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History of gambling regulations in the UK

Since it legalised gambling in 2005 the UK has built itself a reputation as one of the most lucrative markets in the industry. It is also known for imposing some of the gambling industry’s most stringent regulations on those operators who hold a UK license.

The Gambling Commission are the Government-appointed body that deal with anything and everything related to gambling in the UK. This includes everything from regulations on bonus terms, to prescribing responsible gambling practises, to undertaking thorough industry research.

They have also been known to hand out some very high fines to any license-holders that do not strictly adhere to their regulations. In fact, between May 2017 and April 2018, the UK Gambling Commission issued fines totalling over £18 million (source).

The Gambling Commission was created as part of the wide-ranging UK Gambling Act that was signed into law in 2005. This piece of legislation replaced all other gambling-related laws, provided a huge upgrade on the existing regulations set down in 1968, and ushered in a new era of legal, regulated gambling in the UK.

It also paved the way for online gambling to grow almost exponentially. In 2018 the gross gambling yield (GGY) of the UK gambling industry was over £14 billion, with 40% of that being comprised of online play (source).

Recently the Gambling Commission have focused heavily on player welfare through their tightened regulations on responsible gambling, insisting that operators all offer a complete set of tools to aid players who feel out of control. Another focus is on improving resolution rate for legitimate customer complaints, through the newly-introduced Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) protocol. They are also working on decreasing negative cultural impacts of legalised gambling, by reducing the number of underage players accessing gambling services.

The infographic below was created by CasinoGuide.co.uk and shows a potted history of gambling law in the UK.

gambling legislation in the uk infographic