While there is a large amount of legislation when it comes to gambling in the UK, there are still a vast number of options available to players today, whether it be on the high street or online. The legal age of gambling remains 18, with legislation from back in the 1960’s having made gambling legal across the UK. As a result, the answer to the question “is gambling allowed in the UK?” is unequivocally yes. However, just what is the current legal situation regarding gambling in the UK?
The majority of gambling forms fall under the remit of the 2005 Gambling Act, as well as the 2014 Gambling (Licensing & Advertising) Act. As a result, online casinos must hold a license from the UK Gambling Commission, with an increase in such platforms having led to a gross profit of over £5 billion from the gambling industry.
Gambling has long been part of British culture, with legislation dating back as the mid-19th century. The 1845 Gambling Act was created in line with the views of the time, meaning that all commercial gambling, apart from horse racing, was made illegal. However, this act did little to stop street betting and other gambling activity, which were widespread at this period in time.
Meanwhile, the 1963 Betting, Gaming & Lotteries act was perhaps unsurprisingly established, given the popularity of gambling in the UK, despite it being against the law. The passage of the Betting, Gaming & Lotteries Act made gambling legal in locations outside of racecourses, leading to the opening of a large number of bingo halls and casinos.
Fast forward to 2005 and the introduction of the new Gambling Act, legislation aimed to create a more suitable system of regulation within the industry, including preventing gambling from becoming a source of crime, ensuring that gambling is carried out fairly and protecting children from being exploited. The 2005 Gambling Act also lead to the founding of the UK Gambling Commission, which now regulates the entire gambling industry in this country. New rules regarding casinos and other operators have since been set up, including the fact that overseas casinos catering for UK-based players were previously no longer required to have a license from the Commission. This loophole was closed by the 2014 Gambling Act, with overseas casinos now having to pay a 15% tax rate, as well as having a UK license.
Elsewhere, the 2015 Consumer Rights Act deals with issues surrounding online casinos in the UK, ensuring that operators offer fair gaming practices, with those failing to do so being prosecuted accordingly.