Gambling – Regulation
The gambling industry is highly regulated, reflecting the importance of protecting the public. Commercial gambling in the UK is regulated by the Gambling Commission. Games that do not offer a prize of money or for money’s worth (social gaming), are not covered by the regulations.
The gambling industry is extensive, offering a diverse choice of gambling to the public - ranging from casinos to gaming machines; bingo halls to betting shops; sports betting to arcades and, of course, the National Lottery. We advise our clients through every aspect of gambling regulatory and licensing– whether they operate casinos, bingo halls or betting shops, or other licenced premises.
The Regulation of Gambling
The primary gambling legislation includes the Gambling Act (2005) and the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014. There is no sector-specific EU legislation for gambling services. Specific laws also cover casinos and clubs, public houses, prize gaming, inspections and others.
There are strict licensing conditions that gambling operators must comply with, including maximum limits on the stakes and prizes. These conditions help to protect ‘problem’ gamblers and encourage responsible gambling by the operators.
Whether online or on the high street – operators in the gambling industry must hold the required licenses. Online operators may need a license from another jurisdiction.
When the Gambling Commission licenses an operator, it considers its suitability, including the operator’s financial circumstances. It focuses on whether the operator is ensuring that the terms and conditions its customers sign up to are fair and open. So, for instance, if you take bets - but you are likely not to be able to pay out; or you are misleading players – the Commission can suspend or even revoke your operating licence.
Our specialist gambling lawyers are experienced in laying the groundwork before submitting an effective application for an operating license. We know what it takes to make a successful application quickly and efficiently. Our clients also require expertise when they need to apply for renewals and variations, or requirements specifically in relation to gaming.
If you are in the unfortunate position of being investigated by the Gambling Commission and face the prospect of having a licence suspended or revoked, contact us for urgent and strategic representation.
The Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 allows for strict government control over online gambling operators and means all such operators offering services to UK consumers will be subject to consistent regulation. This consistency makes it easier for consumers - your customers - to understand what their rights are; and ensure operators report suspicious activity directly to the Gambling Commission.
All online operators (including foreign operators) offering their services to UK players must have a licence from the UK Gambling Commission. Its website must clearly state which of its products is licensed where so that players can check they are adequately protected if they chose to play.
You must have a separate licence for each type of gambling activity. Furthermore, foreign operators must obtain a remote gambling licence where they sponsor UK sports teams to target a non-UK audience.
It’s important to note that operators offering UK consumers with facilities for online gambling must ensure customer funds are held in a separate client bank account. We can help you understand how the regulations apply to your operation and what you need to do.
Betting and gaming duties are payable by the gambling industry. A flat rate duty of 15% on gross profits is payable by operators offering online gambling in the UK. Our experienced commercial solicitors can advise you on how this applies to your profits.
Only online gambling operators registered in the UK can legally advertise their products and services in the country and to accept players here. You must have a remote gaming permit to advertise a gambling site in the UK. Contact us for specialist advice on obtaining the appropriate permit.
The Gambling Commission has extensive powers to collect evidence and inspect your premises, and can impose conditions on your licence following an inspection, or even suspend or revoke it. If you are concerned about an imminent inspection by the Commission, or the Commission has recently visited your premises and you need legal advice from specialist gambling solicitors, we can help you.
Enforcement of the regulations simply comes down to this: the Gambling Commission can suspend or revoke a licence where an operator is failing to comply with the regulations (or refusing an inspection). However, the Commission also has powers of prosecution in respect of illegal gambling.
For detailed advice on how the Commission may investigate your operations, contact us for urgent advice.
How Selachii Can Help
Selachii is a dynamic litigation law firm based in Kensington, London. Our specialist gambling solicitors advise individuals and operators on all their legal issues. We put the best interests of our clients at the heart of everything we do. We work with both businesses and private individuals, giving them legal advice and support which is unique to them and their situation.
We don’t believe in simply handing out one-size-fits-all solutions to problems. We will focus on your specific circumstances before working out the best and most cost-effective way of helping you achieve your aims.