Gambling Commission

Last updated

Gambling Commission
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom as used by HM Government
Agency overview
Formed1 September 2007;13 years ago (2007-09-01)
Preceding agency
Type Executive non-departmental public body
Jurisdiction Great Britain
Headquarters Victoria Square House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B2 4BP
MottoKeeping gambling fair and safe for all
Employees350+ employees
Minister responsible
Agency executives
  • Sarah Gardner & Sally Jones, Chief Executive
  • Bill Moyes, Chairman, Board of Commissioners
Parent department Department for Culture, Media and Sport
England, Scotland and Wales within the UK and Europe.svg
Great Britain in the UK and Europe

The Gambling Commission is an executive non-departmental public body of the Government of the United Kingdom responsible for regulating gambling and supervising gaming law in Great Britain. Its remit covers arcades, betting, bingo, casinos, slot machines and lotteries, as well as remote gambling, but not spread betting. Free prize competitions and draws are free of the Commission’s control under the "Gambling Act 2005" [1]


The stated aims of the Commission are to keep crime out of gambling, and to protect the vulnerable. It issues licences to operators, and advises the government on gambling-related issues. It also collaborates with the police over suspected illegal gambling. The Commission replaced the Gaming Board for Great Britain in 2007. In 2013 it assumed responsibility for regulating the National Lottery.


The Gambling Commission was established under the Gambling Act 2005 and assumed full powers in 2007, taking over responsibility from the Gaming Board for Great Britain, in regulating arcades, betting, bingo, casinos, slot machines and lotteries, but not spread betting (regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority). [2] [3] The Commission is a non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. [4]

It is also responsible for the remote gambling which includes betting online, by telephone and other communication devices using the equipment, that offer or advertise services to the residents of Great Britain. [5]

On 1 October 2013 the National Lottery Commission, which regulated the National Lottery, became part of the Gambling Commission. [6] [7]

In October 2020, the Commission published results of an investigation of BGO, GAN, and NetBet, three UK online gambling operators. Commission concluded that in the period between September 2018 and March 2020 the operators did not make enough efforts to keep gamblers' safe and prevent money laundering. [8]

In April 2021, Chief Executive Neil McArthur announced that he will step down as CEO of the Commission. [9]


Aims and objectives

The Commission's stated aims are "to keep crime out of gambling, to ensure that gambling is conducted fairly and openly, and to protect children and vulnerable people". However, critics note its ADR process and default non-disclosure of complaints as often part of "standard procedure" contrasts directly with the validity of this claimed remit. [10]

The Commission released a new 2018/19 business plan with the goals of improving industry standards, consumer protections and to further public protection from gambling related harm. [11] [12] From December, 2020 through February, 2021, the Commission invited public comment on improving the quality and timeliness of its statistics regarding problem gambling. [13]


The Commission issues licences to gambling operators, can levy fines and revoke licences, and is tasked with investigating and prosecuting illegal gambling. It is also responsible for advising national and local government on gambling-related issues. [10]

Remote gambling

For remote gambling, the Commission issues licences to those operators whose remote gambling equipment is located in the territory of Great Britain. Whilst, those operators who wish to advertise their services in England, Wales, or Scotland, but are based outside the country, have to obtain a licence from the Gambling Commission following the passage of the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014. The 2014 Act changed the licensing requirements so that any company wishing to advertise gambling and take bets from consumers in England, Wales, or Scotland must hold a licence issued by the Gambling Commission. Previously, an operator in one of the whitelisted gambling jurisdictions could advertise their services in Great Britain without requiring a separate license from the Commission. [10] [14] [15] [16] The proposals were opposed by the gambling industry, including the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association. [17]

Monitoring and regulation

The list of responsibilities of the Gambling Commission includes work to ensure that licensees act in accordance with the requirements imposed by the Gambling Act 2005 and other related regulations and standards. The Commission has the right to visit its licensees and examine their financial activities. As a result of this examination, specialists from the Gambling Commission can issue recommendations for amendments. Apart from such advice, supplementary licence conditions can be set or removed. In some cases, the Commission may take action to correct or avoid certain misconducts. [18]

Apart from reviewing the activities of the licensed operators, the Commission is authorised to take regulatory actions against those licensees who breach the rules in some way. The range of actions that may need to be taken varies from issuing a warning to inflicting a fine on those who violate licence conditions. In situations where additional investigation is required, the licence can be revoked.[ citation needed ]

The Intelligence department of the Gambling Commission collects information about the illegal activities related to their field and conducts preliminary investigation to build a picture of the situation and inform senior management. They also collaborate with other UK organisations and the police in cases where suspicious betting or gambling activities are detected. [19]

The list of operators and personal licence holders who have had a regulatory sanction imposed on them is published on the site of the Gambling Commission. [20]

Notable Actions

In December 2016 the Gambling Commission fined Camelot Group £3 million for failing to verify a fraudulent National Lottery ticket that had been presented in 2009. The Commission found that Camelot had poor fraud prevention controls in place and that it had breached the terms of its licence. [21] The case was subsequently investigated by police, who found that a Camelot employee who worked in Camelot's fraud department had conspired with a member of the public to claim a jackpot prize of £2.5 million using a bogus ticket. [22] [23] [24]

In February 2018, the Commission fined British bookmaker William Hill £6.2 million for not protecting players after a series of systematic failures to prevent money laundering. [25]

The Commission issued a £600,000 penalty to LeoVegas in May 2018 for producing misleading adverts to customers as well as several self-exclusion failings. [26] The following month, in June 2018, the Commission fined 32Red £2 million for failing a problem gambler who had deposited £758,000 with 32Red over more than two years. 32Red had failed to check the customer, who had a net income of £2,150 per month, could afford the bets despite several previous regulatory rulings in this area. [27]

On 31 July 2019 the Commission announced that Ladbrokes Coral would pay £5.9m for past failings in anti-money laundering and social responsibility. An investigation found that the companies failed to put in place effective safeguards to prevent consumers suffering gambling harm and against money laundering between November 2014 and October 2017. [28]


The Gambling Commission has come under fire for not preventing the spread of Fixed odds betting terminals on the high street. Their spread is linked to the transfer of responsibility for planning permission for bookmakers moving from the Gambling Commission to local authorities.[ citation needed ]

In 2014, the UK-regulated online bookmaker Canbet went into receivership, owing millions to customers. The demise of this site raised questions of the ability of the Commission to protect UK customers from rogue traders, although overall responsibility for UK online regulation was only given to the UKGC in November 2014. [29]

In September 2014, UK-regulated online bookmaker BetButler closed down, leaving a message on its website reading "The Board of BetButler Limited has been approached by a third party regulated gaming business to acquire the customer database, including all balances and pending withdrawal requests, of the business. This process will take some days to complete." Concerns were raised about pay out times and their financial state many months before this appeared. Again, the Gambling Commission have been criticised. [30]


In January 2020 UK Gambling Commission approves three charities for compulsory funding from gambling operators.[ citation needed ]

See also

Related Research Articles

Bookmaker Organization or person that takes bets on sporting events

A bookmaker, bookie, or turf accountant is an organization or a person that accepts and pays off bets on sporting and other events at agreed-upon odds.

Camelot Group

The Camelot Group is the operator of the UK National Lottery whose current franchise period started in 2009 and runs until 2023. It has also operated the Illinois State Lottery in the state of Illinois in the United States since 2018. The Camelot Group companies, of which Camelot UK Lotteries Limited is the UK National Lottery operating subsidiary, are ultimately owned by the holding company Premier Lotteries Investments UK Limited.

Ladbrokes Coral British-based betting and gambling company

Ladbrokes Coral is a British betting and gambling company. It is based in London. It previously owned the Hilton hotel brand outside the United States, and was known as Hilton Group plc from 1999 to 2006. In November 2016, Ladbrokes acquired Gala Coral Group, and changed its name to Ladbrokes Coral.

Online gambling is any kind of gambling conducted on the internet. This includes virtual poker, casinos and sports betting. The first online gambling venue opened to the general public, was ticketing for the Liechtenstein International Lottery in October 1994. Today the market is worth around $40 billion globally each year, according to various estimates.

Gambling in the United Kingdom is regulated by the Gambling Commission on behalf of the government's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) under the Gambling Act 2005. This Act of Parliament significantly updated the UK's gambling laws, including the introduction of a new structure of protections for children and vulnerable adults, as well as bringing the burgeoning Internet gaming sector within British regulation for the first time.

Playtech plc is a gambling software development company founded in 1999. The company provides software for online casinos, online poker rooms, online bingo games, online sports betting, scratch games, mobile gaming, live dealer games and fixed-odds arcade games online. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

The National Lottery Commission was an organisation set up on 1 April 1999 under the National Lottery Act 1998 to regulate the United Kingdom's National Lottery. It replaced the Director General and the Office of the National Lottery (Oflot). On 1 October 2013 it was abolished, with its responsibilities being assumed by the Gambling Commission.

Fixed odds betting terminal

A fixed odds betting terminal is a type of electronic slot machine normally found in betting shops in the United Kingdom and introduced in 2001. The terminals allow players to bet on the outcome of various games and events which have fixed odds, with the theoretical percentage return to player (RTP) displayed on the machine by law. Like all casino games, the "house" has a built-in advantage. Typically, slot machine FOBTs have an RTP of 90% to 94% depending on the chosen stake, and standard roulette FOBTs have a long-term average RTP of 97%.


Betfred is a bookmaker based in the United Kingdom, founded by Fred Done. It was first established as a single betting shop in Ordsall, Salford, in 1967. Its turnover in 2004 was reported to be more than £3.5 billion, having risen from £550 million in 2003 and has continued to grow to over £10 billion in 2018-2019. It has its head office is in Birchwood, Warrington, and also has offices in Media City, Salford Quays, Salford.

Gambling in South Africa has been heavily restricted since 1673, with South Africa's Gambling Act of 1965 officially banning all forms of gambling except betting on horse racing which existed as a sporting activity.

Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission

The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission is the Gaming Control Board of the Isle of Man. It regulates most forms of gambling in its territory including land based and online gambling services.

Gambling in Estonia is relatively young. While Estonia was a part of the USSR, all types of gambling activities were banned. Despite the prohibition, illegal casinos still functioned, but the real history of gambling started in 1994-1995 when the first Lottery Act of 1994 and the first Gambling Act of 1995 came into power. As the capitol, Tallinn has more casinos than any other Estonian town. As of September 2010, there were 33 casinos in Tallinn. That's 3 times less than in 2008, when 91 gambling venues operated in this city. According to experts, the main reasons for such decrease were the consequences of the crisis and the adoption of the new gambling law in 2008. The legal age for playing at casinos is 21.

Mr Green (company)

Mr Green Ltd. is an online gambling company that offers online casino, Sportsbook, Live Casino, Bingo, and Keno. Mr Green Ltd is regulated by the MGA, Malta Gaming Authority in Malta. Mr Green is also licensed and holds gaming licenses in UK, Italy, as well as a casino license in Denmark and a Sportsbook license in Ireland. The head office of Mr Green is in Sliema, Malta.


EveryMatrix Ltd is a B2B iGaming software provider company founded in 2008 with its headquarters in St. Julian's, Malta, and its main operations office in Bucharest, Romania. EveryMatrix supplies online gambling platforms, products, and software solutions to online casinos, sportsbook operators, and state-owned or private lotteries. EveryMatrix is a member of the European Lotteries Association and counts Norsk Tipping among its customers within the Lottery sector, and Tipico and Flutter Entertainment in regulated markets. EveryMatrix does not operate any B2C business.

LeoVegas AB is a Swedish mobile gaming company and provider of online casino and sports betting services such as table games, video slots, progressive jackpots, video poker and live betting to a number of international markets. LeoVegas Gaming Ltd. is a subsidiary of LeoVegas AB, the parent company whose stock is traded on the Stockholm Stock Exchange.

The Betting and Lotteries Act, 1934 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom and had three sections: Betting, Lotteries and Prize Competitions, and General.

Swiss Gambling Supervisory Authority

The Swiss Gambling Supervisory Authority is the licensing and supervisory authority for so-called large-scale Gambling activities, i.e. lotteries, sports betting and skill-based games run intercantonally, online or by automated means. It has its seat in Berne.

Casumo Online casino and sportsbook company

Casumo is a Maltese online casino and sportsbook services company, which includes video slots, jackpot games, live casino, table games and betting. Casumo has its headquarters in Malta in Swieqi, and has additional offices in Barcelona and Gibraltar. Casumo also owns online casino operators Dunder and Kazoom Casino.

Gambling in Nigeria is not well regulated. Although there is a gambling law in place, many illegal casinos operate in the country. The legal land-based casinos are located in the two largest cities. The biggest casino is The Federal Palace Hotel in Lagos. Nigerian law focuses on activities to reduce money laundering and illegal gambling.

Malta Gaming Authority

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) (LGA) is the gaming control board of Malta. It regulates most forms of gambling in its territory, including both land-based and online gambling services including B2C and B2B services.


  2. "Gambling Act 2005", , The National Archives, 2005 c. 19
  3. "FCA proposes stricter rules for contract for difference products". Financial Conduct Authority. 6 December 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  4. "Departments, agencies and public bodies". Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  5. "What we do". Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  6. "About us". Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  7. Statutory Instrument 2013 No. 2329 The Public Bodies (Merger of the Gambling Commission and the National Lottery Commission) Order 2013
  8. Insider, Gambling. "GC gives ruling after investigation into online operators". Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  9. Fletcher, Gilbert. "GC Chief Executive steps down". Retrieved 14 April 2021.
  10. 1 2 3 The Gambling Commission: What it is and what it does (PDF)]
  11. "Gambling Commission Business Plan 2018-2019" (PDF). Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  12. "UKGC Announces 2019 Plan to Improve Industry Standards". 2 May 2018. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  13. "Consultation on gambling participation and problem gambling prevalence research". Gambling Commission. U.K. Gambling Commission. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  14. "New UK gambling law explained: what's all the fuss about?"Right Casino. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  15. Macgregor, Ewen (19 November 2014). "World Sports Law Report Blog > The impact of the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014". World Sports Law Report. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  16. "Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014", , The National Archives, 2014 c. 17
  17. Biddle, Susan & Ferrie, Audrey. "What the gambling industry can expect in 2014". Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  18. "Compliance". Gambling Commission. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  19. Keaveny, Paul; Mike Hornby. "Wayne Rooney's father bailed in betting probe". The Independent. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  20. Gambling Commission: Regulatory Powers
  21. Marston, Rebecca (16 December 2016). "National Lottery firm Camelot fined for £2.5m suspect ticket win". BBC News. Archived from the original on 17 December 2016. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
  22. Cockerell, Jennifer (3 July 2012). "Lottery winner rapist Edward Putman admits fraud". The Independent. Archived from the original on 23 October 2019. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  23. "Man convicted over £2.5m National Lottery fake ticket fraud". The Guardian. 4 October 2019. Archived from the original on 5 October 2019. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  24. "Camelot licence breach leads to financial penalty". Gambling Commission. Archived from the original on 25 October 2019. Retrieved 25 October 2019.
  25. "William Hill fined £6.2m for failing to protect customers and prevent money laundering". 20 February 2018. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  26. Davies, Rob (2 May 2018). "LeoVegas fined for accepting bets from problem gamblers". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  27. Davies, Rob (20 June 2018). "Online casino 32Red fined £2m for failing problem gambler". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  28. "Ladbrokes Coral Group to pay £5.9m for past failings in anti-money laundering and social responsibility". Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  29. "Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014", , The National Archives, 2014 c. 17
  30. "Distressed BetButler stops trading ahead of potential sale". SBC News. 1 September 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2017.