The UK Gambling Commission and its role to make online gambling safer in the UK

Licenses from the UK are issued by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). UKGC regulates and monitors the gambling legislation in Wales, Scotland and England. They are responsible for regulating arcades, betting, bingo, casinos, slot machines and lottery games in the UK.

UKGC imposes strict requirements on an online casino applying for the licenses, and the operator must have a license for each type of game they offer. In addition, every high-ranking employee in the company must have a license, a so-called Personal Management License (PML), which certifies their reliability.

These strict requirements for gambling operators lead to increased security for players on UK gambling sites. Therefore, UK players are advised to gamble on domestic platforms.


Different licenses

Unlike some gambling commissions, the different licenses from UKGC are very specific, depending on the ways in which they are issued. Casino games, betting and lottery games are all controlled under different regulations, so therefore it is required of a gambling company to contain certain licenses. With that said, gambling companies that offer, for example, both casino and lottery games, must apply for two different licences from the UK Gambling Commission if they want British gamblers to use their services. These are the different licenses issued by the UKGC:

  • License for bingo.
  • License for casino.
  • License for slot machines.
  • License for ticket insurance.
  • License for betting.
  • License for lottery.


Requirements for obtaining a UK gaming license

  • All casinos must keep players’ money separate from the operator’s pockets. This is to avoid players losing money in the event of a bankruptcy.
  • All players must be at least 18 years old and identify themselves in order to gamble. The casino must require verification of age, name, address and payment method.
  • The casino must make the players aware of the risks of gambling and be able to offer assistance to players.
  • Casinos may only use software developed by licensed software vendors to secure fair games.
  • Casinos may only advertise gambling in ways that are not misleading to players.
  • There must be customer support available.


Application process

All potential gambling operators can apply for a UK Gambling Commission License through an online portal that contains all the documents and general information about the license. The self-service offers three different services – licensed gambling services, business or personal license and e-services for personal licensees.

The whole process takes about 16 weeks to complete if the operator provides all the necessary information to the Commission. Once the application is submitted, UKGC will start the process. UKGC first verifies the company’s identity and ownership, then conducts a full audit of its finances, integrity and expertise, and lastly UKGC conducts a background check of any criminal activity. UKGC also ensures that the gambling company’s policy complies with its strict licensing objectives.

Once issued, the license shall be valid indefinitely unless it is revoked, suspended, forfeited or surrendered. There is an annual fee that the operator must pay within 30 days after the license is issued.