UK Online Gambling Industry Regulation – All You Need to Know

With the introduction of technology and the internet, the gambling industry has evolved tremendously. From casinos, gambling can now be done online and a lot of online slots sites are popping out here and there. But, this doesn’t mean that putting up an online gambling site is easier than having a physical casino. Those online gambling companies still have to go through the process of being regulated by the UK gambling commission. Without such a license and permit to operate, they cannot legally open their slot games to the UK market. Before an online gambling site can operate, there are pertinent laws and regulations that they need to follow, including the UK Gambling Act 2005 and other new gambling laws that are recently created.

The UK Gambling Act 2005

The UK Gambling Act 2005 originated from the Betting and Gaming Act 1960, a law that allowed for bingo halls and casinos to open and operate in Britain. After a couple of years of regulating the gambling industry, this law was updated into the Gaming Act 1968, which liberalized the rules and regulations, making it easier for more casinos to be built and commercialized. The most recent update to the gaming act is the UK Gambling Act 2005 that focuses on online gambling.

Some of the changes made through the UK Gambling Act 2005 are transferring the authority of providing licenses to online gambling companies from the Magistrate’s Court to the licensing board or local authorities, putting up the UK Gambling Commission, giving an opportunity for “super casinos” to enter the market, and regulating illegal lotteries.

The UK Gambling Laws in 2022 & Beyond

The changing and growing online gambling industry called for an update of the UK Gambling Act 2005. After this law was passed, the succeeding years became tougher and the authorities had reasons to make new rules and regulations to impose more restrictions on the industry. Some of the changes implemented were fixing the stake limit to £2 on fixed-odds betting terminals and implementing new verifications rules. These were made in 2019 in an attempt to create a safer gambling environment online.

There were other factors that affected the law that regulates the online gambling industry, such as the event when the UK Gambling Commission received criticisms that it wasn’t helping the most vulnerable in the society, which made the commission decide on increasing the fines for those who violate the rules on online gambling.

Responsible Gambling

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Another set of rules and conduct the UK Gambling Industry upholds is responsible gambling. It is a set of social responsibilities created not just by the industry but together with the government, operators, and control boards. This rule seeks to prevent illegal and inappropriate acts from happening in the industry, such as frauds, underage gambling, and other criminal behaviour.

The rule also seeks to prevent gambling addiction, respect information privacy, record prompt and accurate customer payments, and fair gaming. Responsible Gambling has codes of conduct made by different organizations interested in making a safer gambling place online. The codes uphold the principles of responsible gaming. Like laws, there were also changes to the codes, which were created to be in line with the evolution of the online gambling industry.

UK Gambling Advertising Rules

UK online gambling is one of the most profitable and prosperous businesses that is completely legal thanks to the Gambling Commission’s regulation. This entity is in charge of regulating and controlling all activities related to gambling in the country.

The Gambling Act of 2005 managed to make possible the attempt to regulate this industry since 1960, which allowed the licensing and regulation of different forms of gambling for national and international people to enjoy them.

Today all gamblers in the UK have the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of casino slots when it comes to online gambling, be it casinos, gambling sites, online poker rooms, etc. Generally, people have to be at least 18 years old to be able to enjoy these gambling services, although there are several that are allowed for those with at least 16 years. Licenses in the UK are only required for professional players. Those who are not will not need them.

UK Gambling Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising

The UK Gambling Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising is administered by the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG). The IGRG aims to provide a structure based on applying socially responsible practices for proper management in the UK’s different gambling sectors.

The Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising was established on September 1, 2007, with the aim of creating measures for better social responsibility concerning the regulation of gambling advertising. On September 1, 2020, the IGRG published the sixth edition of the Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising to ensure the protection of vulnerable users, especially children.

This code complements the Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (CAP) and the Code of Broadcast Advertising (BCAP) to provide minimum standards and establish a limited number of gambling industry areas. These are codes that establish advertising rules that must be followed by advertisers, agencies, and media owners in the UK.

UK Gambling Advertising Restrictions in the UK

Gambling advertising has considerably increased since it was established in 2005. Increasingly, vulnerable consumers, be they children, adolescents, or adults, may be affected in one way or another by being directly influenced by games and sports as a form of bet through advertising.

It is essential to highlight that the gaming and betting industry in the United Kingdom is represented mostly by the BGC (Betting and Gaming Council). The code of conduct of this association suggests compliance with the Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising.

All people selling gambling services in the UK must have a Gambling Commission license to transact with and advertise to British consumers. These operators must comply with the rules established in the Advertising Codes.

Gambling advertisements must not encourage socially irresponsible behaviour, destroy the aspirations and credulity of children and young people, encourage the population to gamble all their money to solve their financial problems, link this industry with sexual success, etc.

Why are Gambling Ads Still on TV?

UK government MPs decided to call for strict restrictions on gambling and a moratorium on advertising during the Covid-19 lockdown. This initiative aimed to protect all consumers from the potential risk of entering the world of gambling during such a complex economic situation.

They decided to set a deadline that began in May 2020 to remove any ads related to gambling on TV or radio. People were mainly influenced by advertisements during live sports games. However, the deadline had an end date of at least June 5.

Throughout this time, TV gambling advertising decreased, leading to an increase in online gambling ad impressions. Today, most TV and radio advertising spots have been replaced by safer gambling messages and all casino bonuses and free spins must have terms and conditions clearly stated.

However, many gambling companies have continued to promote their advertisements through TV and radio since they did not consider it appropriate for their business to stop them, especially during Covid-19.


The United Kingdom is a nation in which gambling is regulated and totally legal for both operators and lovers of this industry. There is a lot of advertising about this field either on the Internet or on TV and radio, showing, in most cases, the different online gambling services in a socially responsible, safe, regulated, and licensed manner.

Anyone over the age of 18 can have a great gaming experience as long as they comply with the respective laws and play responsibly. Each of the rules and codes helps to control in a certain way the potential risks to which consumers are exposed, but in the end, they will depend solely on themselves.

The online gambling industry can be as safe as physical casinos and bingo halls, thanks to the UK Gambling Act 2015, Responsible Gaming, and the upcoming Gambling Law next year. Online gambling sites are now better and safer because of the combined efforts of the authorities, operators, and different organizations to make pertinent rules and regulations for the wellness of those who are involved in gambling activities. The rules will keep changing but it will always be for the best of the industry and gamblers.

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