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Is Online Betting Legal in the UK?

Is Gambling Legal?All countries around the world have their own laws and legislation regarding gambling of all kinds, including that carried out online. The UK is no exception and there is actually quite comprehensive legislation in place related to online betting and its legality.

This page is dedicated to unpicking that legislation and giving you all of the details you could possible want about the legality of online betting in the UK.

Key Points:

Since 1960, all gambling has been legal in the UK.

Legal age for sports betting and most other forms of gambling is 18.

Scratch cards, lotteries & football pools legal for 16+.

Gambling Act 2005 & Gambling (Licensing & Advertising) Act 2014 govern most online activities.

Gambling in the UK is regulated by the UK Gambling Commission.

Top 3 UK Legal Betting Sites

New Customers only. Up to £100 in Bet Credits. Sign up, deposit £5 or more to your account & bet365 will match your qualifying deposit in Bet Credits when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply.
New Customers only. Deposit & place a £5 qualifying bet at odds of 2.00 or greater within 7 days of opening a new account; excludes cashed out bets. Receive 2x £10 Free Sports Bets, valid on set events only (1 at odds 2.00 or greater), expires in 7 days, plus a £10 Casino Bonus, expires in 7 days. Wager the Casino Bonus 40x to withdraw winnings. Credit or Debit card only. Geo Restrictions. T&Cs Apply.
New UK & NI customers only. 18+. Sign up using promo code ‘SPORTS60’. Deposit & place first sports bet at a minimum of £10 in one bet transaction at evens (2.0) +. £30 paid in free bets within 48 hours of bet settlement, expires 7-days after issue. E-Wallet & Prepaid Card restrictions apply. Your first bet must be settled within 60 days of bet placement. SMS validation may be required. Game restrictions apply. Maximum 30 Free Spins on selected games. Free Spins expire after 7 days. Full T&Cs apply.

UK Gambling Legislation: Timeline

1963 – Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act

For many years in the UK, any betting away from racecourses was illegal but this all changed with the passage of the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act 1963. This act made gambling in locations away from courses legal and paved the way for the situation as it is today, whereby gambling is generally legal across the board.

It was that act and other 1960s legislation which for decades determined and regulated the gambling industry in the UK.

2005 – Gambling Act

The Gambling Act 2005 was eventually passed to modernise the nation’s gambling laws.

That act introduced a raft of new legislation which was all stated as having the following three main aims:

Preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime…

Ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way, and…

Protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.

2005 – Gambling Commission

UK Gambling CommissionTo those ends, the act created the UK Gambling Commission as the body for regulating all gambling within the UK.

New types of gaming licences and rules dictating how these could be gained were developed online betting was brought under the same controls as land based gambling. Remote gambling licences were also introduced for offshore companies.

2014 – Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act

For a number of years, however, the act was ambiguous regarding online betting provided by companies based outside of the UK but serving British customers. These ambiguities were eventually removed by the passage of the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014.

That act made licensing and other regulation of gambling consistent across the board for all online gambling providers regardless of where they were based.

More importantly it made overseas based providers liable for paying the same 15% tax that UK based companies were already subject to.

It did this by making it a ‘point of consumption’ rather than a ‘point of supply’ tax. For a more in-depth explanation of the rules regarding the taxation of gambling in the UK, click here.

Money Laundering: Why You Need To Verify Identity

The UK Gambling Commission as regulators of the entire gambling industry in the UK are the supervisory body when it comes to anti money laundering measures. The present regulations regarding money laundering, however, are far from comprehensive.

IDCurrently under the Money Laundering Regulations 2007, it is only organisations holding casino operating licences which are obligated to address money laundering risks.

Organisations subject to the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 are obligated to undertake what are described as ‘customer due diligence measures’. These are measures which identify any customer and verify ‘the customer’s identity on the basis of documents, data or information obtained from a reliable and independent source’.

It is due to this, therefore, that casino operators can – and other gambling providers – request documentation from an individual to prove their identity before they will serve them.

Author: David Lenton

David Lenton
David 'the Cheeky Punter' Lenton is an ex professional online sports bettor and trader with over 15 years of experience in the industry. He has also worked for a number of top bookmakers including Bet365, Ladbrokes, William Hill and Coral. With such a long time spent dedicated to the gambling industry no one is better placed when it comes to advising punters. Follow on Twitter @thecheekypunter