UK Gambling Commission Sites
What is the UK Gambling Commission?
Created under the Gambling Act of 2005 in an attempt to regulate the UK Gambling industry as it grew and gathered more players, the UK Gambling Commission focuses mainly on online gambling and gaming. It is widely regarded as one of the finest regulatory commissions in the world, with other countries and powerful bodies looking to the commission as a prime example of how a regulatory body should function.
Why is the UK Gambling Commission Needed?
The UK Gambling Commission does everything it can to prevent crime taking place in the gambling industry.
It makes gambling in the UK a fair playing field, with everyone expected to feel as though they can take part and take something from their experience.
Protects children and vulnerable people from the dangers of gambling within the UK.
What are the Licenses Offered by the UK Gambling Commission?
The UK Gambling Commission does not just offer operators a single license which would coat all online gambling and gaming activities, but instead it provides each service with a remote operating license or licenses depending on the activity that they would like to host. These include the likes of: Betting, Bingo, Casino Games, Gaming Machines, Lotteries, Gaming Software.
On top of these specific licenses, more often than not gaming operators are required to hold a Personal Management License – otherwise known as a PML – for senior members of staff. With this license, anyone who is in command of crucial business sectors like budgeting, strategy, regulatory compliance and IT provision and security have to be examined and be approved for a PML prior to having the authority to make operational decisions of any kind.
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The UK Gambling Commission’s History
The UK Gambling Commission was put together to take the place of the Gaming Board for Great Britain as the government tried to regulate to rapidly-growing online gambling industry. The National Lottery Commission subsequently merged to become one with the UK Gambling Commission in 2013, and one year later it agreed to put the consumer’s best interests before anything else under the 2014 Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act.
As you might expect, this act was introduced to close some gaps that were present in the UK Gambling laws and acted to protect UK citizens from gambling advertising, which was becoming increasingly dangerous and prevalent, particularly on the internet. With this act, it was ensured that all gambling operators who supply services and facilities for remote gambling are required to earn a remote operating license from the UK Gambling Commission. Essentially, operators that are situated in other countries must also obtain a license if they plan on advertising their facilities to UK citizens or allow UK players to use their services. Not only did this have an effect on online gambling advertising, but television, physical ads in the real world and sponsorship too.
One other important difference came about with the Point of Consumption Tax, which arrived in UK law in 2014. Before this was made legal, off-shore operators were only taxed at the point of supply (depending on the territory where their operation was based) whereas now they would be taxed at the point of consumption (in the UK) at 15% gross profits. This was a massive, albeit necessary, step towards a safer gambling environment.
Should the UK Gambling Commission be Trusted?
The UK Gambling Commission is generally considered one of the most trustworthy, consistent and well-run regulatory authorities in the world. It is definitely a commission that the public can trust, and as it focuses on many fields they have access to plenty of information which helps back any alterations the commission feels are necessary for the safety of players. Some of these fields are:
Protecting Player Funds – Ensures that anyone who holds a license keeps their business or operating funds separated from customer funds.
Identification of Players – Ensures that licensed operators have ways to verify the age of online players.
Protecting Players – Ensures operators who are licensed are wary of and work in accordance with current actions taken to protect players with dangerous gambling behaviours.
Unbiased gambling – Ensures that licensed businesses and operators only use the best software that is supplied by licensed software providers, so as to make a fairer gambling community.
Honest Marketing – Ensures that license holders do not and will not mislead the consumer with untrue or misleading ads and promotions.
Careful Cash Handling – Ensures that licensed operators have taken steps to stop money laundering and only use legally approved and secure ways to process transactions.
Customer Support – Ensures that license holders have created systems that will allow users to make complaints and get advice or help to resolve any issues.
If a license holder does not keep up to date with these requirements set out by the UK Gambling Commission they risk having their license removed, which may also lead to the operator being investigated and prosecuted if the Commission feel that they have broken the law. The UK Gambling Commission remains in regular contact with license holders to ensure that these rules are being followed.
At the time of writing the UK Gambling Commission licenses more than 1000 operators/businesses for remote gaming, including big name popular firms like 888, William Hill, Ladbrokes and Bet365. As well as that, the UK Gambling Commission also has more than 200 gaming development operators on its books as being licensed. Well-known gaming creators NextGen and OpenBet are just two of the names that possess a license from the UK Gambling Commission. However, not all is perfect at the UK Gambling Commission and they have previously been heavily criticized for their alleged lack of communication, action and advice it gave to the government respecting Fixed Odd Betting Terminals, otherwise known as FOBT.
There were some who felt that more control was needed and recommended a firmer approach on Fixed Odd Betting Terminals by taking them off the high street or majorly pulling down maximum stakes to keep them in line with different types of gambling machine. Despite this advice, the Commission was chastised for the lack of action it appeared to take, which went directly against its backing for a “precautionary” approach where risk is involved.
In spite of this difficult situation, the UK Gambling Commission evidently puts player safety before anything else and in May 2019 it introduced a new regulation whereby casinos and similar gambling businesses would no longer allow customers to deposit funds into an account or gamble with the licensee with free bets, a bonus or their own money until the age verification check has been completed. Typically, this process takes 72 hours. This came in alongside the other new regulation which explains that customers need to be of the minimum legal age to access free-to-play versions of gambling games on licensed operators’ websites. The UK Gambling Commission has its faults, but there is no uncertainty over where its priorities lay. Each day, the UK heads towards a safer, more consumer-friendly gambling industry.