Over the last few years, gamers in the United Kingdom have seen a huge rise in the number of online casinos operating various table-based games and slots. Whilst it might seem like the market is rampant with competition, the UK actually has detailed regulations for online gambling and is one of the most developed markets in the world.

So what does it take for a gaming business to become licenced to operate in the UK? It is certainly not an easy process, as this overview of UK gambling regulations shows, however it is a vital part of the requirements before a company can begin operating either online or offline in the country.

Gambling regulations

What types of licence are available?

Before a casino can begin operating and let players take part, there are three licences they will need to secure:

Operating Licence: This will allow them to perform the necessary actions such as placing bets and paying players

Personal Licence: A Personal Management Licence is needed for all Managers and Directors operating at the casino, whilst a Personal Functional Licence is needed for other employees working in a traditional facility.

– Software Licence: This is required for all employees working on the software development and updates of online casinos

How does a casino get a UK licence?

In order to secure any of the above three licences, a business would need to have extensive knowledge of the UK casino market, as the Gambling Commission need to be satisfied that the casino will be able to operate legally.

This requires them to show various financial documents such as forecasts, profit and loss reports alongside market analysis to show why another casino is needed. On top of all that, any casino looking to get licenced in the UK needs to demonstrate how they will meet the three licencing objectives:

  1. The prevention of gambling from becoming, or being associated with, crime and disorder

  2. Ensuring a fair and open form of gambling

  3. The protection of children and vulnerable people from being exploited

Once this information has been gathered and a casino is in a position to apply for a licence, the process is actually quite simple. Potential operators simply need to head to the Gambling Commission website and submit their application, where it will then take around 16 weeks to process.

How important is it to have a licence?

Put simply, if a casino is planning to operate either from an offline premises or via remote gambling methods, they need to secure a licence from the Gambling Commission to legally operate. The reasoning behind this is that the Commission was set up to protect players from losing money through a scam.

The not-for-profit organisation focuses on ensuring players in the UK enjoy the best possible gaming experience by offering players protection on their personal and financial data and ensuring fair gaming; meaning players have a realistic chance of winning.

Despite the commission, a recent report from GVC Holdings and William Hill, estimated that 1.2% of the UK gambling market was operating on the black market. This is an incredible £1.4 billion every year, so it is vital players understand the need to use regulated and licenced casinos.

However these increased regulations are actually leading to some companies to pull out from the UK, with various restrictions being blamed for the slowing down of the market.

How much does a licence cost?

Depending on the type of gaming a casino will be offering, each licence has a different fee that will need to be paid at the time of applying. These fees are based on the annual gross profit of the casino and operating licences for remote online casinos ranges from £5,711 to £14,647.

On top of that, each casino that has been licenced will then have to pay an annual fee to maintain their licence, which again ranges from £2,027 to £572,837 depending on the total gross profit.

Casino Regulations in the UK

Although recent months the news has been full of casino owners discussing the increasing UK regulations are throttling the gambling business, including banning the use of credit cards, the UK has one of the fairest and most developed gambling markets in the world.

Since its formation in 2007, the UK Gambling Commission has transformed the market and enabled players to enjoy some of the best table and slots based games both online and offline. To find out a list of all licenced and regulated casinos, visit the UKGC website