Players in the UK have plenty to choose from when looking to scratch their gambling itch, with both online and offline casino and sports betting solutions available. But is it even legal and what are the best options? Keep reading as I introduce you to the best gambling sites and give an introduction to everything you need to know about gambling in the UK.
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Gambling has been a huge part of British culture for centuries with a heavily regulated, legal market. For years, British men and women have bet on big events in horse racing, football and other popular sports. Today, the Grand National is still one of the biggest betting days of the year. Traditionally, bets were made offline at betting shops but during the last decades, British bettors have also made a shift online. In addition to sports betting being a clear favourite, players in the UK also favour slot machines, bingo, the lottery and scratch cards among others.
Today, all forms of gambling in the UK are regulated by the Gambling Commission under the Gambling Act 2005. This updated act covers both online and offline gambling, as opposed to other countries where online gambling is more of a grey area. The UK Gambling Commission is a non-departmental public body that replaced the previous Gaming Board in 2007. Its responsibilities include issuing and revoking licenses, monitoring licensees, sharing data and offering measures to ensure safe gambling and more, as well as regulating the National Lottery.
Due to the strict regulation and clear guidelines of the Gambling Commission and Gambling Act, only licensed businesses can operate legally in the UK. As a consumer, this means that gambling can only be done legally at online or offline businesses that hold a valid license from the UKGC. The commission offers a public registry where it is possible to search for and check out licensees and report suspicious or illegal operations.
While land-based establishments are still around and the preferred choice of some players, online is definitely the modern solution. For the last 20+ years, companies have developed online casino websites and sportsbooks where players can sign up, deposit money and play directly from the comfort of their homes. And as technology has evolved, so has the offering of online casino sites.
Today, online casinos can be accessed whenever and wherever one would like, thanks to high-speed internet and mobile-friendly platforms. Many of today’s UK casino sites offer a dedicated app or simply a website that quickly adapts to the screen size and operating system of your device. With the world of online gambling at your fingertips, there have never been more games to choose from and sites to sign up at than now.
Luckily, you won’t have to navigate the infinite world of online casino sites on your own. Here at Bonusprince, I compare and find the best UK casino sites to recommend to both novice and dedicated players. From my top recommendations, you can find a UK casino site that is legal, safe and fun – whether you prefer casino games, sports betting or a bit of both!
Due to the increasing popularity of online gambling, new casinos are setting up shop all the time to offer something new and improved. New casino sites can sometimes be a good option as they might offer bigger bonuses to get players to sign up. They might also focus on modern solutions such as crypto payments, VR games, gamification accounts or other fresh ideas.
Nevertheless, established brands such as LeoVegas and Casumo are often the best option if you want both quantity and quality. That’s because many of these sites have long-term relationships with everything from game providers to payment solutions and more to ensure a smooth experience filled with choices.
Most online casinos that cater to the UK market also offer unique bonuses to their British players. This is normally a bonus offered in British pounds or on games that are British favourites. Currently, you can get the following welcome bonuses at the best UK casino sites listed at the top of this guide.
The UK has a regulated gambling market where the United Kingdom Gambling Commission is the only organ to grant, oversee and withdraw licenses. Gambling in the UK is regulated by The Gambling Act of 2005, which came fully into effect in 2007. In 2020, a Gambling Act Review was proposed and since then, there have been talks about stricter regulations and tighter measures to reduce gambling-related harm. The reform has been delayed but is still in the works and the results should be presented in the near future.
In other words, the future of gambling (as a whole) in the UK might result in stricter measurements for stakeholders to ensure safe gambling for bettors in the UK. If you are suffering from problem gambling or addiction, help can be found from GamCare and Gamblers Anonymous.
To conclude this guide all about gambling and online casinos in the UK, I want to answer some frequently asked questions.
Yes, there are several land-based casinos, betting shops and other establishments throughout the UK that offer betting in person.
There are more than 50 casinos in the UK, with 55 businesses holding an active non-remote casino license in 2022.
Yes, it is legal to gamble on online websites as long as the site is licensed by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission. Only sites licensed by the UKGC are allowed to offer their gambling services to players from the UK.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of online casino websites licensed by the UKGC. In addition to these, there are several gambling sites that operate without a license, but I do not recommend signing up at such sites.
To get started at a legal casino for British players, check my list of UK casino sites at the top of this guide!