UK Gambling Commission (UKGC)
Although the United Kingdom had widespread gaming arcades and betting shop networks, it wasn’t until the Gambling Act 2005 when they set up the Gambling Commission. The mission was clear, regulate all forms of gambling in Great Britain. This includes operators and individuals within the United Kingdom that provide arcades, gaming machines, betting, lotteries, bingo, online gambling, casinos and even gambling software. They are also responsible for awarding the licence to run the National Lottery.
With the rapid growth of online gaming, the 2005 act was complemented in 2014 by the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act that requires any operator transacting with or advertising to British consumers to obtain an operating licence from the Gambling Commission. Until then, any operator outside the United Kingdom could offer remote gambling to any British player as long as they had a licence from another authority such as the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association or MGA Malta.
Today, the Gambling Commission is an independent public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Their main objectives are to keep crime out of gambling, to ensure that gambling is conducted fairly and openly, and to protect children and vulnerable people.
To achieve their objectives, the UKGC has a range of laws, regulations and enforcement tools at its disposal. First and foremost, they are issuing licenses only to operators who meet the stringent criteria set forth in the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice. Further, they can levy fines and revoke licences as well as being tasked with investigating and prosecuting illegal gambling.
The benefits for players and betting patrons are apparent in such that they can enjoy their hobby in a safe and secure environment that is regulated by stringent norms. Whilst, the UKGC does not act a as a dispute resolution arbitrator, it requires operators to designate a licensed arbitrator in their terms and conditions.
Further, the UKGC requires that player balances and moneys are held in separate accounts and payments cannot be limited to partial amounts per week or month. Last but not least, operators have to adhere strictly to the Social Code of Practice to protect vulnerable players and offer them a variety of tools to limit their gambling or activate an exclusion period.