Gambling is one of the oldest pastime activities in the world; it’s a concept that has been known to man for centuries. Online gambling, on the other hand, is a fairly new phenomenon. Online gambling began with the advent of the internet in the 1990s and the question of its legality rings in the heads of many people in the world. The reason for the confusion surrounding the legality of online gambling in many parts of the world is that for many countries, it’s a legal grey area. But what about the UK? Is online gambling legal in the UK?
What the Law Says
UK’s Betting, Gaming, and Lotteries Act of 1963 legalized all forms of gambling in the UK. So, yes, online gambling is legal in the United Kingdom. Prior to the passage of the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act in 1963, all betting outside of the racecourse was illegal. This key piece of legislation regulated the country’s betting scene for many years. Parliament saw the need to review and update the country’s gambling laws in 2005, which lead to the passage of the Gambling Act of 2005 that succeeded the 1963 act.
What the 2005 bill did was to modernize the 1963 act. Modernizing meant incorporating other types of gambling in the country’s laws, including online gambling. With the passage of the Gambling Act of 2005, all UK citizens aged 18 and above could simply register a new account with a betting website or walk into a casino and start placing bets or playing casino games immediately. The 2005 act also made it possible for gambling websites to set up shop in the country. The previous law barred online gambling websites from basing their operations in the UK.
Regulation of Online Gambling In the UK
Online gambling falls under commercial gambling. In the UK, commercial gambling activities are regulated by the Gambling Commission, a Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB) set up under the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS). The commission is charged with the responsibility of publishing guidance and advice materials on matters betting as well as research. The body is charged with overseeing the licensing, compliance, and enforcement of gambling laws in the UK. The Gambling Commission requires remote gambling operators and online gambling platforms to obtain licenses to operate.
Only UK-based online gambling websites are required to obtain a license to operate in the UK. Online gambling websites based in other countries don’t need licensure from the commission to operate in the country, but that does not mean that UK players should be reckless when using these sites. Should you choose to sign up a player account with one of these foreign websites, make sure that the company is regulated by relevant authorities in that particular company. If that information isn’t available, move on to the next website.