A Guide to the UK Gambling Commission

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A British Flag Asking What the UKGC Does and Doesn't Do

Lots of countries have government regulators which regulate gambling for their citizens. In the UK, the UK Gambling Commission runs all types of gambling, both online and offline.

In this piece, I’m going to tell you all you need to know about the UKGC. I’ll also recommend five whitelisted UKGC gambling sites. These are some of the safest UK gambling sites online.

So, what about the UKGC? Let’s start at the beginning.

2005: The UKGC Comes Into Being

The UK Gambling Commission was set up under the Gambling Act of 2005. This act was a much-needed overhaul of UK gambling laws and regulations. The government gave the UKGC the power to oversee the entire UK gambling industry.

It’s duties, among other things, include:
UK Gambling Act of 2005

  • Issuing licences to UK casinos, bookmakers, and other gambling operators, both online and offline.
  • Enforcing regulations and punishing operators who violate them with fines, licence revocations, and more.
  • Collecting data on the UK gambling industry, including revenue, profits, and growth by sector.
  • Regulating the National Lottery under the National Lottery Act (1993).
  • Preventing crime in gambling in the UK including money-laundering, terrorist financing, etc.

The UKGC has carte blanche power over much of the UK gambling business. It’s the organization which every operator has to apply to, answer to, and comply with according to the law.

It can shut down an operator overnight if it doesn’t meet the standards the UKGC upholds.

As a result, a licence from this regulator is respected and coveted among operators. It also generally gains the trust of players.

What the UKGC Doesn’t Do

Many UK gamblers feel that since the UKGC calls the shots, so to speak, that they can take every issue to them. That’s not the case. The UKGC makes it clear on its website that it doesn’t deal with these issues:

  • Player Complaints – If you feel you have been scammed, ripped off, or taken advantage of by a rogue operator with a UKGC licence, you should contact the site first. Operators are obligated to put you in touch with a third-party dispute resolution organization such as IBAS.
  • Regulate Financials – Spread betting and other forms of financial gambling are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
  • Regulate Premises Licences – Most bars and pubs can offer low-stakes slot machines to punters. The UKGC doesn’t have anything to do with those. Local authorities usually deal with bar licences.

So, the message here is that you shouldn’t contact the UKGC if you have a problem with a licenced gambling site. Dispute resolution is one of the conditions of a UK gambling licence, so the first step is to contact the operator and ask them to enter a formal dispute resolution with you. From there, they’ll report it to the UKGC if necessary.

Why the UKGC Matters

Many UK gamblers take the UKGC for granted and, of course, there are those who don’t think they’re fit for purpose. However, the UKGC protects British gamblers in many ways they often aren’t aware of. Here are some facts to mull over.

  • The UK gambling industry is one of the cleanest, most crime-free gambling industries in the world. It’s incredibly tough for criminals to operate in this space, and money-laundering in the UK gambling industry is getting harder with every day that passes.
  • Regulations enforced by the UKGC do protect players in many ways. For example, operators are forced to keep player money separate from operating capital. This means that in the event of a bankruptcy, your funds are safe.
  • Unlike many other gambling regulators, some of which are little more than fee collectors, the UKGC does take action against those who violate their rules. They’ve fined lots of big brands and have even revoked licences to operate. This warns players about potential rogue operators and teaches operators that the UKGC means business.
  • The UKGC takes active measures to protect underage and potential problem gamblers. For example, UK players are now required to verify their age with casino sites before they can play slot machines for free in demo mode. All operators are also required to respect self-exclusion requests and provide help for problem gamblers.

Overall, the UK gambling industry is among the best in the world. It’s often looked up to as an example of what a well-regulated gambling industry should be like. The UK gambling industry has grown into a £14.5 billion industry thanks largely to the efforts of the UKGC.

Five of the Best UKGC Licenced Gambling Sites

The UKGC issues licences to hundreds of gambling operators. However, a UKGC licence is not the only factor to consider. All online gambling sites are different. These are five of the best UKGC-approved gambling sites.


Betway is an all-in-one gambling site. It is the official sponsor of West Ham United, and it offers the chance to bet on sports, casino games, and esports. Betway offers live casino games like blackjack and roulette, as well as hundreds of slot machines and digital card and table games. You can check out our full Betway review here.


22Bet is one of the fastest-growing UK gambling websites online. It offers action on Premier League football (as well as other leagues), rugby, boxing, cricket, tennis, and lots of other sports from around the world. If you fancy trying your luck with some games of chance, 22Bet has both live dealer games and a large collection of slots from NetEnt, Blueprint Gaming, Thunderkick, and others. Best of all, it’s UKGC approved! Find out what our review team thought of 22Bet here.

Genesis Casino

This is a pure UK casino, meaning it doesn’t offer poker or sports betting, just hundreds of high-quality casino games of all kinds. You can play video slots, roulette, blackjack, baccarat, various games of casino poker, and live dealer games. Top-tier firms like NetEnt, Microgaming, Quickspin, Yggdrasil, and Evolution Gaming power the games. Read our impartial Genesis Casino review here.


The name of this casino gives a clue as to what it’s all about, slot machines. You can play over 1,300 games here, including progressive jackpot slots like Mega Moolah, Divine Fortune, and Treasure Nile. While slots are the main event, you can also play live casino games and digital versions of roulette, blackjack, and baccarat. You can read our full Spinit review here.


Casumo is a successful Scandinavian casino which has obtained a UKGC licence and is now one of the most popular casinos for UK players. Casumo has hundreds of slot games, a large library of card and table games, and it usually has an extra special exclusive bonus for UK players, often involving some no deposit spins. Check out our Casumo Casino review here.

Oliver Hughes

Based out of London, I began freelance writing for the UK section of GamblingSites.org in October of 2019. Having worked in the gambling industry for over 10 years, I now have the pleasure of adding this site to my list of accomplishments as a casino writer. ...

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