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How Regulated is the UK Online Casino Market?

With 67+ million people living in the United Kingdom, the country’s population is seen as a top destination for potential customers of online casino sites. How tightly are these companies regulated? Is it easy to trade here or challenging? With the growth of mobile technology and users in the UK, is there even nay place for physical casino locations anymore?

Very Regulated Marketplace

Compared to other nations, the United Kingdom’s government has a lot of rules for online casinos to abide by and observe. That’s not to say it’s excessive or as draconian as some of the state governments in the United States; there’s just a lot of legalisation to be aware of. These are generally front-facing, with the idea that the rules are in place to ensure that potential bettors are protected from financial peril.

Only big brands and casino companies set up and trade as UK companies. Bet365, Unibet Casino, and 888 Casino have large legal teams that read government law for a living and can assist these corporations in setting up and observing all legal requirements.

The Gambling Commission will ratify any of the online casino sites that accept uk signups. This is a golden seal of approval for UK-based online casinos as it essentially means that the company is abiding by all the government rules.

Incoming Changes for Gambling Law

The Gambling Act 2005 has been in place for the best part of 20 years now. Since then, a lot has happened in the UK and the online casino space. Therefore, it was only natural that changes would occur in the industry. In 2022, then Prime Minister Boris Johnson collaborated with the Gambling Commission to set out new rules for all online gambling operators to adhere to.

There are a few changes that could be implemented by the end of 2024, the most pertinent being:

  • Greater responsibility on gambling brands to flag, report and prevent gambling problems. Companies will have to implant software to evaluate customer spending and behavior to avoid gambling problems.
  • Slow down the rate of play. Government officials have noted that online casino users can make multiple wagers in just a few seconds. The Gambling Commission has proposed that games take longer to play so that users cannot place as many bets.
  • Give customers more control over marketing communications. This would stop gambling sites from delivering offers and messages about every piece of content on their site to customers, and they would only be allowed to communicate about the topics/products that the customer agrees to hear about.

These changes are just proposed at the minute and may change in detail when and if implemented into UK law, but they do make sense when you consider how easy it is to access these sites when they all have mobile apps which can be downloaded in seconds.

Why Bother With the UK Market?

If it is so hard to work within the UK legislation, why do online gambling companies keep trying to penetrate the market? Money, it’s all to do with money. At the same time, the UK doesn’t have the most significant population; as a median range, people tend to have more money. While the cost-of-living crisis doesn’t help, the minimum wage in the country is a lot more lucrative in countries like India and China. This means that gambling companies are only too keen to part UK citizens with their hard-earned cash. Also, the British Pound is still pretty valuable compared to other global currencies, so it is a desirable asset.

Red Tape Leads to Offshore Vendors

If something is difficult to achieve, people will often look for a more accessible alternative. In this case, it can be challenging to set up an online casino registered for trade in the UK and, by extension, difficult to sign up for an online casino account as a gambler. As such, some parties look elsewhere, into the legally grey area with offshore casinos. These operate outside the UK legislation, simply making their services and website available to UK visitors.

Identified Members Only

One of the parallels between UK online and brick-and-mortar casinos is that both require membership. If you try to sign up for any online casino, you must provide an identification document: a driver’s license or a passport. This ensures that everyone playing on the platform is of legal age to do so. There is a very similar process that people have to follow when visiting a tangible venue. Anyone wanting to go to a casino and go further than the reception must become a member; this will require the individual to fill out a form and provide an identification document.

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