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How casino regulations are changing in the UK

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The UK has long been a vital part of the global online casino industry, with the 2005 Gambling Act setting the scene for one of the world’s most successful and attractive online gambling markets. 

Numerous casinos and software developers have gone from strength to strength, creating a versatile landscape for all sorts of players. These operators are highly regarded, with the top 20 online casinos routinely upping the ante with new games, generous bonuses and top-spec mobile software solutions. 

It’s not just the gambling operators keeping things fresh with consistently targeted evolution. UK casino regulations are also regularly updated to keep players safe. One of the most recent developments is the £5 online slot take limits due to be introduced in September 2024 (with 18 to 24-year-olds limited to £2). 

What do these changing casino regulations mean for the UK industry? And how do experts expect the laws to change going forward? Read on for the lowdown. 

What are the main UK online casino regulations? 

First things first – what are the main UK online casino regulations? While most people have a decent idea of the core rules and regulations, many other aspects can easily slip through the net. We’ll provide an overview of the main UK online casino regulations below: 

  • Licensing: One of the most important mandates for the UK Gambling Commission is licensing platforms to legally serve UK players. Without a license, gamblers cannot be sure that platforms are following rules designed to keep them safe. Never gamble at sites without UKGC-licensing, as they can often be dodgy and unsafe. To keep its license, an online casino must abide by the rules and undergo consistent audits to confirm it’s doing so. 
  • Age: 18 is the minimum gambling age in the UK, and online casino platforms are legally obliged to verify whether their customers are old enough to gamble. This requires ID uploads and personal information like date of birth. Platforms can be severely punished for failing to abide by these rules. 
  • Money Laundering and Know Your Customer: All UK online casinos must undergo in-depth money laundering and Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures to prevent money laundering. The KYC steps can also help online casino platforms identify criminal gamblers or individuals who may be vulnerable to addiction.
  • Return to Player disclosure: Return to Player (RTP) is an extremely useful statistic showing the average amount players could win back from a casino game. It’s listed as a percentage, showing the average win calculated over millions of computer models. All games and casinos must disclose the true RTP of their games nowadays. It’s a particularly constructive regulation implemented by the UKGC. 
  • Responsible gambling: The UK government takes responsible gambling incredibly seriously, and all online casino platforms are obliged to offer responsible gambling tools such as self-exclusion, deposit limits and gambling time notifications. Platforms must also provide resources for players to help keep them safe. 
  • Advertising: There are very strict laws regarding online casino advertising, with most casino adverts blocked at the most popular times. The UKGC also keeps a close eye on operators to ensure they don’t use manipulative marketing tactics. 

Who’s in charge of UK casino regulations? 

As mentioned above, the UK Gambling Commission is the main body responsible for creating, reviewing and implementing gambling regulations. In the same way that fracking firms are fined for breaching government regulations, the UKGC can also fine casino operators for breaking the rules or not providing sufficient evidence to prove they’re following the rules. 

The UK Gambling Commission’s powers include: 

  • Issuing and revoking licences for online casinos. 
  • Investigating breaches of regulations and imposing penalties on the operators responsible. 
  • Conducting regular compliance checks. 
  • Monitoring gambling activity for problem gambling evidence. 
  • Publishing online gambling guidance for players and operators. 

Recent casino regulation updates 

The UK online casino industry must consistently react to a shifting regulatory landscape designed to keep players safe, and operators must be able to evolve. Here are a couple of examples of the most recent regulatory updates:

  • “Tell us something in confidence” service: The UK Gambling Commission unveiled a unique, new Tell us something in confidence” service in December 2023. This is an anonymous reporting mechanism for players or bettors who think they have spotted dodgy or illegal activity. 
  • Online slot stake limits: The government recently announced a new £5 online slot stake limit per spin to come into effect in September 2024. 18 to 24-year-olds are limited to £2. 
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