The UK Gambling Licencing And Advertising Act Of 2014

The Gambling Act 2005 is the main gambling law in the UK, but a major amendment came through in 2014 with the Gambling Licencing and Advertising Act. The bill specifically targeted licencing for remote operators and tightened advertising restrictions in England’s market. This page centers on the British Gambling (Licencing and Advertising) Act and has information on why it was passed and how it affects the current legal gambling market in Britain and Great Britain’s gambling laws. If you are seeking information on U.K. countries other than Great Britain, please go to our homepage to the provided global gambling directory.

Why Was The Gambling Licencing and Advertising Act Passed?

There are several reasons why this Act was written into law. In essence, the main goal was to rein in offshore gambling operators to keep them on an even keel with domestic organisations. The United Kingdom is a massive pocket of online gambling activity, especially Britain. Studies revealed that most of the gambling activity was taking place offshore. While this was not illegal based on the Gambling Act 2005, there are certain loopholes offshore providers were taking advantage of.

According to Parliament, the unlicenced offshore operators were not contributing anything in terms of gambling research, reports of suspicious activity or product testing in conjunction with UK Gambling Commission standards. Parliament also saw it unfair that unlicenced operators could advertise directly to British residents without any sort of penalty. This new Act was drawn up to address these operators and put them on a level playing field with domestic groups in England.

What Exactly Does The GA 2014 Do?

Remote operators were required to obtain a UKGC licence if they had at least one piece of equipment within Great Britain. For offshore operators with their facilities entirely out of the country, there were no rules regarding licencing. With the Gambling (Licencing and Advertising) Act 2014, all remote operators must obtain an official UKGC licence, regardless of whether or not they have equipment/facilities within UK borders.

All offshore operators that obtain a UKGC licence must also pay 15% of their profits from UK consumers back to the UKGC as part of the Gambling (Licencing and Advertising) Act 2014. This rule stands no matter where the offshore entity is located. It may seem like a steep ask for some, but the U.K. online gambling population is dense, meaning the exposure these operators get with consumers warrants a fee.

The other condition of the Gambling (Licencing and Advertising) Act 2014 has to do with advertising. Online gambling operators are only allowed to advertise if they possess a proper licence from the UKGC. This stops unlicenced groups from promoting their services and taking away from the domestic operators that have gone through the legal channels. Any operator found advertising without a licence will be committing a legal offence.

Benefits Of The Gambling Act 2014

This Act introduced several benefits to the gambling market in Great Britain. The law’s aim was to assist with mitigating the high number of offshore operators servicing the British market and it did just that. We’ve included these benefit below:

  • Helps put domestic and offshore operators on an even competitive structure. By forcing offshore operators to get a licence from the UKGC, it holds them to the same standards as English based sites.
  • Gives international groups a regulated outlet to entering the UK market. This supports the inclusion of outside brands and helps curtail the number of illegal gambling activities taking place online.
  • Establishes a consistent level of consumer protections, no matter where the remote operator is based. The UKGC consumer protection standards are strict and this policy ensures that offshore groups must follow the same protocols.
  • Helps streamline advertising campaigns in concurrence with proper licencing benchmarks. If a site is advertising their services in the United Kingdom it means they have a licence authorizing them to do so.


Does The Gambling Licencing and Advertising Act 2014 Make Online Gambling Illegal?

No. The law is designed to help better the online gambling process in the United Kingdom. By forcing offshore operators to get a licence from the UK Gambling Commission, Parliament is guaranteeing they will be held to the same standards as domestic groups.

Are There Any Punishments For Illegal Advertisers?

Any group found guilty of advertising to UK consumers without a UKGC licence faces possible imprisonment, fines or both.

Are There Tax Levies For Remote Gambling?

Yes. There is a 15% tax levy for sportsbooks and online casino gambling.

How Can The Gambling Licencing and Advertising Act 2014 Help Stop Illegal Gambling?

Part of the licencing agreements require gambling operators to report any suspicious activity. With sports betting, for example, this could mean match-fixing. Any operator found guilty of being knowledgeable of sports gambling yet does not come forward will have their licence stripped. There is a sense of accountability with UKGC licences and that extends to offshore operators.

How Do I Know If The Site I Am Using Is Licenced By The UKGC?

There will be an emblem somewhere on the site signifying a proper UKGC licence. You can also find such information in the terms and conditions of the site itself. Be sure to verify you are gambling with a licenced site to ensure you are doing so within your legal confines as an English citizen.