United Kingdom

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The UK Gambling Commission was founded in 2005 through the Gambling Act’s issue. This law, divided into 18 parts, can be considered the British gambling 'Magna Charta', namely that document specifying games according to their type and modality all the subsequent regulation refer to.

UK Gambling Commission’s foundation and structure

With the Gambling Act of 2005 it was also founded the Gambling Commission, an independent organization defined as NDPB (non-departmental public body) that immediately worked in partnership with the licensing authorities located in the concessionaire States, in order to harmonize the sector insofar as possible. Of course, behind the Commission there is the funding of a governmental authority, specifically the UK “Culture Department” and “Media and Sport (DCMS)”.

The Commission’s task force is composed by around 200 employees working in the Birmingham headquarters, plus 50 additional units working from home, located in England, Scotland and Wales. This staff is directly paid from Ministry, but the Commission receives funding from the different bodies dealing with license and certificates’ issues;these bodies cooperate with the Commission itself.

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Gambling Commission activities

The main activity regards gambling regulations that in Britain, before Gambling Commission’s founding, was fragmented and uneven. The mere regulation activity in terms of the limits relative to games’ exercise, time and payment modalities is accompanied by the promotion of a safe and responsible game’s compliance. The decisions related to this activities aim to keep away mafia organizations and all the money laundering movements in general. In the meanwhile, the Commission promotes policies to keep minors away from lotteries, online casinos and sports betting.

Regulation areas

The areas in which the Commission operates can be split into these game categories:

  • arcade
  • betting
  • bingo
  • casinos
  • gambling machines’ supply and maintenance
  • game softwares’ supply
  • lotteries and lottery system’s management
  • gioco a distanza (tra cui scommesse online, per telefono, o tramite
  • remote gaming (online, phone betting or bets throughany other electronic communication device) based in Great Britain

Arcade

The gaming rooms in UK are of 3 types:

  • Adult Gaming Rooms (AGC – Adult Game Centers))
  • Familiar Entertainment Centers with license (FEC – Familiar Entertainment Centers)
  • FEC without license

FEC with license obviously have an adult exclusive zone. As for the licenses required to open a gaming room, they may vary according to the type of game machines.

Bets

The Gambling Act defines bets a prevision on the probabilities that it would occur un result or an event in a challenge, competition or any other event or process concerning politics or entertainment and, by and large, any sector of private or social life a bookmaker can create shares for.

These are the main UK approved places where you can make bets:

  • bookmakers’ offices (off-course)
  • sites where challenges are taking place (on-course)
  • remote method (online gambling included)

Sport areas they accept bets for are generally divided as follows:

  • horseracing bets
  • soccer bets and other sport bets
  • bets like “fantasy football”

Of course, sport bets can be made online, through the websites of the regularly licensed operators.

As for “Spread Betting” bets, based on the accuracy of the previsions within a range of results, they are regulated by FSA - Financial Services Authority.

Bingo

Bingo is not legally defined such in a way that strictly regulate the games’ rules. Anyway, it is available a standard set of rules that are almost the same in the whole Great Britain territory and that are applied also to the online Bingo.

In 2008 the Gambling Commission published a series of technical requirements and equipment that Bingo rooms and terrestrial casinos providing Bingo must show.

Casinò

Since Gambling Act had become effective (September 1, 2007), in UK there were 140 casinos founded with the former legislation’s permission. Gambling Act may decide to open other 16 casinos (8 big and 8 small casinos), for a total of 16 new gambling rooms, whose licenses’ issuing process is still open.

Most of casinos offer a wide range of typical casino games, from the roulette (European and American) to blackjack. In most of casinos we can find slots and poker, but there’s also a small group of casinos specialized in providing only electronic terminals and games of chance. They think that the introduction of 16 new casinos scheduled for the next years will also provide bets and Bingo.

Online casinos and remote betting

The UK Gambling Commission has a strict regulation for what concerns remote gambling game and the standard to respect for support.
Game platform’s manufacturers and controlling softwares as well as the operators are called to comply with the Commission’s technical standards and the requirements concerning times and procedures in order to make verification tests before issuing licenses.

The elements to comply with have been accurately defined in a document of August 2009 that places Remote Technical Standards and security devices within the following operative areas:

  • customer and account information’s protection
  • transactions’ display
  • rules and descriptions of any single game and winning probability
  • events regulated by time factors
  • accurate determination of the results
  • accurate determination of the results as concerns entertainment games
  • RNG – Random Number Generatori
  • skill and chance games in auto-play mode
  • uninterrupted gambling
  • collusion and fraud cases’ limitation
  • financial limits
  • time requirements
  • sensible design of the single products
  • proper games’ information
  • compliance with safety requirements according to the international standards

As for safety requirements, it is necessary to distinguish the standard’s application fields:

  • Electronic data recording systems, including storage, processing, sharing, transmission or information recovery sensible on customers. For example, we can find in this category credit/debit card details, authentication/login information and customer account balance;
  • Electronic generating and transmission systems of numbers generated through random processes used to establish game winnings' amount or virtual occurrences;
  • Electronic scoring storage systems and data concerning customer’s bets;
  • Entry and exit points from the systems mentioned above;
  • Communication networks through which customer sensible data are transferred;

Why choose UK ?

The English regulation system concerning both online and real gambling is one of the most advanced in the world. The English always stand out for their skill in legal provisions and, as you can see, every operation is managed through the following web site: www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk

The Commission’s job is to guarantee law compliance and license conditions and codes of practice (LCCP) that all the license owners must carefully follow. When necessary, restrictions to weed out lawlessness and sports bribery are taken in order to defend responsible and lawful gaming.

Obviously, the English approach is more flexible and it evaluates on a case by case basis. The Commission’s method provides a nonstop data gathering and a crowded intelligence activity.

Excluded activities

In order to guarantee informative clearness, UK Gambling Commission points out that it doesn’t deal with:

  • Helping operators to resolve matters concerning consumers’ complaints. on game transactions like payments and repayments. The owners of licenses must showwritten procedures that the players must subscribe in the matter of complaints’ management, as well as clauses to settle the disputes in which an independent third party is involved;
  • Providing legal advice in order to help business models or concepts to be developed. This service deals with general information and advices in terms of regulations and procedures for obtaining licenses;
  • Regulating online gambling for users living in Great Britain, since most of the operators are abroad based and they are subject to the regulations of the States hosting them.
  • Regulating “spread betting” (Financial Services Authority deals with it) or the National Lottery;

Duties of the License Authority of each State

License Authorities are responsible of:

  • issuing to operators game licenses in force on their territories
  • issuing permissions to operators, in order to allow the game exercise also in non-dedicated places.
  • recording the societies operating in small lotteries’ field
  • guaranteeing law’s compliance and application at local level.

Head Office

  • Gambling Commission
  • Victoria Square House
  • Birmingham
  • B2 4BP
  • Email: info@gamblingcommission.gov.uk