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Online Gambling in the UK

Online Gambling in the UK

The gambling industry in the United Kingdom is massive. It is also highly competitive. Due to the competitiveness in the industry, nearly every UK online gambling site will have some sort of bonus system in play. The idea is that these small incentives, often taking the form of matched deposits, 'free' bets, or other nifty little bonuses, are designed to encourage people to sign up to an online betting site and stick around for the long term. It works so well that an online site that doesn't have any sort of bonus system in place likely wouldn't be doing that much business at all.

Here, we want to take a little look at some of the nuances of the gambling industry. This way you can get a feel for the legality of gambling in the country, as well as get a couple of ideas on staying safe when betting online.

Is Online Gambling Legal in the UK?

Absolutely. In fact, you may be surprised to know this, but gambling in the UK is a huge industry. We aren't just talking about online casinos where players can gamble their money. You may also be surprised to know that many of the top casino game developers are based in the United Kingdom too. This means that the country is one of the top exporters in the gambling industry too. The only countries that come close would be Sweden and Malta. Sweden because they also play host to countless developers, and Malta because of the ease of obtaining an internationally recognised gambling licence for online sites.

The UK has very few limitations in place when it comes to gambling. The only real requirement is that if you want to offer gambling services to residents of the UK then you have to be registered with the UK Gambling Commission. This is essentially a governing body that regulates the gambling industry in order to ensure that it is fair and safe for gamblers.

Outside of this, beyond the typical 'you have to be 18 to gamble' and 'you can't money launder when gambling online', there are very, very few regulations related to online gambling in the UK. Well, at least on the player's end. The casinos have a few limitations on what they can do. For example, in recent years, their games are not allowed to use brighter colours that may catch the attention of children, and there has to be very specific wording with regards to their bonuses. However, this isn't really something that will impact the average player.

The only thing that really impacts the player when it comes to UK online gambling in recent years has been the ban on using credit cards to gamble. Again, not something that the player needs to worry about because if a player uses a credit card, the crime would have been committed by the online casino as opposed to the gambler.

What Are the Biggest Online Gambling Sites in the UK?

Due to the way in which the gambling industry works in the UK, it is surprisingly difficult to establish what the biggest gambling sites are. This is because many of the licensed gambling companies tend to have smaller websites operating under a singular licence as opposed to one main website. This allows them to focus on different markets.

The biggest online gambling sites in the UK are ones that you will likely already have heard of. This includes Sky Vegas, William Hill, Sun Vegas, BetFred, and 888 Casino. However, you also have plenty of smaller online casinos that are also great fun. This includes, of course, includes gold rush slots, Karamba slots, Betway, Casimba, Vera & John, and Mr Green. If you go through the various online casinos, you will probably notice that even the smaller sites you stumble across are under licence from some of the largest online casinos in the country.

Is Online Gambling Safe?

As long as you do your due diligence and gamble responsibly, then UK online gambling is perfectly safe. In fact, some would argue that it is typically safer than your average online transactions.

In the United Kingdom, every gambling site that wants to offer gambling services to residents of the country needs to be licensed by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). if there is no licence in place, then the site cannot legally operate. It takes a huge amount of effort for an online gambling site to obtain one of these licences. It is also going to cost a huge amount of cash.

The role of the UKGC is to provide oversight of the gambling industry. Their job is to ensure that online gambling sites treat their gamblers fairly.. The UKGC will be there if players run into any issues. In fact, if you are gambling at a fully-licensed website, then the UKGC would love to help you if you run into any issues.

The UKGC heavily supports gamblers that have issues. They are not afraid to dish out fines if a UK gambling site operates outside of its licence. In fact, they are not afraid to dish out some rather substantial fines. We have seen major online casinos and bookmakers have to deal with fines totalling several million pounds for often the most minor of transgressions. Since most UK online gambling sites do not want to be fined millions of quid, they tend to try and stay in line, often to a fault.

The UKGC maintains a list of all licensed gambling sites and any upheld complaints about them. This means that if you stumble across somewhere new that you want to check-out, you can always consult the UKGC to see whether it is safe to gamble there. However, to be honest with you, with the difficulty of obtaining a gambling licence in the UK, if a site is actually registered with the UKGC, you are going to be safe anyway.


UK online gambling is a massive industry. While there is a small amount of regulation in place, the UK remains one of the top countries in the world for those that fancy a flutter every now and then. If you live in the UK, you have your pick of a far greater selection of top online casinos than anywhere else around.