The United Kingdom boasts one of the most vibrant gambling industries in the world, and that includes a thriving online casino sector. Read on to find out all you need to know about online casinos in the UK.
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Is online gambling legal in the UK?
Yes, online gambling is a legal and regulated industry in the United Kingdom, with all facets of online gambling covered under the UK Gambling Act 2005 and regulated by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission. The UK is one of the few countries that decided to embrace the growth of Internet gambling rather than ban it like so many other countries have done, and the benefits have paid off. The UK Gambling Commission has the power to issue online casino licenses to reputable and trustworthy vendors who have ticked off all the legal requirements, ensuring UK residents have a safe place to play real money casino games online rather than having to turn to unregulated offshore sites. By legalising and regulating the online gambling industry, the UK economy is able to benefit from gambling revenue rather than lose it to international organisations, while keeping players protected under UK law.
While online gambling is legal for individuals over 18 years of age, be aware that not all online casinos accept players from the UK. Offshore casinos with licensing from reputable gambling jurisdiction located outside of the UK may not always be able to accept UK players based on the laws of their jurisdiction, so check the terms and conditions of any online casino before you sign up for an account.
The United Kingdom Gambling Commission
The United Kingdom Gambling Commission is responsible for overseeing all land based and online gambling activities in the UK. The aim of the Commission is to ensure gambling is a safe and fair activity for UK residents and that all gambling activity is free from crime. Before the UK Gambling Commission issues a vendor with a license to operate an online casino, a stringent application process is followed where the vendor must prove its credibility with a background check and proof of sound financial standing. The casino must also prove to be operating reputable games that use safe, fair and tested RNG (random number generator) software. The Commission operates within the legislation set by the Gambling Act 2005, the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 and the National Lottery Act 1993. If you see an online casino that has received licensing from the UK Gambling Commission, you can rest assured this is a safe and regulated casino to play at.
Best places to gamble online in the UK
When it comes to choosing a place to gamble for real money online, UK players have it better than anyone else in the world. You guys are spoilt by having the best online gambling regulation on the planet and probably don’t realise how lucky you are. While most other players around the world have to dig around to find safe offshore casino sites that are willing to accept them, you guys can cruise on in to a majority of the best casinos on the Web and be welcomed with open arms.
Given the freedom that UK players have when picking a casino site, you’re not restricted by the same limitations as players from other countries. Our editorial team took a quick vote to see which would be our number one casino sites if region restrictions didn’t exist, and these are the two that we agreed on. While the UK may be experts on tea, great music and educational institutes, we’re famous for our knowledge on where to get the best gaming experience online, so take our word for it and give these gaming sites a go.
Leo Vegas – You only have to spend a short amount of time checking out Leo Vegas to realise this is a rose amongst thorns when it comes to real money gaming sites. You can tell from the get-go that Leo hasn’t scrimped or cut corners, and that a lot of effort has been put into making sure this venue not only looks awesome, but is also really easy to use and offers one of the most comprehensive selections of online casino games on the Web. Leo Vegas is nice and bright, housing a large collection of slots and table games from our favourite software developers, including stand-outs like NetEnt, Quickspin, Microgaming and Felt Gaming. If live dealer gaming is your jam, you’ve also come to the right place, as Leo Vegas has the biggest selection of live dealer games from a bunch of the best live software studios, including Evolution Gaming, Ezugi, NetEnt and Lucky Streak. UK players, take advantage of the fact that you’re freely allowed to play at a site as tight as this one!
32Red Casino – 32Red is amongst the most revered online casinos in the world, and given its availability to UK players, we sincerely urge those from the United Kingdom to enjoy the privilege of checking out this esteemed gaming venue. 32Red only offers Microgaming casino software, but the site has a reputation for offering an ultra-secure, highly reliable gaming platform where new bonus offers and promos are constantly being extended to registered players. Choose from a large collection of table games, slots, progressive jackpots, video poker and live dealer games, and see for yourself why 32Red is widely considered the number one gaming site in the UK. 32Red also offers a seperate platform for bingo and poker, so everyone’s favourite preferences are covered.
Other online casino recommendations for UK players
If our favourite casinos mentioned above don’t tickle your fancy, or you’ve already experienced these casinos and want to branch out further, check out some of our other top-rated casino sites, each which has an outstanding reputation within the online gaming industry.
Something UK and Aussie players have in common, besides their love for fish and chips, is their ability to sniff out a good deal. Casino-Mate is incredibly popular in Australia, and for good reason. We predict it won’t be long until it sky rockets in the UK. With a sign up bonus matching up to €1400 in deposit bonuses playing online this online casino offers the best welcome package of all. however it does require four deposits, and no withdrawals prior to completion. Some deposit payment methods may not be known to UK players, depending on where you are from so it may be worthwhile signing up for an e-wallet such as Neteller if the other methods aren’t what you are after. Casino-Mate offers over 650 casino titles all powered by Microgaming as well as 24/7 customer support – check out the full range of online casino games at Casino-Mate here.
This no download casino is aimed at Australians, but UK players are welcome to enjoy the Down Under themed website, which boasts some exclusive games unavailable anywhere else online, such as 3D TV Poker (our personal favourite). G’day also has a great live casino available, featuring not only blackjack, roulette, and baccarat in live dealer versions, but keno and lottery games too. This means you can get a live dealer for games not even the land-based venues have, for example keno at pubs. The Internet gaming venue offers a number of different software developers including White Hat Gaming, NetEnt, BetSoft and more. Check out G’day Casino here.
This online casino is best played on your smartphone or tablet, due to its layout, however it can still be accessed on your computer, it’s just not as good. While there is a menu panel across the top which appears to take you to a new page for each category, it actually just scrolls you down the page making it somewhat messy and sometimes frustrating. The mobile version fixes this issue and when accessed via your mobile browser such as Firefox, Chrome, or Safari the titles are each tucked away in their own drop down bar. You can still access all the extensive amount of slots on offer, as well as the other traditional games, and you can even play keno on your smartphone or tablet at this online casino as many others don’t offer it on their mobile version. Sign up at Thrills today to claim your welcome bonus.
Get up to €500 in bonus money when you sign up with 7 Sultans. Offering detailed information on how to play each game, players can download the casino or play via their browsers and access video poker, table games, slots, blackjack, live dealer games, and more. The live dealer allows you to pick between a traditional dealer or a Playboy Bunny dealer, depending on your preferences. 7 Sultans have premier promotions both weekly and monthly which UK players can take advantage of including a VIP Rewards Program where you can trade points for money. Play casino games at 7Sultans Casino.
The UK is all about royalty, and when it comes to this online casino, let’s just say it is fit for a queen. Featuring a classic theme, available in a downloadable format as well as an instant play version, Royal Vegas has a catalogue of over 500 games by Microgaming. There’s even a native app available to be downloaded by UK players titled Regal Vegas. There’s also a neat welcome package of up to €1200, over three deposits. While the bonus offer is good, the games are better and the ground breaking graphics provided by Microgaming will keep UK players coming back for more. Claim your exclusive welcome bonus at Royal Vegas Casino here.
Don’t let the name throw you off, this Internet gambling venue is slick. Featuring both a casino and a sports betting agency, you can switch to which ever gaming lobby you prefer. This casino is also probably the best for live dealer as it offers an abundance of variations including a blackjack party variation, an Immersive Roulette title, and more. Guts also adheres to its ‘why wait’ slogan claiming incredibly fast processing time when it comes to withdrawals if using an e-wallet such as Skrill. All the standard casino games are available along with unique novelty games which still incorporate real Euros. Play this one on the computer via flash or on your portable device thanks to the mobile-friendly interface. Guts also offers daily, weekly and monthly promotions to reward regular online UK players. Sign up at Guts.com here.
Each of the recommended online casinos above are compatible with Mac, Windows and Linux operating systems, along with all the latest smartphones and tablets utilising operating systems like Apple’s iOS, Android, Windows, BlackBerry and even some older-end data enabled WAP and Symbian mobile phone devices. You can also enjoy real money games on Smart TVs. All accept deposits and withdrawals with the British Pound Sterling (GBP).
Why have free spins changed to extra spins and fair spins in the UK?
The UKGC cracked down on online casino advertising from October 2017 due to a rise in complaints and disputes filed regarding misleading promotional material and television advertisements. One of the major changes is the terminology surrounding free spins to better clarify their criteria and abide by the new standards set by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) – by changing the term completely.
At UK licensed online casino sites such as Rizk Casino and Slots Million, any bonus or promotion that has to do with what is known as free spins in other countries are now worded as ‘extra spins’ instead, effective October 16, 2017. Aside from the name-change, the actual bonus itself – spins credited to your casino account – remains effectively the same. This is to better clarify that while the spins are additional rewards to entice players to sign up and create an account, there are stipulations attached to claim and use them.
Other online casinos catering to the United Kingdom, such as BGO.com, have opted to use ‘fair spins’ as their new terminology for free spins. They are unique from extra spins in that they have no wagering requirements attached to them at all, so you can withdraw any winnings made from said fair spins without having to bet an exorbitant amount of cash to retrieve them first.
Is gambling online in the UK safe?
All of our recommended online casinos use a minimum of 128-bit secure socket layer digital encryption technology to secure online financial transactions – the same technology employed by major financial institutions around the globe, so your information is handled with extreme care. Additionally, each casino is audited by independent companies that ensure all of the games offered are reliable and fair, like eCOGRA (eCommerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance), and are licensed by their jurisdiction’s gaming authority (such as the UK Gambling Commission). So yes, gambling at the sites we endorse is safe and legal for UK players.