An important part of online gambling is ensuring the betting site you choose is licensed, regulated, and compliant with the law and codes of practice. It is prudent to always seek guarantees that your money is in safe hands before you even think about placing a bet.
The UK is broadly recognised as being one of the stricter jurisdictions, putting a lot of emphasis on punters protection and social responsibility. Each online casino operating in the country must hold a license from the UK Gambling Commission, that’s loud and clear.
But there are several other regulatory bodies watching out for punters by ensuring that all betting sites, and featured games, are fair and transparent. Besides, such agencies, whether governmental or non-governmental, also prevent instances of criminal activity and privacy breach, while also warranting children are not exploited.
This page takes a long look at some of the major licensing and regulatory bureaus in the UK, explaining the role of each. It also analyses the guidelines that the regulated online casinos must adhere to in order to obtain and maintain such licenses.
The UKGC was set up under the Gambling Act 2005 to regulate all commercial gambling activities in Great Britain. In order for any online casino to operate in the UK, it must obtain a valid license from the UKGC. According to the Gambling Act 2005, this license ensures that all casino sites and games are trade-fair and trustworthy.
The commission also ensures that there is no connection between gambling and criminal activity such as violation of privacy or cybercrime. Further, it strictly makes sure no persons under the age of 18 are allowed to participate in any kind of betting.
To obtain a UKGC license, a gambling company must meet a variety of suitability standards outlined by the agency. Firstly, the confirmation of the company or person applying for the license must be provided for accountability and liability reasons.
Secondly, the company or person applying for this license must provide proof of enough finances to run the online casino. The funds must be sufficient enough to warrant that the business won’t collapse even after a series of big winnings by bettors.
Thirdly, there must be proof that a company or person that intends to run a casino site is trustworthy and honest. This may include any evidence of a clear criminal record, along with qualification proving that one is capable of running a gambling business.
When a casino site receives the UKGC license, they must at all times expect to be watched closely by the commission. The UKGC can legally visit the physical location of the operator to assess the business, how it conducts transactions, and check its finances.
If the gambling commission finds flaws, complications, or unfairness associated with the online casino it can recommend changes in operation. If the commission discovers huge faults or untrustworthiness to the punters, this licensing body can issue fines or revoke the license altogether.
The Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) was established in May 2000 to monitor gambling activities in Alderney, one of the British Channel Islands. Like UKGC, AGCC ensures that online gambling in the region is conducted in both an honest and fair manner and remaining free from criminal influence.
This non-governmental commission functions in respect of the interests of punters in the island assessing the backgrounds of various online betting entities. This includes monitoring the fairness and audibility of games provided, sources of business funding, and the ultimate beneficiaries of the licensed entity.
The commission is also responsible for granting approval and non-stop reviewing of policies that protect punters and prevent underage gambling. This involves analysing issues to do with customer registration, verification, complaints, limit of activity, and funds, as well as conducting customer counselling.
eCOGRA was launched in 2003 and awarded the United Kingdom Accreditation Services (UKAS) ISO in 2005 as an approved testing agency. Unlike UKGC and AGCC, eCOGRA is not a licensing commission, but rather one of the leading testers of online casino software in the UK and beyond.
Most of the people familiar with the online betting will recognise the eCOGRA logo on the majority of operators, affiliates, and software providers sites. If you come across this logo it simply signifies that the casino is approved for fair gaming, responsible conduct, and player protection.
It ensures fair gaming by conducting continuous RNG and RTP game evaluations while also ensuring the accredited online casinos provide prompt and accurate payments. It also certifies that the operator functions under secure, safe, and reliable conditions which ensure safety for vulnerable punters and averts underage gambling.
eCOGRA also ensures that the accredited online casinos and software providers conduct responsible marketing and are committed to customer satisfaction and support. Approved operators are awarded eCOGRA’s Safe and Fair Seal, while affiliate and software providers are awarded eCOGRA’s Affiliate Trust Seal and Certified Software Seal, respectively.
The Gambling Supervision Commission (‘GSC’) is an independent statutory board that regulates all the gambling activities in the Isle of Man. Since 1962, this organisation has worked to ensure gambling in the region remains honest, free of criminal activity, and all pay-outs are handed out correctly.
The commission does this by continuously checking games (for randomness and fairness), protecting customers finances, prevent underage betting, and regulating casino operators. All casino operators, both land-based and online, licensed under GCS are allowed to responsibly advertise, market, and conduct their businesses in British territory.
While MGA is not situated in the UK, it is one of the largest, if not the largest regulatory body in the online betting industry. In fact, most of the most reputable and largest casino sites in the UK such as Casumo are licensed by both UKGC and MGA.
If you are placing a wager in a casino licensed under MGA, rest assured that its establishment is in accordance with the gambling laws in Malta. The agency works in various ways to ensure that the licensed gambling platforms maintain fair and trustworthy standards in their dealings.
This means checking sites for privacy concerns, security issues, integrity, and games’ RNG and RTP, while also preventing underage persons from participating. It also ensures pay-outs are completed as per the set requirements and clients’ concerns addressed amicably by the casino operator.
Like MGA, GRA is not located in the UK, but a considerable number of frequented online casinos are authorised and licensed by this agency. For this reason, we found it appropriate to add GRA to our list of licensing agencies especially because of its strict adherence to EU laws.
Following Gibraltar’s Gambling Act 2000, GRA is dedicated to providing licenses to selected betting platforms that meet the agency’s standards. A casino site’s handling of punters payments, data, privacy, age limit, advertising, and issues of integrity are among GRA’s main obligations.