Great Britain is one of the oldest and most important gambling territories of the betting world, with some of the greatest bookmakers being based in the UK. With the rise of the internet it was inevitable that sooner or later, an authority would come to regulate online betting. The first try of an independent regulatory body was made in 2005, since before that date, the Gaming Committee, belonged to the Ministry of Sports and Culture. The Gambling Commission was formed under the 2005 Gambling act, in order to regulate commercial gambling in Britain and work in partnership with other licensing authorities. Moreover their main focus was on online gaming, but since October the 1st in 2013, the UK gambling commission took over every responsibility that was held by the National Lottery Commission and since then, their integrity, fairness and maturity of decisions have made them the most respected gambling authority worldwide.
UKGC’s roles and responsibilities
The United Kingdom Gambling Commission was created under the 2005 Gambling Act with the responsibility of regulating the territory’s market and their main focus has been placed on online betting. Regarding their responsibilities, their main action is to make sure that gambling is devoid of any criminal activities. They also ensure that the gambling market is free and open, for any betting company that is granted a license to operate in the United Kingdom. Furthermore they protect minors and vulnerable groups of people from any negative consequences associated with gambling. However, these are only a few things they are responsible for:
- The Gambling boards make sure that the licence holders have a separate bank account, where they keep the players’ funds.
- It is very important to make sure that the bookmakers who hold licenses in the United Kingdom, proceed to every action that is required in order to verify the players’ age.
- They ensure that the license holders have taken all the necessary measures in order to protect the players that have or may appear to have problematic gambling behaviours.
- The Gambling Commission also carries out thorough investigations on the license holders, to affirm that they use software that is provided by licensed software providers.
- They also make sure that the bookmakers that hold licenses are not misleading the players with promotions or advertisements that are not accurate about what they offer.
- The UKGC makes sure that the operators use safe payment technologies and take all the necessary measures to avoid and detect money laundering.
- Last but not least, they ensure that the betting companies have the appropriate systems to help their members solve their problems.
There also a few things that the United Kingdom Gambling Commission will not do, since it is not within their responsibilities:
- First of all, they don’t intervene in order to solve the players’ complaints. Τhey will make sure that the operators have their own systems to handle punters’ complaints, so if a player wants to escalate a complaint, the Independent Betting Adjudication Service (IBAS) must be used.
- Secondly, they are not responsible of providing a player with legal advice. The only thing they can do, is give general information concerning the Gambling Act.
- Finally, they don’t have to check every gambling site. Given that there is a specific law under which the operators can hold a license in the United Kingdom, it falls to the players to check if a license really exists, before they gamble.
How to file a complaint
If a player is unhappy with a betting company and wants to file a complaint to the British gambling commission, then he must follow a certain procedure. Firstly, the player should contact the official site of the Gambling Commission, the www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk. From there, the procedure will be received and the player must make sure that he puts the whole issue in dispute. That means that the punter should carefully present all the steps of the contact with the company, including any communication he might have had with the site, via email or phone. The player should keep a record of all the responses. If you are unhappy with the resolution, it can be escalated to an Alternative Dispute Resolution party.
Gambling Law In The UK
You might be wondering what the gambling law is exactly. There are some specific laws that concern advertisements and betting promotions, gaming machines, remote operators and certain fees or charges. In general, gambling has been under close watch and even banned on several occasions, starting with the 1541 Unlawful Games Act and reaching to the 1960’s Betting and Gaming Act. The latter was extremely important, since it removed several restrictions on betting and led to the opening of the first betting shops in 1961.
The most recent chapters in British gambling history were added in 2005 and 2014, when new forms of betting appeared, such as gaming machines and the internet, meant that new legislation was inevitable. The 2005 act was created to regulate a diverse gambling industry, while the outburst of the online betting made it even more clear that new regulation should be added. The 2005 Gambling Act is designed to impose the principal objectives of the gambling commission with specific legislation, such as fee limits, payout limits etc, for individual aspects. The 2014 act added a few more things. It ensured that all the betting companies answer to the Act and the Gambling Committee and made sure that all the companies operate under the United Kingdom licenses, before they can advertise in the UK.
Types of licenses – Licensing procedure
The United Kingdom Gambling Commision covers all the online gaming activities, meaning that if an operator wants to get a remote license in order to operate and advertise in the United Kingdom, they must get a separate license for each type of betting activity, including:
- Casino Games
- Gaming Machines
- Gaming Software
Moreover, a betting company may require a remote Personal Management Licence for their senior staff members. That means that every person who is responsible for the financial budgeting, regulatory compliance etc., must gain approval for a Personal Management License.
As for the way of licensing, the Gambling Commission regulates organisations who provide facilities for gambling or advertise gambling products in Great Britain. The Commission issues the Licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP), according to which, the way the gambling facilities and operations are allowed to work is defined. As stated on their official site “We work closely with the gambling industry and other stakeholders, such as community groups, to consult and develop policies around the licensing objectives, including the LCCP”. If operators fail to comply with the Licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP) then the Commission will step in.
Any player that gambles on a licensed bookmaker in the United Kingdom and not on an illegal one, will be benefited by the fact that their software and policies have been reviewed under strict terms by the UK Gambling Commission. Moreover, a player that has a dispute with a betting company, will have a specific authority where he can address his problems, while the Advertising Standards Authority makes sure the operators follow a fair marketing procedure. In addition, any offshore betting companies are considered to be operating illegally, since they are financially checked by the Ministry of Finance. Finally, contrary to sites that operate illegally, players’ funds are not at any risk. That means that if an operator decides not to to pay their players or is caught cheating, then bettors can get their money and perhaps a reparation fee, if they address the UKGC.
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: +44 121 230 6666
Fax: +44 121 230 6720
Address: Gambling Commission, Victoria Square House, Victoria Square
Birmingham, B2 4BP