Gambling Laws in the United Kingdom: Everything You Need to Know

As a great source of significant income, gambling is also regulated by the UK government. That is why various jurisdictions have a set of gambling laws to regulate the market.

With that said, gambling is legal in the UK. With the introduction and legalisation of the UK Gambling Act of 2005, gambling became legal in the jurisdiction. This Act is a benchmark of new gambling laws UK. It dictates the protocol for online casino gambling, poker, sports betting, lottery, pool, and other forms of gambling in Britain.

This guide looks at the entire region, including Northern Ireland, Scotland, Britain, and Wales. But, each of these countries has other individual gambling laws. To see it in more detail, take a look at the history of gambling laws UK, current regulations, and others in our guide.

History of UK Gambling


Historically, all forms of gambling were legal in the UK before 1541. In 1541, the Parliament of England introduced an act that prohibited gambling on account that it interfered with men and their military training sessions.

In 1567, Queen Elizabeth introduced England’s first public lottery. The country used the money generated from lotteries to repair harbours. Only the rich were allowed to gamble. However, common citizens continued to gamble in the streets. The government was not able to cease the activities.

By the 1800s, there were multiple cases of betting fraud. This led to the introduction and legalisation of the 1845 Gaming Act and Betting Act of 1853, which halted commercial gambling. But, on-course gambling was still permitted to the upper-class.

In 1960, the country established Betting Gaming and Lotteries Act to regulate gambling. New Gambling laws UK were created according to this Act, with the latest set of regulations being the Gambling Act 2005.

Current Gambling Laws and Casino Legislation

united kingdom gambling laws

Speaking of gambling today, the 2005 Act is the set of laws concerning UK laws on gambling. It addresses every aspect of gambling, including online gaming. The Act also created the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) that oversees betting activities and licensing.

The UKGC prevents gambling from becoming a source of crime or disorder, used to support crime, or being associated with crime. Also, it works to ensure that gambling is conducted fairly and openly. Another responsibility of the gambling regulator is to protect vulnerable people and children from the harm associated with gambling.

The UK gambling age laws indicate that a person needs to be at least 18 years to gamble either online or in physical gambling properties. Therefore, online casinos and other gambling platforms must ask for identification before taking bets from anyone for age verification.

But, participants in lotteries, football pools, and scratchcards can be above 16 years old. The gambling act of 2005 also allows six primary forms of gambling, including arcades, bingo, sports betting, lotteries, gaming machines, and casinos.

Online gambling UK laws permit regulated online casino gaming. The new gambling laws UK also allow brick-and-mortar casino gaming. Operators of these facilities must get an operating license from UKGC to offer their services to UK residents.

Online and Land-Based Casino Law

online and land based casino law

The casino industry in the UK generates over £3.2 billion in gross gaming revenue every year. The jurisdiction has over 150 land-based casinos and over 2000 online casinos.

The United Kingdom legalise offshore casinos from offering their services to its residents. The amendment of the Licensing and Advertising Act of 2014 allows these casinos to get a license from the UKGC. It also requires these operators to submit to a 15% point of consumption tax on gross profits.

Before the amendment of this Act, operators licensed elsewhere advertised their services in the UK without an additional license from the UK. This allowed casino operators licensed in Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Tasmania, Alderney, EEA countries and Antigua and Barbuda to offer their services to UK residents. But, with the introduction of online gambling laws UK and amendments of various Acts, operators in other jurisdictions must apply for a license to offer their services in the UK.

The UK gambling laws also permit operators to offer their services via mobile phones, websites, TV, and other online platforms. The gambling at home laws UK allows players to play casino games even at home.

Another thing worth mentioning is that casino operators have to display RTP for all games. The RTP is usually between 90% and 94%.

Online casinos to play in UK 2023


The residents of the United Kingdom have accepted gambling as part of their lives. This attracts even casino operators from offshores. Luckily, the UK embraces these operators as long as they get operating licenses from its regulator and adhere to other restrictions that ensure safe, fair, and open gaming.

This allows residents to play casino games at various physical properties in the UK or log in to their online accounts to play from home via internet devices. If you’re 18 or older and not venerable to gambling addiction, you can play at land-based and online casinos.

Online casinos to play in UK 2023

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