How Does the UKGC Regulate UK Casinos?

If you’re partial to the odd flutter at the bookies now and then, a night at the dogs, a day at the races, or a visit to the casino, you’ll know just how exciting gambling can be. Sure, the main objective is to win money, but if you stop and simply appreciate the experience, you’ll understand why so many people love it.

Here in the UK, the gambling industry has grown exponentially over the years, driven largely by the improvements in modern technology and the internet. While bricks and mortar casinos and bookmakers will always have their place on the High Street and in towns and cities across the nation, as more and more people discover the excitement of online betting, it becomes apparent that the need for proper regulation is greater than ever.

In the UK, the gambling industry is estimated to have a GGY (Gross Gambling Yield) of £14.2 Billion and as the industry continues to grow and expand, we hear more and more horror stories of unsuspecting punters having their details stolen on dodgy online betting sites, or being ripped off by unscrupulous casinos and bookmakers. This is where the United Kingdom Gambling Commission enters the mix.

Here's a look at what the UKGC is and how it regulates UK casinos.

What is the UKGC?

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission is an organisation which was put to work as a result of the Gambling Act 2005.

The primary objective and purpose of the UKGC is to provide protection for gamblers using the services of casinos and bookmakers, or visiting casinos or bookmakers with the intention of staking money and placing bets or gambling in other forms.

Put even simpler still, the UKGC’s primary objective is simply to protect British players from being ripped off and scammed by unscrupulous, greedy, non-reputable gambling companies operating within the UK. The UKGC wants a fair outcome for British gamblers, and it has their best interests at heart. Think of it like a Union, but for British gamblers.

This not-for-profit organisation is in charge of providing gambling licences to gambling companies that behave in a professional, legal, and responsible manner. If any organisation wishes to take money from people with the chance for them to win money in return, they will need, by law, a licence which they can obtain from the UKGC.

The UKGC regulates the UK gambling industry and it therefore oversees the operations of: The Lottery, Bingo halls, casinos, and sports betting.

What are the UKGC’s primary responsibilities?

We’ve already briefly covered what the UKGC does and why it is so important, but to expand somewhat on this, let’s now take a better look at what the United Kingdom Gambling Commission’s key responsibilities are:

  • Protecting minors and other vulnerable individuals from being exploited or harmed by gambling.
  • Ensuring that gambling is carried out openly, fairly, and legally.

  • Preventing gambling from becoming a source of crime or disorder, from being used to support crime, or from being associated with sources of crime or disorder.

If a company does indeed intend to offer gambling services in Britain, by law, they must apply for a licence from the UKGC. Rest assured, this is not a simple process and isn’t just a case of submitting a claim and waiting for the licence to arrive in the post. There is an extensive list of criteria that casinos must meet before they are granted this licence.

How does the UKGC enforce this?

The UKGC enforces the aforementioned regulations in a variety of different ways. One such way is for them to regularly visit the premises of gambling companies and issuing licences, reviewing their financial details and records, and, perhaps most importantly, by taking regulatory action up against licence holders which have failed to comply with these terms.

The commission enforces the Gambling Act 2005 and sets out to keep crime associated with gambling to a minimum. We know that in an ideal world there would be zero crime associated with gambling, but we also know that we live in a far from ideal world, and gambling and crime are still heavily linked with one another in some walks of life.

As well as visiting the premises of casinos and bookmakers, the UKGC also regulates online casinos and sports betting sites, which is hardly surprising considering the amount of people who now do the bulk of their gambling online. Again, the UKGC ensures that these online entities adhere to these rules and regulations.

The sad reality is that, as there are so many online casinos and betting sites out there, and popping up each and every day, a small percentage of them are unlicenced and unregulated, which in turn means that the customer is at risk of all kinds of issues ranging from identity theft to fraud, and everything else in between.

Why should you choose to gamble at UKGC licenced casinos?

As mentioned, there are countless casinos out there, both online and out in the real world, and not every single one of those operating in Britain or providing gambling services to British citizens is going to be licenced.

But what does this matter? Why should you choose a licenced casino over an unlicenced casino? Here’s a look at a few reasons why you should choose a UKGC licenced casino.

Fair gaming experience

One of the best things about choosing a UKGC licenced casino here in the UK is the fact that they offer you, the player, a fair gaming experience. What do we mean by this? Basically, it means that you have a realistic chance of winning some money, and the casino itself will be transparent in terms of your chances.

The UKGC enforces these fair gaming experiences in a whole variety of different ways, particularly when it comes to the use of random number generators, or RNGs for short. RNGs help with producing the result of any virtual game so there is no chance of the game being fixed or rigged to prevent players from winning. When you use a casino, obviously your primary goal is to win some money so you’d be a little, or a lot, ticked off if you used a site only to find that it had been rigged so that it was virtually impossible for you to win.

Games like Roulette, Blackjack, Slots, and instant win games all require the use of RNGs to generate the numbers you see in the final result of the game.

As well as RNGs, online casinos licenced by the UKGC must also specify to the player the RTP (Return to Player) of virtual games online. This is basically a percentage which determines a percentage of how much money players have put into a game that is statistically going to be returned to them in the form of winnings.

So, very simply, if the RTP on a game was 90%, this means that for every £200 that is spent on a game, £180 is returned to players of the game, though obviously, this is not necessarily the same players.

Obviously, the percentage difference here represents how the casinos make money, so in this case it’s 10%. This figure should not be taken too literally as different casinos have different RTPs.

Protection for players

Arguably the most important reason to do your gambling at a UKGC licenced casino is the fact that it offers you, the player, so much additional protection.

When you gamble online especially, you need to enter personal and financial information about yourself when you sign up. Not only do you need to enter your name, address, date of birth, and financial info for making deposits and withdrawals, you may also need to provide proof of identity in the form of a passport, driving licence, or even National Insurance number.

The last thing you want when entering personal and sensitive information like this is for it to fall into the wrong hands which is why online cyber security is so important. The UKGC has very strict standards which all of the online casinos it regulates must meet to ensure that players are protected when gambling online.

This is not only to ensure that the casino itself doesn’t steal and sell your data, but also to ensure that the online casino isn’t hacked, whereby your personal data could be stolen as well. he UKGC basically ensures that casinos have the necessary online security in place to ensure they aren’t hacked which means your personal info is in the safest possible hands.


Operator accountability is another benefit associated with online casinos regulated by the UKGC as this ensures that casinos conduct themselves in a fair, legal, and professional manner.

You will no doubt, have heard stories of players winning huge jackpots online with various casinos and bookmakers, only for the casinos to turn around and refuse to pay out the jackpot, making up all kinds of nonsense claims such as ‘glitches in the system’ and suchlike. The last thing you want is for that to happen to you which is why you should go with a UKGC regulated casino as this will ensure that they can’t try pulling any fast ones like that.

If players are unhappy with the conduct of an online casino, whether it be due to customer service, terms and conditions, gambling experience, or anything else, they can go ahead and file a complaint with the UKGC, who will then launch an official investigation.

Obviously if a player gambled with an unregulated and unlicenced casino, they could in theory scoop the jackpot and the casino could refuse to pay them, leaving the player in limbo as they legally have no rights.

Fairness and accountability in the gambling industry, both online and in the real world, are absolutely essential so make sure you always do your betting with UKGC regulated casinos if you are in the UK.

Separate player funds

Finally, the last reason why it is so essential for you to gamble with a UKGC regulated casino is due to the fact that they look into whether or not the casino holds the player funds in a separate account.

If this doesn’t sound important to you, you might change your mind when you learn about how this could potentially save you a heap of money. You see, if a casino were to enter administration or file for bankruptcy, if player funds weren’t held in a separate account, players would lose everything if the casino went under.

If the casino went under and they held player funds in a separate account however, it means that player money is still safe and secure, and won’t be lost.

The UKGC checks whether player funds are kept separate or not, which in turn gives the players peace of mind because they know their money is safe.

Imagine a nightmare scenario where you scooped the big bingo jackpot of £50K, and were eagerly sat waiting for the funds to clear in your betting wallet so that you could transfer them into your bank, only to find that the casino filed for bankruptcy, didn’t have your funds in a separate player account, and you lost the lot. Doesn’t bear thinking of, does it? If the casino held your funds in a separate account however, you would still get your £50K, whether the casino entered administration or not.

Closing thoughts

So, as you can see, the UKGC is a legitimate organisation that has revolutionised the gambling industry here in the UK for the better.

Without the UKGC, casinos wouldn’t be regulated, your rights would be at risk, as would your personal data and your finances too, and nobody wants that. If you are thinking of betting in the UK, make sure the casino you’re using is indeed regulated by the UKGC.

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