United Kingdom Gambling Commission – The UKGC

Oliver Thompson
November 24, 2022
UKGC logo

A Brief Overview of the UKGC

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission, otherwise known by its acronym the UKGC, is the governing body of the UK gambling license. The UKGC was founded in 2007 as a result of the UK government passing the Gambling Act 2005. It was originally created to regulate, tax and oversee all aspects of gambling (including remote gambling) as well as to protect the UK players and their funds.

Currently, the UKGC governs, regulates, and supervises all types of gambling-related business in the United Kingdom. These businesses include Bingo, Arcades, Lotteries, Sports Betting, and Casinos that operate within the borders of the UK. Every land-based casino, online casino, betting website, lottery, and mobile casino that works in the UK must legitimately have a valid license issued by the UKGC; therefore, if these gambling institutions want to acquire and then keep the UKGC license, they must comply with strict rules and regulations of the UKGC. The UKGC regularly examines operator activities, supervises the gambling industry’s development, has the utmost authority to issue advice or recommendations to change existing gambling laws, and can even suspend the license of any gaming establishment.

The UKGC Casinos Safety

The UKGC is considered to be one of the most sought-after and respected regulators globally. It is also true to say that, the UKGC is also known to be extremely strict when it comes to issuing a license to gambling businesses. Any gambling establishment should fulfill a long list of requirements should they wish to acquire a gambling license from the UKGC.

Among these strict requirements, the UKGC pays extra attention to protecting the players and their funds. Thus, it’s uncommon for the UKGC to issue a gambling license to a gaming establishment that doesn’t have necessary tools to keep players’ information safe and secure from cyber-attacks. Another key feature the UKGC prioritizes is responsible gambling, that’s why it employs the use of GamStop – the self-exclusion scheme. GamStop allows players to self-exclude themselves from all the UKGC licensed gambling establishments for the period of their choosing. We will discuss GamStop more in-depth below, so make sure to stick with this article.

What Exactly is GamStop?

GamStop is the UKGC’s self-exclusion scheme, and it is mainly employed to limit or completely restrict a player’s access to online gambling. GamStop is an integral part of the UKGC, and its purpose is to assist players in taking a break from gambling, primarily through self-exclusion. Upon signing up for the GamStop self-exclusion services, a player will be prevented from using gambling websites and gaming apps run by the UKGC licensed gambling establishments for a period of their choosing. Keep on reading to learn even more about GamStop and its self-exclusion periods.

A set period a player can self-exclude from gambling using GamStop services is 6 months, 1 year, or 5 years. They will be automatically banned from casino operators that operate with a UKGC license. One issue that arises when discussing the GamStop self-exclusion scheme is that a player cannot end their self-exclusion period earlier than the chosen time frame. During that self-exclusion period, a player is banned from every GamStop online casino operator, lottery, mobile casino, and betting site that the UKGC licenses. 

Since GamStop is a British responsible gambling organization, its reach doesn’t extend overseas. Therefore, GamStop can legally only operate within the borders of the UK, which means that international operators aren’t part of GamStop’s self-exclusion system.

Even though GamStop is generally used to assist responsible gambling, it comes with several unpleasant limitations, restraining UK players from enjoying their comprehensive gambling experience. These restrictions include (but are not limited to):

  • Excessive self-exclusion periods
  • Complicated KYC process
  • Credit card ban in the UKGC licensed casinos
  • Prohibition of auto-play and fast spin features

To summarize it shortly – despite the UKGC being one of the most respected gambling regulators in the industry, it comes with uncomfortable restrictions that can irritate the players who would like to play at the UKGC licensed online casino.

The UKGC Payment Options

As an experienced online casino player, you certainly understand the importance of payment methods’ diversity an online casino can offer you. When you are moving your money online, certain risks can be involved along the way. However, despite those risks, it’s crucial for you to feel safe and protected, which can only be guaranteed by the online casino of your choosing. The UKGC ensures to offer you a good range of payment options in its licensed casinos.

The list of the payment methods in the UKGC licensed casinos is as follows:

  • Debit Cards
  • PayPal
  • eWallets (such as Skrill, Neteller)
  • Apple Pay
  • Prepaid Vouchers (such as PaySafeCard)
  • Astro Pay Cards
  • Bank Transfers

On more of an unpleasant note – in April 2020, the UKGC has announced a ban on gambling businesses allowing players in the UK to use credit cards to gamble. The ban, which came into effect exactly on April 14th, is followed by the UKGC’s review of online gambling and the UK’s government’s review of Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures.

Games to Play in UKGC-Licensed Casinos

There are three main types of gambling licensed that the UKGC issues, and these are given out in terms of the type of business activity a company may own or run. These include – an operating license by the UKGC, a personal functional license by the UKGC, and also a personal management license by the UKGC. In case a person wishes to obtain a personal license, they may require a premises license as well, which would be issued by the local licensing authority. Activities covered under the UKGC issued license include as follows:

  • Sports Betting
  • Bingo
  • Gaming Software
  • Gaming Machines (including slot machines)
  • Land-Based Casinos
  • Online Casinos
  • The National Lotteries
  • Betting (in general)
  • Arcades

Therefore, when you are playing at the UKGC licensed online casino, you can expect to find the games from the above categories on the website, unless a gambling establishment specializes in only one of the above gaming categories.

The UKGC – Final Thoughts

After thoroughly and carefully researching the major topics about the UKGC, we can confidently conclude that it is one of the most sought-after and respected gambling authorities currently in the industry. This gambling regulator takes a whole list of safety actions to prevent fraud in its licensed gambling establishments and guarantees players’ security by implementing quite strict and complicated measures to its licensees. The UKGC is also very harsh about maintaining healthy gambling habits among UK players. Hence, the implementation of the self-exclusion scheme – GamStop, which is an essential part of this regulator. However, not all players have a gambling addiction, and they surely deserve to play without GamStop restrictions, which is possible at other EU-licensed online casinos.

Author Oliver Thompson

Hello everyone! Oliver Thompson here, originally from the UK, Southampton. After graduating from California International Business University in 2015, I made a well-thought-out decision to immediately start researching eGaming industry regulations in both the EU and the USA since it was my main field of interest.