Regulation of Online Gambling in the UK
Gambling is legal for residents and visitors of the United Kingdom. The main regulator is the UK Gambling Commission. After legalising gambling in 2005, the commission was authorised to control land-based and online casinos, betting venues, and lotteries. Each gambling field has its own set of rules and laws.
The UKGC regulates casino activity and issues licences to companies that provide gambling. Its main priority is to protect players’ rights. After the passing of the Gambling Act and the creation of the special commission, the gambling industry began to develop rapidly. UK casinos that operate legally offer players various types of gambling:
- Sports betting
Visitors of licenced gambling sites can be sure they’re provided with reliable, safe, and fair conditions. Gambling regulation creates a safe environment, protecting both players and casinos.
Top Games at UK Gambling Sites
There are plenty of casino games available in the UK. To stand out among other venues and impress customers, gambling sites add more and more variety to their games. This allows casinos to attract a wider audience. Still, some games remain popular for decades. Let’s take a look at them.
The section with slot machines is always the largest at any gambling site. Slots are popular because of the simple rules, exciting gameplay, and the chance to win large sums. To spin the reels, you do not need any special skills — just press Play and enjoy the game.
All slot machines from official developers use random number generators. This ensures the complete randomness of outcomes. Gamblers and casino owners can’t affect it.
You can choose slots with various themes:
- Detective stories
- Sports, etc.
When choosing a slot, you need to check its RTP and volatility. For new titles, providers often indicate these parameters. You can learn them on the gambling website. If RTP is 96% or higher, the slot can bring large winnings in the long run.
In modern slot machines, there are more features available, with bonus rounds and prize combinations, which increase your chances of winning.
This card game has a multi-million army of fans. Poker tournaments are open to everyone. They are held among beginners, professionals, sportspeople, movie stars, etc. There are many versions of poker, such as:
- Lowball and many more
In poker, results rarely depend solely on luck. Players need to analyse the game and understand when to raise, fold, or which combinations are worth being played, etc. The winner is the player with the strongest combination, so it’s best to know the combinations by heart.
This game is also very popular and can be compared with poker. Still, blackjack rules are easier to remember. To win, you need to score 21 points or more than the other players, but you can’t go over this number. In modern casinos, gamblers can play many versions of blackjack:
They differ in counting cards, the number of decks, and payout structure, but all the basic rules of blackjack remain the same.
Many people associate gambling with roulette. This is a very old game, and casinos offer many versions of it.
Classic roulette types are easy, and you don’t have to learn rules by heart or use various strategies. However, it’s essential to clearly understand what you can bet on. On the best UK gambling sites, customers can find European, American, and French versions of roulette. In addition, many casinos offer many non-standard games: roulette with a progressive jackpot, extra sectors, bonus rounds, and more.
This is one of the most popular types of gambling in the United Kingdom. Bingo is a classic game. This is a version of lottery where the host draws random numbers, and players compare them to numbers on their cards. If the player covers 5 cells in a row vertically, horizontally, or diagonally, they win. There are 75 balls in the classic version, but you can choose a different version: with 30, 80, or 90 balls.
In up-to-date casinos, there’s also chatting with other players available for bingo.
Casinos occasionally hold lotteries, and they are often dedicated to specific events. Lotteries may be held on the first day of summer, Christmas holidays, the casino’s birthday, or other significant dates. Everyone is welcome to participate.
On the last day of the promo, the casino holds a draw with random selectingly one or more lucky winners. The winner receives the largest payout; other rewards are distributed among the gamblers from the top 10, 20, or 50. The best gambling sites draw large money amounts, cars, trips, and other valuable gifts.
Lottery tickets are given for specific actions, such as making a deposit.
These jackpots are played in particular slots. In contrast to games with fixed jackpots, in slot machines with progressive jackpots, the prize pool is constantly growing. It forms from bets of all casino customers. After someone hits the jackpot, its amount is zeroed and starts growing again.
The most generous jackpot slots include Mega Moolah from Microgaming. By playing at this slot machine, several players have become millionaires. The chances of hitting the jackpot don’t depend on your bankroll or bet size.
Live Dealer Games
Games with live dealer games are an excellent opportunity to have an immersive experience for players who have always dreamed of visiting a land-based casino. Live dealers, video broadcasts from specially equipped studios, and communication with other players create a unique atmosphere.
Top gambling sites in the United Kingdom offer dozens of live dealer games, such as:
- Sic Bo, etc.
The top live casino game developers are Evolution Gaming, NetEnt, Ezugi, and Lucky Streak.
Other Types of Gambling in the UK
UK gamblers love sports. In addition to slots, cards, and table games, there are many online gambling venues offering a sports betting section.
Gambling sites usually offer from 10 to 50 sports types. UK gamblers most often bet on:
- Horse racing
In recent years, cyber sports have become rather popular as well. Dota, League of Legends, Counter-Strike, FIFA, and Mortal Kombat are all available for bets in their respective categories. Their popularity increases and affects prize pools at cyber tournaments. Thanks to this, betting conditions also improve there — odds are higher, the variety of outcomes is wider, etc.
Horse racing deserves a special mention. It is almost as popular in the United Kingdom as football. No surprises there, as it is a big part of British culture. Horse racing events attract tens of thousands of spectators, and millions follow the races on the Internet and TV. Major tournaments are held in the UK every year, including:
- The Grand National
- Cheltenham Gold Cup
- King George VI Chase
- Stayers Hurdle
There are more than a dozen tournaments taking place across the country every year. UK bookmakers pay them special attention.
Top 10 Online Gambling Sites in the UK
It’s not easy to choose a suitable casino when there are thousands of them. Additionally, there are many fraudulent gambling sites on the Internet. They are created for one purpose — to deceive customers.
To help players from the UK, our in-house experts have compiled this list of the most popular online gambling sites. They have been ranked according to several important criteria. By using this rating, you can save a lot of time. All the sites mentioned on this page are licenced and trustworthy.
How to Choose Online Gambling Websites
Selecting a gambling site manually is not an easy task. You should consider many essential criteria: availability of a licence, security, game catalogue, usability, and mobile app have to be carefully checked. All these factors affect your gambling experience.
Customer safety is the main priority for any legitimate casino. It’s recommended to play on gambling sites licenced by the UK Gambling Commission. Some international licences, such as the Malta Gaming Authority, are also suitable.
The UKGC regulator checks casinos and their compliance with rules and gambling laws. When playing on licenced sites, players get the following advantages:
- Availability of slot machines from official providers. Their titles are tested by independent laboratories like iTech Labs and receive appropriate certificates. They are issued only to slots that are based on RNG, and when no one can affect their operation. They also offer high RTP.
- Secure financial transactions. Information about all money transactions is transferred using encrypted channels with SSL technology.
- Responsive administration and customer service. Support agents communicate politely and respect players’ rights.
- Many modern features. For example, in most modern casinos, players can request self-exclusion or they can limit their bet size and deposit amount.
- Information about casino rules and all conditions available. Players can learn bonuses terms and conditions, wagering requirements, deposit and withdrawal limits, commissions, and other features, anytime. All information is transparent.
Licence details can usually be found in the footer of the casino’s official website. You can click the validator to open the regulator’s site.
Safe & Security
When visiting online gaming sites, it is important to check if they use HTTPS protocol. It ensures that players’ personal and payment information is encrypted. Also, don’t forget to check information about the licence, games providers, and payment information.
These checks can help you avoid registering on a fraudulent site. With fraudulent sites, slots’ parameters are often changed, so it’s practically impossible to win. However, you can distinguish authentic slot machines from hacked slots using the parameters described below.
|Parameter||What to check|
|Loading screen||Providers’ logos aren’t displayed in hacked slots|
|Interface||Symbols, graphics, and buttons may differ|
|Server||To see on what server the slot machine is hosted, you can:
Launch the slot in demo mode or for real money.
Press F12 to see the page code.
In the Network tab, update the code by pressing Ctrl+R.
The General tab shows the URL of the slot machine.
It has to match the code specified by the developer.
If you notice even minor differences from the official software, it’s best to leave the site immediately.
Variety of Games
The choice of titles depends on the casino. Some online venues collaborate with a large number of developers, providing thousands of games. Others specialise in a few areas, offering hundreds of slots. Also, there are gambling sites where you can bet on sports in addition to slots, cards, and table games.
A variety of games means a lot to customers. Some gamblers prefer classic slot machines, while others want to try sports betting, lotteries, roulette, and other types of entertainment.
Design and interface may seem unimportant, but they can make a difference. With poor design and complicated navigation, it becomes challenging to enjoy the gambling process. Casinos have to be user-friendly, especially for new players.
It’s excellent when there are filters for sorting slots by their:
The same applies to the sports section. Gambling sites with a minimalistic but unique design are more attractive.
There are many well-known software providers on the Internet that are certified by reputable, independent auditors.
The most popular providers collaborating with online gambling sites are:
- Evolution Gaming
- Play’n GO
There are many more of them. On almost any gambling site, visitors can see a list of all available providers. Some casinos focus on games from only one studio.
Promotions are an essential marketing tool to attract players to gambling sites. All players want to receive bonus offers from casinos. Online venues provide many promo offers with specific terms and restrictions.
Before activating a bonus, it is important to check its wagering requirements. The promo may look attractive, but the wagering requirements and terms may be practically impossible to meet.
Some gamblers don’t need bonuses at all while others want to play only using promo offers. The most common bonuses available at online casinos are listed in the table below.
|Deposit||This is the most popular offer. Usually, it’s provided to new players as a welcome bonus for their first deposit. Sometimes, regular gamblers receive it for regular deposits. Players get a 100% or more deposit increase or a fixed number of free spins. The standard wagering requirements for deposit bonuses range from x20 to x30.|
|No deposit||This promo is less common on online gambling sites. It’s provided for registering and usually doesn’t require making a deposit. This can be a fixed amount of money or free spins. The wagering requirement for no deposit offers is usually quite high (x40-x70).|
|Free spins||They’re credited as a separate bonus or together with extra money. The list of slots where free spins can be used is usually limited. Wagering requirements are set for winnings received after using free spins.|
|Reload||This bonus is aimed at regular players. This promo offer encourages gamblers to continue playing for real money. Extra money or free spins are credited for deposits.|
|Loyalty programme||When a player reaches a new VIP level, they receive extra privileges: increased cashback or withdrawal limits, additional free spins, cash rewards, birthday gifts, etc. For gamblers with higher levels, there are exclusive promo offers available.|
|Promo codes||By using promo codes, casino players can receive no deposit and deposit bonuses or free spins. Current promo codes can be found on casinos’ websites or thematic forums. Usually, promo codes have an expiration date.|
|Cashback||This is a return of a portion of the money spent on bets. It is calculated weekly or monthly. Usually, to receive cashback, you need to spend a specific amount or make a minimum deposit.|
|Free bet||A rare bonus available on some online casino betting sites. Gamblers receive bonus money, which they can use only under strict conditions (for example, the bet size is £10 or more, odds are 1.5 or higher, etc.). If the bet is successful, the casino provides a real payout, but you need to wager the bonus amount.|
|A bet without risks||This is another promo offer for bettors. A player makes a bet keeping in mind the minimum amount, odds, and type of bet. If they lose, they get their money back. If the bet is successful, they get a payout. The bonus amount has to be wagered.|
A bonus may seem attractive but keep in mind its wagering requirements, bet size, and the list of participating slots. If you aren’t sure you can meet all the restrictions, it’s best to decline the bonus.
Many gamblers dream of hitting the jackpot. These slot machines are usually placed in a separate category or marked. A jackpot prize pool can be fixed or progressive. In the latter case, the jackpot forms from players’ bets and constantly increases.
Anyone can hit the jackpot, regardless of the bet size. The chances are tiny but real.
These days, people always have their mobile devices at hand. Statistics say that UK gamblers prefer to play casino games on their phones. So, almost any casino provides a mobile version or a separate app.
An official casino website has to be optimised for mobile device screens. For the fast performance of slots on any device, their providers use HTML5. This technology ensures stable work that doesn’t depend on the device’s operating system.
Best gambling sites create separate mobile apps for Android and iOS gadgets. They are faster and easier to use. Most casino apps can be downloaded for free. The main advantage here is that you can play anytime and anywhere.
Deposit & Withdrawal Methods
When choosing a gambling site, it’s recommended to check available payment methods before registering. Services that can process transactions in £ without conversion are prioritised for UK gamblers.
Gambling sites aimed at the UK audience usually offer:
In addition to payment methods, you should check the deposit and withdrawal limits. If you have a small bankroll, look for casinos with low limits. Average figures are £10 for deposits and £20 for withdrawals.
If players encounter problems while withdrawing money, wagering a bonus, registering, or verifying their accounts, they can get in touch with customer service. Casinos offer several communication channels for players’ convenience:
- Live chat
- Feedback form
At most gambling sites, support is available 24/7. This is convenient because many gamblers prefer to play at night. A live chat is the most convenient and fastest way to get in touch. Usually, support agents respond within a minute.
How to Choose the Best Gambling Site
You don’t need to look for the top casinos manually. Choose the one that suits you using our rating of the best UK online gambling websites with UKGC licences. All these casinos provide fair conditions, high-quality software, fast payouts, lucrative bonuses with low wagering conditions, regular promos, and tournaments.
How to Play at Gambling Sites
New players who want to spin reels or bet on sports often don’t know how to start. The recommendations below can help them.
Choose a Casino
There are two ways of choosing a gambling site:
- Use the rating available on this page.
- Use the abovementioned recommendations and search manually.
After choosing a site, you need to create an account. If you want to play for real money, this is a requirement.
Without registration, customers can play only demo slots. Games for real money, bonuses, and other features aren’t available. At some casinos, gambling without creating an account is not possible.
When creating an account, you need to provide your personal and contact information. The process includes several steps:
- Press the Register button, which is usually located in the header.
- Fill out a form with your name, email, phone number, password, residential address, date of birth, and preferred currency.
- Accept the casino’s terms and conditions.
- Confirm your registration.
Then, you will be redirected to your personal account. Sometimes you need to activate your profile using a link received via email.
Claim a Bonus
At some gambling sites, you can choose a welcome bonus while registering. You can also do this in the Promotions section after logging in. New players can get a no deposit reward or a bonus for their first deposit. There are three ways to activate a bonus:
- Automatic. In this case, the bonus is available immediately after receipt.
- Manual. You need to log in and press the Activate button.
- By using a promo code. You have to redeem a bonus code in a specific field.
Before playing for real money, you need to make a deposit. To do this, take these several steps:
- Open the Cashier section.
- Choose your preferred payment method from the list.
- Enter details and the deposit amount.
- Confirm the payment.
There’s a minimum deposit amount usually set by a casino. There are various restrictions on gambling sites in the UK.
Choose a Game
After making a deposit, you can select the game section you are interested in. These can be slots, card games, table games, Live Casino games, lotteries, sports betting, etc. To launch a game on your PC, just press Play.
After launching the game, you will see the playing field. Before starting, it’s important to:
- Read the rules and characteristics of the slot.
- Study the payout table and learn the winning combinations.
- Set the bet size with the corresponding buttons (- or +) or set the maximum amount by pressing Max.
- Use the Line buttons to change the number of active lines if it’s possible.
After that, press Start to spin the reels manually or Auto for automatic spins.
You can withdraw your winnings using the same method used for the deposit. There is a separate tab for withdrawal requests. Don’t forget to check minimum withdrawal limits.
Before your first withdrawal, the casino may ask you to verify your identity. To do this, you need to provide photos of your ID or other documents.
Top Tips for UK Players
These tips can help you play safely and keep your bankroll. To gamble responsibly, you should:
- Set limits. Don’t bet sums you can’t afford to lose. Use 5-10% of your bankroll.
- Don’t try to win back your losses. Playing on any UK online gambling site may lead to money loss. In this case, it’s better to forget about gambling for several days.
- Stay calm. Don’t gamble if you are drunk or in a bad mood. It can lead to losing your bankroll. Play casino games only when you are calm and sober.
- Use strategies. If you bet on sports, you should analyse data, understand the game, check the stats, etc. In card games, strategies can also bring success.
- Don’t think about earning money. Internet casinos are a way to have a good time, so don’t try to make it a source of income. Potential winnings are excellent, but remember that this is just a pastime.
Advantages of Online Gambling
Gambling online can be better than playing in land-based venues for several reasons:
- Accessibility and anonymity. You don’t need to go anywhere, and all your data is protected.
- Demo versions available. You can play for free, check slots, and test strategies without risking your money.
- Large game catalogues. There are thousands of slot machines available at online casinos that you won’t find at brick-and-mortar venues.
- Bonuses. No deposit rewards, deposit promos, free spins, cashback, loyalty programmes — the choice is huge. There are no such benefits at land-based casinos,.
On legitimate websites, players’ rights are protected. If you face problems, you can get in touch with a regulator that can help solve issues.
The Future of Online Gambling In the UK
UK population loves gambling more than populations of many other countries. This is a legal industry that even affects the economic development of the country.
UKGC surveys have found that in 2021, attitudes towards gambling among the British people have improved for the first time since 2016.
These days, total gambling revenue in the UK exceeds £14 billion. Fair business conditions and transparent laws help the industry grow. The UK will likely continue to be one of the largest gambling markets in the world.
All information about the casino's licence and its terms and conditions is available on its official website. Also, see whether the gambling site uses HTTPS and whether the games are authentic.
On our site, you can find the ranking of the best UKGC-licenced venues. Also, you can use the recommendations from this article if you want to search for a casino manually.
If it is a licenced site, get in touch with the regulator that issued the licence. They will review the situation independently and make a fair decision.
All slot machines are based on a random number generator. No one can influence the outcomes, so it all comes down to luck.
It's better to start with slots. They have exciting gameplay, and the rules are quite simple. You can receive payouts without any special skills.