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Gambling in the United Kingdom

All forms of land-based and online gambling are legal in the United Kingdom, as of January 2017. The Gambling Commission is the responsible regulator of the land-based as well as the online gambling in the United Kingdom. In this respect all UK casinos, sportsbooks, or other types of gambling providers, brick and mortar as well as online, are licensed and regulated by the Gambling Commission.

The first form of gambling to be regulated was the lottery, which was established in the mid 1930s. The years following World War II saw a massive surge in the country’s interest in gambling, but it wasn’t until later that the industry become well regulated. The early 1960s saw the emergence of regulation and taxation of everything from casinos to off-course betting shops. Initially, only small venues with a few game machines were allowed, but new regulations under the Gambling Act of 2005 opened the way for large scale casinos.

Today, the gambling industry in the United Kingdom is enormous. Bingo is immensely popular, and bingo halls can be found even in the smallest downs. Beside this most of the pubs also possess at least one gambling machine.

Online Gambling in the United Kingdom

The UK is also a hotspot for online gambling of all kinds. Not only is it popular among residents, but it's made easy since there is nothing in current legislation which makes it illegal, or seeks to prevent British residents gambling on the internet in their own homes. In fact, the UK Gambling Commission grants licenses to companies that wish to set up internet gambling sites, letting them operate from within UK territory and serve customers in other parts of the world.

Levying a 15% tax on Gross Gaming Revenue encouraged several companies to get their licenses elsewhere. Some of the UK’s largest online gambling groups moved their offices offshore, where taxes are lower.
But a new law which came into force on November 1, 2014, has made sure that gambling operators won’t be able to get away with this little trick. As of this date, all companies wishing to be present on the British market need to obtain a license from the UK Gambling Commission.