Casino License: UK Gambling Commission
Gambling is popular in the UK in a variety of forms, from betting on football and other sports to bingo, slot machines, traditional and online casinos, and the National Lottery. The Casino Veteran, being a distinguished gentleman of unknown age, is rumoured to have experienced first-hand the various bans and restrictions placed on UK betting over the course of history.
Some say the Casino Veteran invented golf after a particularly spirited game of croquet. Others say he is the only man to have ever been on the subs bench for both teams in a Premier League match.
The UK Gambling Commission
In 2005, the Gambling Act came into force, and the Gambling Commission, working in partnership with licensing authorities, was set up to regulate commercial gambling in Great Britain. It covers remote gaming and several segments of the brick-and-mortar industry with five key goals: to empower and protect consumers, to raise standards across all gambling sectors, to build partnerships and understanding, to ensure fair play on the National Lottery, and to improve regulation.
In 2014, the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill bolstered the existing Gambling Act, giving it greater powers and more focus towards online and remote betting, no matter where the operator is actually based. With many online companies having been based in tax havens such as Gibraltar and Malta, this change was key, and it also allowed tax to be collected on profits earned by these operators in the UK.
The registration process vets licensed companies and aims to screen out unsuitable individuals and entities before they ever make it into the industry. There are rules in place to protect consumers, such as forcing operators to keep player funds and operating cash in separate accounts to help protect any money owed to winners. The Gambling Commission does not regulate all gambling websites, only those that trade with or advertise to consumers in Britain. If you are using international sites, then do so with caution as they may not be held up to the same scrutiny as UK firms. Additionally, spread betting is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, and premises licences are issued by other licensing authorities.
Conditions of holding a Gambling Commission licence
Operators must comply with the law and licence conditions as well as codes of practice. Social responsibility is paramount. The commission has published its “Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice” (LCCP) rulebook, which sets out measures and good practice for operators to follow. Anti-money laundering measures are in place to try to keep the gambling business free of financial crime and terrorist funding, with additional regulations in place for both traditional and online casinos. All licence holders must comply with technical standards and requirements as well as providing free-of-charge dispute resolution through independent third parties. There is a raft of sector-specific compliance in place, such as lotteries only being allowed if they are run for good causes (rather than private or commercial gain) and specific technical standards for arcade machines.
The National Lottery
The Gambling Commission aims to ensure that the National Lottery is run properly, that the interests of all participants are protected, and that the proceeds, as long as they are fairly gained, are as great as possible. It also works to ensure that the benefits to good causes are maximised.
The minimum legal age for gambling in the UK is 18 years old, but the National Lottery, along with other lotteries and football pools, are an exception to this rule, with the minimum age being 16. Some non-commercial gambling and low stakes and prizes gambling also share this lower requirement.
There are further family-focused exceptions, such as gaming machines, teddy grabbers and some lower-stakes fruit machines in amusement arcades, which do not have a minimum legal age.
When players open an account with an online gambling company, the company must use ID checks to ensure that the consumer is old enough to gamble, that criminal proceeds are not being used in an attempt to legitimise funds, and that players haven’t self-excluded themselves from gambling. Self-exclusion is where a player chooses to enter into an agreement with a gambling company to stop gambling for at least six months.
The rise of social gaming both in the UK and around the world presents an interesting challenge for legislators. Currently, those games that do not enable you to win any money fall outside of existing regulation. But given how interactive, sociable and compelling they are, there is the possibility that regulators may eventually step in to ensure protection of players and good conduct among operators. The Casino Veteran is a lover of all types of traditional and online gaming, so will be keeping an eye on future developments in this area – so make sure to check back often for the latest news on featured casinos.
Some say the Casino Veteran has turned down the offer of a knighthood four times, but only because he accepted the first time.