When we look at heavyweight bookmakers such as William Hill, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, Coral, and BetFred – it is clear to see just how regulated these operators are. One only needs to look in the news to see that the Gambling Commission performs regular assessments on major betting companies with respect to player protections, honouring bets, gaming data, anti-money laundering, and more.
However, how are new casino websites regulated? Well, in a nutshell, whether the casino site is one day old or five-decades strong – the process is exactly the same. If the casino site in question wishes to offer its services to the UK market, it must be regulated by the Gambling Commission. No ifs, no buts. The law is the law.
If you’re interested to find out more about how the stringent regulatory framework of the UK online casino space affects you as a player, be sure to read on!
The application process
First and foremost, before a casino site can even think about opening its doors to UK players, it must go through the long and cumbersome process of applying for a Gambling Commission license. If you’re ever unsure as to whether or not a casino site has done this, you should be able to extract the platform’s license number from the homepage. You can then cross-reference this number with the official Gambling Commission website.
Nevertheless, in order to have a gaming license application approved, the casino site must satisfy the Gambling Commission that they have the player’s best interests at heart. Notably, this includes the ability to prevent under-age or problem gamblers from accessing the site, and ensuring that player funds are held in segregated accounts. It also requires the casino site to prove they have a comprehensive system in place to prevent fraud and money laundering.
Until the license application is approved, the new casino is unable to accept UK players. In doing so, it would be operating illegally – which in itself opens up a whole new can of worms.
Retaining the license
As soon as the new casino receives its gaming license from the Gambling Commission, it is then free to start accepting account registrations from the UK market. However, this isn’t to say that the new casino can simply operate as it sees fit. On the contrary, the casino must meet and comply with the Gambling Commission’s LCCP (licence conditions and codes of practice), as well as the wider Gambling Act 2005.
Failure to do this will result in severe penalties for the new casino site. At the lower end, the Gambling Commission has the power to instal monetary fines – both to the operator and individual license holders. At the upper end of the sanction list, the Gambling Commission can revoke the casino’s license.
If they do, then the casino would no longer be able to offer its services to UK players. Crucially, it is likely that other players in the licensing space – such as the Malta Gaming Authority or Gibraltar Gambling Commission, would follow suit by also revoking the casino’s regulatory status.
The bottom line?
In summary, the UK online casino space is one of, if not the safest gambling arenas in the world. As such, regardless of how long the casino has been operational for, they must be in full receipt of a Gambling Commission license. Not only is the application process itself highly stringent, but new casinos must ensure that they comply with regulations indefinitely. Ultimately, pre-arranged and random audits of the casino ensure that the remote UK gambling space remains safe and secure at all times.
A keen researcher in the development of methods and theories for computer sciences. A lover of algorithms and mathematical computation. Consultant to online slots software companies and a player in my spare time.