The UK has a well-established culture of sports betting. Online betting is hugely popular and continuing to grow, with increasing numbers of people placing bets on mobile devices such as phones and tablets.
Bookmakers make a substantial contribution to the UK economy, generating over £700 million pounds in taxes annually and employing tens of thousands of people. As a result, the state has adopted a generally favourable view of sports betting and other gambling activities, including online betting.
UK gambling laws aren't focused on restricting gambling, but on ensuring that gambling operations treat their clients fairly and that individuals under age 18 are shielded from gambling activities.
UK Gambling Laws
The Gambling Act of 2005 is the main law governing gambling in the United Kingdom. It established the UK Gambling Commission as the primary government instrument for enforcing gambling legislation and regulating gambling activities.
Gambling operators who are active in the United Kingdom are required to obtain a license from either the UK Gambling Commission or a territory that has been white-listed by the commission. The licensing requirement was introduced to ensure that gambling providers act in compliance with the Gambling Act of 2005.
Is it legal to gambling online in the United Kingdom?
UK gambling legislation attempts to regulate the behaviour of gambling operators rather than individuals. However, the UK Gambling Commission has the right to investigate the behaviour of individual bettors where it's believed that betting activity is related to, or may constitute, criminal activity.
Operators of online betting sites are required to comply fully with the Gambling Act of 2005, and failure to do so can result in their licenses being revoked.
The most serious offences set out by the Act are offering gambling facilities in the United Kingdom without a license, and permitting or inviting persons under the age of 18 to gamble.
Although UK punters are unlikely to be prosecuted for their online betting activities, they should keep in mind that government action against unlicensed or unprincipled operators can still impact them directly. For example, individuals who use unregulated betting providers risk having the funds in their betting accounts frozen or seized if the providers are prosecuted by the government.
The UK Gambling Laws help protect the interests of punters, ensuring that they're treated fairly by providers and have recourse to a gaming commission in the event of gambling disputes.
In fact, checking whether a betting provider is licensed in the United Kingdom is a reliable way of verifying that the provider meets high standards of honesty and customer care. The Gambling Commission offers a licensee search engine, which makes this process easy.
In summary, if you live in the United Kingdom, you can bet 100% legally with any of the online bookmakers listed on betHQ.
Disclaimer: betHQ followed all reasonable steps to ensure that the information on this page was correct at the time it was last modified, in May 2015. However, laws can change over time and it remains your responsibility to ensure that you're not breaking any laws by betting online.
- Online sports betting is hugely popular, but is it legal?