Safeguarding Casino Players by ensuring gambling is safe

by Joe Ellison Last Updated
uk gambling commission

Gambling protection for players is a hugely important issue both in the UK and around the world. Sometimes we don’t realise just how vulnerable our personal data can be when we enter our bank details into websites. But ensuring player protection from the first bet to the last is paramount if any country is to have a successful, thriving and legitimate gambling industry.

In recent years the rise in gambling activity and new online casinos across the UK has forced legislators to reconsider and rewrite their laws. A focus on protecting an influx of players into the community, ensuring hackers cannot access databases, and maintaining regulations with regards to safeguarding all come under the remit of the UK Gambling Commission.

This body effectively acts as a guarantee that players will get protection from fraud and nefarious activity if they gamble with a legal casino or sportsbook.

It has taken years to build up these protections, to ensure children aren’t shown advertising imagery, and to maintain the rule of law. But what is the UK Gambling Commission, and what does it do?

Here, we take you through why the UKGC is one of the most important regulatory bodies in the UK today…

What does the UK Gambling Commission do for UK Gamblers?

Every industry needs a regulator – and that’s why the UK Gambling Commission exists. The UKGC provides regulatory oversight of the United Kingdom’s gambling and sports betting industry. That means it is able to “licence, regulate, advise and provide guidance to the individuals and businesses that offer gambling in Great Britain, including the National Lottery in the UK”.

It’s a big organisation, covering everything from 2p arcade machines to high stakes operators. It exists primarily for the good of players, to “safeguard players and the wider public by ensuring gambling is fair and safe”. And in this sense it is invaluable to the running and organisation of the industry across the country.

Of course, the UKGC has to operate within the law. It cannot shut down a casino or casino app unless said site has broken the law. Likewise, it cannot prosecute fraud cases unless there is evidence of fraud. The UKGC’s remit is set out in the 2005 Gambling Act and the updated 2014 Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act. But it is expected to change again when the UK government updates its legislation some time in 2023 or 2024.

The UKGC is funded by fees obtained from gambling and sports betting companies. The fee amounts are set by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS). So, if a government wants greater regulatory power over the industry, it is likely to increase the fees required to be paid to the UKGC. 

uk gambling commission betting

UKGC Gambling Industry Laws: Key Objectives

The UKGC effectively has responsibility for regulating the gambling industry as it is set out in law. This means it handles:

  • Licensing of gambling businesses
  • Licensing people who work in the gambling industry
  • Carrying out compliance activities
  • Carrying out enforcement action and prosecution work, if a business or individual breaches their licence conditions
  • Working closely with the gambling industry to raise standards
  • Providing advice and guidance to players and the public
  • Being the leading authority on gambling related statistics and research

Its mission is “to make gambling fairer and safer” by “licensing and regulating in the public interest and providing advice and guidance”. In doing this, the UKGC aims to:

  • Protect children and vulnerable people from being harmed by gambling
  • Provide a fairer market and more informed consumers
  • Keep crime out of gambling
  • Optimise returns to good causes from The National Lottery
  • Improve gambling regulation

The UKGC has the power to heavily fine operators, be they amusement arcades, live casino operators, poker houses or racecourses, who breach the regulations. For example, Smarkets was fined £17m in 2022 for “regulatory failures”.

The Protection of Players is very Important: Here is Why? 

Protecting players and ensuring high standards across the industry is what the UKGC is there for. It acts as a safeguard for customers so you can trust our legal mobile casinos in the UK. There are various ways the UKGC does this, including:

  • Licensing – A UK casino cannot hold a licence without approval from the UKGC. To get a licence a casino must prove it can meet the regulatory standards set out in the Gambling Act, focusing on player safety, anti-fraud detection, anti-money laundering initiatives, and ensuring fairness of games. The UKGC can choose to suspend, withhold and even cancel a casino licence if it detects breaches of these terms.
  • Advertising – The UKGC oversees all UK gambling advertising, and has the power to revoke adverts, issue fines and further punishments for casinos that break advertising rules.
  • Security – The UKGC is in constant discussions with security providers to ensure player accounts as are secure as possible among legal UK casinos and sportsbooks.
  • Problem gambling – The UKGC works with numerous charities and other initiatives to help detect, prevent and care for those who suffer from problem gambling. It includes adding input to the advisory board on safer gambling.
  • Mediator – The UKGC can help mediate in instances of customer complaints and safety concerns within the industry. It also has a network of legal resources that players can seek out.
  • Research – The UKGC carries out continual research into the state of online gambling and in-person gambling in the UK, in order to draw up recommendations for the government.
  • Government advice – Indeed, these recommendations form the bedrock of the government’s policies into the gambling industry. Of course, the government can choose to follow as much or as little as the UKGC advises, but it still gives the UKGC the permission to regulate according to the current laws.

Contact UKGC

The UKGC is one of the best places to go if you feel you need help with problem gambling, or want to make a complaint against a casino or sportsbook. You can contact the UKGC here, where you’ll find a wide range of helpful guides into all sorts of things relating to gambling activity.

It is also possible to report suspicions of illegal activity to the UKGC in a confidential process that means you can be assured your identity will not be revealed. This is important if you suspect nefarious activity at any of our best online casino or betting house.

About the Author

    

    
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Joe is a journalist, editor and copywriter who specialises in sport, politics, film and the gaming industry. He works on Fleet Street for national newspapers and other publicans across the UK and in North America. He is an experienced product reviewer and editor for global brands and gambing companies. He has interviewed everyone from elite sport stars to the next generation of influential business people.
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