online betting in the UK.
Below is an infographic that captures some of the highlights of the paper.
Online sports betting is legal in the UK. Many of the brands that operate the largest online sportsbooks are also bookmakers in the UK or were in the past. This includes online-betting.org.
Football, basketball, American football, hockey, eSports, boxing, golf, tennis, mixed martial arts and handball are among the types of sports available for wagering from the UK. Entertainment and political menus are also available. Some books offer exotics on special events.
What types of wagers are available at UK online sports books?
UK online sports books offer straight bets, parlays, teasers, pleasers, in-play and a variety of exotic cards.
Yes. All UK betting sites are compatible with Macs.
Yes. Almost all UK-licensed sports betting companies offer mobile apps. These are available in iPhone, iPad and Android devices.
The UK Gambling Commission will intervene in all player disputes. The Advertising Standards Authority will investigate false advertising claims.
UK betting sites process withdrawals to debit cards used to deposit, bank transfer, check, PayPal, UK sites.
Any site that is licensed by the UK Gambling Commission is just as safe as any betting shop.
Players that deposit at unlicensed sites are making an unnecessary risk. There are no consumer protections at these sites. We highly recommend avoiding sites that do not hold a UK remote gambling license. There are too many great licensed sites available.
Yes. Most poker, casino and sports sites available to UK players offer a first deposit bonus. Most require a minimum wager amount before it may be withdrawn.
Online poker is legal in the UK. All major poker sites are available to UK players. This includes PokerStars, 888, PartyPoker and a variety of major poker networks. Unlike players in France, Italy and Spain, UK players have access to international player pools.
Online casino games are legal in the UK. This includes slots, video poker, blackjack, punto banco, roulette, craps and house-banked card games. UK online casinos often use European rules in roulette but not all do. Make sure to check the rules.