Gambling both physical and online in the UK has been legalized for years. The legislation associated with this has therefore been in existence for some time. The Betting and Gaming Act 1960 opened the way for things such as bingo halls and proper casinos to open in Britain, with the Gaming Act 1968 liberalising the law and making it easy for increasingly commercialized casinos to be built. The Gambling Act 2005 is the leading legislation in the United Kingdom. While there have been additions in recent years, the 2005 Act remains the foundation. But what does this law actually say and what are the main points? We’ve sorted it out for you.
Summary of the Gambling Act 2005
The Gambling Act 2005 is the leading legislation in Great Britain and is the basis for almost all regulation of games of chance in Great Britain. The Gambling Act 2005 describes how gambling is regulated in Great Britain. It came into full effect in September 2007 and covers, among other things, arcades, betting, bingo, casinos, slot machines, lotteries and remote games of chance (including online gambling). In 2014, the Gambling Act 2005 was amended to cover all online gambling companies offering gambling to customers in the UK, regardless of establishment.
The Act repeals the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act 1963, the Gaming Act 1968 and the Lotteries and Amusements Act 1976.
Gambling will be unlawful in Great Britain unless permitted by:
- The measures contained in the Act; or>
- The measures contained in the National Lottery Act 1993.
Two comprehensive offences are established: providing facilities for gambling or using premises for gambling, in either case without the appropriate permission. Such permission may come from a licence, permit, or registration granted pursuant to the Act or from an exemption given by the Act. Where authority to provide facilities for gambling is obtained under the Act, it will be subject to varying degrees of regulation, depending on the type of gambling, the means by which it is conducted, and the people by whom and to whom it is offered.
Three Primary Objectives
- The Gambling Act 2005 was formed with three primary objectives:Preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime, disorder, or as an accessory to a crime.
- Ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair fashion.
- Protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.
These are underpinned by:
- Social responsibility and protection of the public, especially children and the vulnerable
- A new regime, which has at its heart firm but fair regulation allowing people to enjoy gambling responsibly, encourages an important industry to thrive by behaving responsibly and protecting the vulnerable
- Close consultative working with all relevant authorities, the industry, faith and community groups, and those dealing day to day with problem gamblers
The Act provides for three categories of licence:
- An Operator licence concerned with the management and conduct of gambling.
- A personal licence for persons connected with the gambling business with key operational functions.
- A Premises licence for property where gambling takes place.
- Operators’ and personal licenses will be issued and regulated by the Gambling Commission whilst local authorities will be responsible for the issue and regulation of premises licenses.
Compliance and Enforcement
The Act provides the Gambling Commission, local authorities, licensing authorities and the police with the powers necessary to monitor compliance with the provisions of the Act and with licence conditions and to investigate suspected offences.
In general, the Gambling Commission will take the lead on the investigation and prosecution of illegal gambling, but there may be occasions on which licensing authorities are better placed to take the lead, particularly where there is illegal activity on a smaller scale that is confined to one authority area.
Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 brings change
The original bill allowed for the operation of online gaming providers in the UK, with regulation being left up to the territory in which they obtained their license. As a result, many online gaming companies moved their operations to smaller territories such as Gibraltar, where taxes on business can be as low as 1% of gross revenue. In response to those movements, and with an eye toward stricter regulation and increased tax contributions, several sweeping changes were made to the law in 2014.
Following the changes, which came into effect in December 2014, all gambling operators in the UK must obtain a license directly from the Gambling Commission. They are also required to inform the commission of how they are policing their sites, and those already possessing a license from another jurisdiction are subject to a fee to transition to the Gambling Commission license.