Is Online Betting Legal in the UK?

Last Updated: December 13, 2021

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

1
Bet365
Bet £10 get £50 free bets
BET365 REVIEW
CLAIM BONUS!
Open Account Offer ,Bet £10 & Get £50 in Free Bets for new customers at bet365. Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits & T&Cs apply.
2
Betvictor
Bet £5 get £30
BETVICTOR REVIEW
CLAIM BONUS!
18+ new customers only. Opt in, bet £5 at odds 2.00+ within 7 days of registering, no cashout. Get 2x £10 Free Bets, set events at odds 2.00+. Plus £10 Slot Bonus, selected games, wager 20x to withdraw max £250. 7 day bonus expiry. Card payments only. T&Cs Apply. begambleaware.org | Please gamble responsibly
3
betfred
Bet £10 get £60
BETFRED REVIEW
CLAIM BONUS!
New UK customers only. Register using the promo code BETFRED60, deposit and place first bet of £10+ on Sports (cumulative Evens+) within 7 days of registration. First bet must be on Sports. £20 in Free Bets to be used on Sports, £10 in Free Bets to be used on Lotto and 50 Free Spins (20p per spin) credited within 48 hours of bet settlement. Further £20 in Free Bets credited 5 days after settlement. Bonuses have a 7-day expiry. Payment restrictions apply. SMS verification and/or Proof of I.D and address may be required. 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.