The UKGC stands for the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, they are a regulatory body established in 2007. The UKGC (for short) is the government body that controls all the regulations, laws, taxes and licensing for gambling in the UK. They also undertake industry research and compliance audits to ensure that players are protected when they are gambling online.
Across the world, there are different gambling jurisdictions. A gambling jurisdiction is a territory where gambling has been legalised. In each country, this depends on national attitudes and legislation towards gambling. Plus not all gambling jurisdictions are created equally or under the same laws, meaning some locations offer better or worse protection for players, depending on the jurisdiction.
Luckily for you guys, the good news is that the UK player is one of the best. Offering high levels of player protection and even tax-free winnings! All UK casinos and software providers must be licensed by the UKGC. And the UKGC is one of the world’s best and toughest licensing jurisdictions, particularly known for their commitment to player protection. Let’s take a closer look!
When was the UKGC Established?
The UK has been pro-gambling since 1960. In 2005 there was a huge legislative overhaul in response to online gambling and the business potential it offered the UK economy.
In response, the UK government created a special regulatory branch, the UKGC, to oversee and regulate all gambling activities in the UK both online and land-based.
The UKGC now issues licences to operate, ensures technical testing and certification, and that gambling is crime-free and safe for all players. Let’s take a look at how they do it and why it is beneficial for you.
Is Gambling Regulation Beneficial for Players?
Gambling legislation, especially when it pertains to online gambling, is beneficial to players in many ways.
First and foremost because it makes a system of rules that apply to operators. Operators must adhere to the Licencing Conditions and Codes of Practice (the rule book) set out by the UKGC. They face harsh penalties for non-compliance and can have their licence revoked. Without this set of rules, in effect, it could be like the Wild West out there.
The LCCP is a living document- it is not set in stone- and is open to additions based on latest trends, research and laws. Meaning that the UKGC is always on top of the industry and that the LCCPs are amended regularly.
The fact that punishments are given in the form of (sometimes) massive fines means compliance from operators is the norm. Casinos and software producers must follow regulations or face investigations, penalties and the possibility of losing their right to provide gambling services or products to UK customers. All in all, this makes the UK, the world safest gambling jurisdictions.
What are the Main Points of Player Protection set out by the UKGC?
The objectives of the UKGC are as follows:
- Preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder, or being used to support crime.
- Ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way.
- Protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.
To meet their objectives and sustain the commission the gambling operators must pay for their licensing and pay taxes to the UK government. The rate is 15% of all profits.
Players, on the other hand, do not need to pay taxes on gambling in the UK as the UKGC accounts for this through the tax levied against the operators. This is of huge benefit to players and another example of how UKGC looks out for players- sometimes on surprising levels.
Particular areas of the LCCPs that apply to player protection include:
- the separation of players funds
- responsible gambling tools like time-outs
- fair advertising of bonuses and full explanations given in the terms and conditions
- testing and auditing of casino RNGs
- RTPs audits, tests and publication of results essentially making gambling fair and much more!
How Seriously Does the UKGC Take Gambling Regulation?
Earlier we mentioned that the UKGC fines any operator they find to be out of compliance with the LCCPs. They are very serious in this respect.
In 2018, 3 of the biggest-ever fines were handed out by the UKGC for operators with compliance issues. One issued for non-compliance with responsible gambling provisions; the other two for failing to meet money-laundering regulations. In total, the fines reached £14m- the biggest of which was a record-breaking £7.8 million to the operator who failed to protect players with responsible gambling measures (The Guardian, 2018).
If in any doubt, rest assured UK that players are definitely in safe hands with the UKGC to watching over the market and operators!