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UK Gambling Law

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Gambling Act 2005

For the player

Thankfully the new legislation simplifies the process for people who want to gamble. There's no longer any red tape for players. Players (over 18) can simply open up an internet account or walk into a casino and start gambling.

Note that previously, players were required to be a registered member of a casino for at least 24hr before they could place a bet (this did not apply to online casinos).

For the casino

The new Gambling Act allows online casinos to be based in the UK, although given the tax advantages of countries such as Gibraltar it's unlikely many of the online gambling firms will relocate to the UK.

Far from the media myth that the new legislation will unleash gambling upon the nation, the legislation is actually full of red tape which includes the formation of new watchdog the Gambling Commission and introduces many advertising restrictions to online companies.

The full Gambling Act 2005 is available here

Top 10 media myths about the legislation

Previous law - Gaming Act 1968

For the player

UK gambling law is based on the Gaming Act 1968 and is somewhat outdated. With regards to online gambling, it is perfectly legal for a punter to gamble online from the comfort of their homes.

"There is nothing in current legislation which makes it illegal, or seeks to prevent, British residents gambling on the Internet in their own homes."
The Gaming Board for Great Britain

For the casino

Bizarrely, online casino companies cannot be based in the UK. As the Gambling Act was formed prior to the internet, casino licenses can only be given to land based premises. Currently online casinos operators have to be based off shore locations operating within the relevant legal requirements of their host country.

"Under current UK legislation there is no legal framework for online casino operators to conduct business in the UK, therefore operators run their businesses from other countries where online casinos are allowed to operate e.g. the Isle of Man, Gibraltar etc." British Casino Association

The Result

This has inflated the potential risk to players as the industry is essentially self-regulated. If issues arise there are few legal come backs as the casino operators are based outside of our legal jurisdiction.

As with all industries, there are good & bad operators. Most successful casinos are recognisable brands such as Littlewoods which would have too much to lose in terms of reputation to become an unethical operator. In addition many casinos are audited by reputable accounting firms and subscribe a code of practice of their industrial body.

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