UK Gamblers Rights And Obligations
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UK Gamblers Rights And Obligations

UK Gamblers Rights And Obligations

We have assembled the fundamental rights and obligations every gambler should know about, as well as the legal details. We believe it is important for you to know what your rights are before starting to gamble.

Searching through all of the laws for the answers you need can be an overwhelming process. Legal jargon is not easy to read; therefore, we have summarized the essentials in plain English. We have also summarized the essentials of gambling financial transactions and rights.

We hope that this page helps you to find the answers that you need.

 

The Basic Authorities and Rights

Let's answer a few basic questions about online and offline gambling in the UK.

Can you gamble in the UK?

Yes. In the United Kingdom, you can gamble in a variety of ways, such as at a casino, or online. Sports betting, casino games, race betting, lotteries, bingo, and raffles are all legal. However, you must be of legal age, which we will get to later.

Tip: Choose an online casino that is listed on our site. We only promote licensed and verified casinos.

Who regulates offline and online gambling?

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC). This independent governmental authority follows and enforces the 2005 Gambling Act.

The UKGC works with The Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS). This government authority works with issues involving sports, media, and the digital economy. The DCMS oversees digital entertainment but also oversaw the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Where can you gamble in the UK?

You can only gamble in licensed places, both brick-and-mortar and online. This includes racetracks, betting shops, and casinos. However, people can make social wagers, such as a poker game between friends. Betting syndicates are also legal.

Betting syndicates

A betting syndicate is a group of people betting outside of a licensed gambling establishment. This could be a group of coworkers making bets, or a friendly game of poker.

As long as the person collecting the wagers does not make a profit, or collect a cut of the stakes, betting syndicates are legal.

However, pub owners should not act as a bookmaker, or host unregulated gambling games. Also, they should not encourage their patrons to play any unregulated games on the premises.

 

Legal Ages for Gambling in the United Kingdom

Depending on the type of gambling, the legal age is either 16 or 18. Anyone over the age of 18 can engage in any legal form of gambling.

 

Required gambling age, according to type:

  • 18 and older: Online casinos, brick-and-mortar casinos, slot machines, sports betting, eSports betting, and racing.
  • 16 and older: Lotteries, drawings, scratchcards, football pools.
  • Any age: Private bets and arcade machines.

 

How does this compare to other countries?

Generally, the minimum age in EU countries is18 for wagers and stakes of any kind. However, some Greece and some German states have raised the minimum to 21 years old.

In the United States, the legality of gambling goes state-by-state. In some states, all types of gambling are legal, and the minimum age is 18. However, in some states, only some types of gambling are legal, such as tribal casinos, or sports betting. Some states have a legal gambling age of 21, and in some states, any form of gambling is illegal. If you plan to travel to the US, check the regulations in the state you are visiting.

Canada is similar to the United States; the gambling laws in each of the ten provinces vary. However, while the legal ages vary, all ten provinces do have legal gambling.

Shielding children from gambling

Gambling businesses of all types must prevent underage individuals from gambling. All casinos, no matter if they are online or brick-and-mortar, must verify that all their customers are over 18. Online, this is done through the “Know Your Customer” procedures, in which the validity of a user's details is verified.

It's illegal to target gambling ads to children. To put it simply, an online casino cannot place ads on websites or social media aimed at children and adolescents. This is especially true for video game websites.

 

Verify Online Casinos and Sportsbooks  

Verifying the details of an online casino or sportsbook will ensure that they respect your basic rights as a customer. Also, you can verify the details of a brick-and-mortar casino or betting shop from their website.

Ensure that the casino or betting shop is UK licensed

Never gamble at a casino or betting shop that is not UK licensed; look for the UKGC logo on the footer of the website, and click on it. That will take you to the details of their license. That link may also be with their terms and conditions.

You can also search your “casino's name” and “UKGC license”. That should bring up the details on the UK Gambling Commission’s website. This will show any sister sites, if the casino has been sanctioned and other details.

Why is this important?

A license ensures the site follows the appropriate guidelines for terms and conditions, fair play games, and much more. Also, all licensed casino sites operating in the UK must be tested by the UKGC. 

Verify fair terms of use

Gambling websites are required to make their terms and conditions easy to find, follow, and  understand. Don't just agree to the terms and conditions when you sign up, actually read them and attempt to understand them.

The terms will outline all the information you need to know, from playing the games, payouts and data collection. Also, the terms and conditions must be made available in easy to understand English.

If you agree that the terms are not biased towards the casino and are fair, you can sign up. Once you understand how to deposit and withdraw funds, and how to play the games, you can start gambling.

Remember, the wagers that you make on a gambling website is a type of contract. 

 

Safe Gambling Resources in the UK

Casinos in the UK are required to post external links to safe gambling organizations. These organizations can offer solutions to minimize or stop your gambling, temporarily or forever. Gambling sites should offer not only links but also information.

Most casinos also have self-exclusion features, allowing players to set time-outs or limits on spending. If a player feels their gambling is getting out of control, they can use these options to avoid personal and financial trouble.

What are the main concerns for gambling safety?

According to the UKGC, the two main issues are gambling addiction and mental health. Three of the best options currently available for free are:

GambleAware Phone: 0808 8020 133, 24/7 helpline

GamAnon Email, In-person meetings

Gamblers Anonymous: Email: info@gamblersanonymous.org.uk 

 

Know the Bonus Rules, and Learn the Rules of the Games 

Posted under the game categories or next to each game, you should find the rules. Since your money is at stake, know how the game works, and how the wagers work. Also understand that certain game strategies could be against the casino's rules; using such strategies could result in a permanent ban.

Another thing to be aware of is the terms concerning the use of bonuses. Every type of bonus is unique, and the terms may change. The details concerning the use of bonuses should be readily available and transparent.

 

Your Gambling Account

Your individual gambling account has certain settings that are either pre-set or that can be customized. For example, you can set gaming limits for both time and money spent gambling. You should be able to see how many hours you've spent playing, as well as your transaction history.

It's also your right to know how the company uses your data, such as whether they sell user data to advertisers. Before setting up a gambling account, be sure to read the company's privacy policy.

 

Your Account Funds Must be Secure

To find exactly how the casino secures user funds, you can find that information in the financial section of the terms.

The UKGC has defined three levels of security:

No protection whatsoever. The funds you have in your gambling account are considered to be business' profits in case the business becomes insolvent.

Medium safety. Customer funds are kept in a separate account from the business’ funds. You may be able to retrieve your money if the casino goes out of business.

High safety. A third party handles customer funds in a completely separate account. If the casino becomes insolvent, you will be able to retrieve your funds without too much trouble.

It's a good idea to stick with an online casino that has a high level of safety. Also, it's completely legal to have accounts at more than one casino.

Remember, the Consumer Rights Act states that any product you pay for must to be delivered safely and satisfactorily. That can also include casinos.

 

Filing a Complaint Against a Casino

A casino complaint can move through several levels. First, file a complaint with the casino's support centre. They may be able to fix your issue internally.

If that does not resolve the issue, you can contact an Alternative Dispute Resolution service. The UK Gambling Commission keeps a list of approved ADR providers on their website.

As a last resort, you can take the casino to court. However, hiring a solicitor is costly. Unless your complaint involves a huge sum of money, it may be best to drop the issue and move on.

 

Your Right to Choose Marketing Contact

When you sign up, you may be asked if you want to receive a newsletter, promotions, or the latest bonuses. Usually, these are sent as texts or emails.

You have the right to choose whether you want to receive these or not. Also, you have the right to choose how these ads are delivered. You also have the right to change your mind, and stop receiving these promotions. 

You can stop receiving texts by texting back “STOP”. Emails should have an “unsubscribe” link at the bottom. If the ads keep coming, try contacting customer service.

If you like receiving the promotions, you should also be able to change the delivery method, from text to email, or visa-versa.

 

You Can Enter EU Lotteries

As long as the lottery clearly states that it accepts UK players, you have the right to enter EU gambling contests. Naturally, each situation will depend on the type of game type and its specific rules.

Since 2004, UK citizens have been able to enter EuroMillions. They can enter with a regular ticket or  with a subscription; subscriptions automatically enter a person for a set number of months.

 

Your Obligations as a Gambler in the UK

When you click “agree” to the terms and conditions on a gambling site, you have signed a contract with the site. That means, you also have a few obligations and rules that you must follow. 

First of all, you must be 18+ to gamble online. Lying about your age will get your account shut down, and your funds will be lost. 

When you open a new online casino account, you will have to prove your age by submitting certain documents, such as your driver’s license, NHS card, or property papers. Most likely, you'll be asked to take a photo, and send that to the customer service team that handles verification.

Your age and identity will be validated by the casino. This usually happens immediately after creating your profile, however, it may take longer. Your account may be partially or totally locked until that verification is complete.

Also, some casinos could request that you prove that the funds you deposit are actually yours. This measure is to help combat credit card fraud and identity theft. The casino could request that you send a recently paid credit card bill.

 

Respect the Terms and Conditions

Violating the terms and conditions could cause the casino to limit or completely ban your account. Respecting the terms is not just your responsibility, the casino must also abide by the terms. If they change the terms after you’ve become a user, they must notify you.

 

Do Not Cheat

Gambling involves games of chance, and that must be respected. So, do not use any type of cheating strategy when you play online. This can include old-school card counting in poker or using high-tech software to game the system.

If you attempt to tamper with the website software, you will definitely be permanently banned from the casino. The casino will also likely press charges, depending on the severity of the hack, and whether you made money.

Be warned, after you cheat, your data can be given to other casinos, banning you from other websites. The smart thing to do is play fair, and not cheat.

 

Don't Pretend to be Someone Else

Pretending to be someone else is identity theft, even if you have their permission. When you create your account, you cannot use someone else’s documents to verify your identity. That is a crime punishable in a court of law.

Also, do not log in and gamble on someone else’s account. Using someone else’s account is a violation of a casino's data and privacy policies.

Finally, do not use someone else's credit card to fund your account, even if you have their permission. If someone wants to gift you with gambling money, they can buy a prepaid credit or gift card for you to use.

Also, if more than two users log in from the same IP, both accounts could be locked. Most online casinos only permit one account per household.

 

Do Not Use a Casino to Launder Money

It is not permitted to fund your gambling account with money derived from illegal activities. So, if you deal drugs, sell stolen merchandise, or any other illegal activity, that money can not end up in your gambling account.

Money laundering is a serious legal offense, punishable by fines and up to 14 years in prison.

How do casinos check for money laundering?

Online transactions are hard to track, so the casinos check the authenticity of your money to submit proof of funds, such as proof of employment or inheritance papers. This will be done when you first set up your account, and also, randomly throughout your membership.

You can avoid appearing suspicious by making consistent, small transfers to your account. Also, gamble what you deposit, don’t make a deposit, and then immediately cash out.

 

Don’t Use Your Casino Winnings to Fund Illegal Activities

If you hit a big jackpot, do not use those winnings for any illegal activity, such as buying drugs or prostitutes.

Spending your winnings on any type of unlawful activity decreases the trust you have built with your family, and also, diminishes the trust that casinos have built in their communities.

Gambling should be fun, safe, and shared with your friends. Also, gambling should not cause a problem for your job or your family. If you are arrested, due to spending your winnings on something illegal, you could lose both your job and your family.

 

TheHouse / Gambler Comparison

Now that we have covered the basics, we can delve a little bit deeper into the subject of your gambling rights.

To make things simple, the table below compares a few things.

Issue

Gambler

Casino

Taxes

0.00%*

15% of their annual profits

License

No license

Must be granted by the UKGC

Conditions to gamble

Must be of legal age

Must follow the UKGC Practice Code 

 

*The 0% tax is only relevant for amateur gamblers. If the majority of your income is derived from professional gambling, different tax rates will apply.

 

December 2021 UK Parliamentary Proposals

December of 2021 brought news that British MPs were discussing several changes and updates to the Gambling Act of 2005. The changes could include:

The allowable terms for sports sponsorships.

Maximum amounts staked in a single casino bet.

Increased funding for gambling addiction treatment.

New ways to test new betting products.

This is an on-going issue that has yet to be confirmed. Check with the UK Gambling Commission for any changes in the regulations.

 

Penalties and Obligations

What happens when an under-age person is caught gambling?

If a teenager under the age of 16 or 18 gambles, depending on the games, a fine will be issued to the casino, which may be as much as £1000.

What happens when an unlicensed establishment offers gambling games?

This is a violation of the 2005 Gambling Act and is punishable by up to 51 weeks in prison and a fine of up to £5000, or both. The same penalties apply to unlicensed gaming machines.

What happens when a gambling business falsely advertises?

Once again, this can be punishable by up to 51 weeks in prison, and up to £5000 in fines.

 

Final Comments

We hope that this helps you to better understand your rights as a gambler in the UK. Overall, your rights are similar to those of any other customer of a UK business.

Knowledge is power, and with knowledge, you can play safely.


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