Our formula for choosing an online casino is a pretty simple one. It comes down to four main things:
- Choice of games
- Great customer service
- Does it have a good mobile casino site?
- Is it UK licensed?
The fourth criteria is probably the most important but not necessarily the one we, or other gamers may look for first. The UK Gambling Commission has the main aim to protect vulnerable people and prevent criminality in gambling as well as ensuring casinos are run in a fair and transparent way. Sounds like important stuff right? It is, and it’s become even more so since new legislation came into force in November 2014. Now any online casino wishing to offer gambling services in the UK is required to obtain a license from the UK Gambling Commission.
How has this affected the UK online gambling industry?
Before the new legislation came in, less than 15% of online casinos operating in the UK market were licensed by the UK Gambling Commission. This change has meant a consistent approach to regulations and a clearer view of what your rights are as a consumer of gambling services. Without this fall back, if you have any suspicions about a casino, you have no protection or place to turn for help.
What does it mean for UK players?
Any new online casino wishing to obtain a UK gambling license will be subject to careful consideration by the UK Gambling Commission. They look at the ownership of the company, their financial history, the trustworthiness and integrity of the applicant, their competency and experience and of course any past criminal activity. This ensures that the casino is trustworthy and not likely to vanish after a few months with your money!
They also ensure that a casino has clear procedures in place to protect players, these include:
- Protection of minors – ensuring players are over 18 by providing documentation and ID checks
- Player registration process – making sure you are who you say you are, and that you are not a known criminal or have been previously excluded from the casino
- Anti-money laundering – ensuring customer information is correct, banking details are verified and checked and deposits and withdrawals are made using the same methods where possible
- Responsible gambling – a casino must have policies and procedures in place to protect their players. These can include allowing players to set self-limits as to how much they wish to deposit or wager within a specified time frame
- Protection of funds – operators must keep customer funds in a separate account. This can help protect your funds if the casino goes bust
What they don’t do
The UK Gambling Commission is there to protect you as a player but they are not there to resolve consumer complaints. If you have an issue with a casino such as a wagering dispute you need to try to resolve it directly with the casino. If you don’t get anywhere there are independent bodies who can help you.
How to find out if a casino is UK licensed
There are several things you can do to check if a casino is UK licensed or not. Most casinos will give details of their UK license number on their home page. You can usually find this at the bottom of the page in small print. You can also go directly to the UK Gambling Commission website and search to see if they have a license or not. Just go to their home page and click on ‘Find Licenses’ from the top toolbar.
Certainly the new legislation is improving player protection and the social responsibility of the casino operators. With the increase in online gambling in the UK and shift to mobile gaming it has become ever more important to ensure casinos have the best interest of their players in mind.
We only review and feature UK licensed casinos on our site!