UK Gaming Jurisdiction

United Kingdom

ukUK Gaming Jurisdiction

Overview of UK licensing regime

On 1 November 2014 a point of consumption licensing regime for online gambling was introduced in Great Britain by the Gambling (Advertising and Licensing) Act 2014. As a result of this legislation all operators, irrespective of where they are based, providing facilities for gambling and/or advertising in Great Britain are subject to this regulatory regime and will require a licence issued by the Gambling Commission (the “Commission”).

There is no single type of remote licence.  Instead, the Commission offers remote operating licences for each type of gambling activity, including:

  • remote casino operating licence
  • remote bingo operating licence
  • remote betting operating licence
  • remote gambling software operating licence
  • remote gaming machine operating licence
  • remote lottery operating licence

 If operators hold a licence authorising multiple licensable activities; for example, bingo and casino, they will hold a “combined operating licence” authorising all of the remote activities.

Additionally, certain “ancillary licences” (also known as “linked licences”) are available. For example, if an operator is applying for a full remote operating licence (such as a remote casino) it may also apply for a linked gambling software licence providing certain criteria are met. This licence allows an operator to manufacture, supply, install or adapt gambling software for its own use provided that the total cost of carrying out these activities is no more than £50,000 per year.

The regime does not distinguish between the nature of activities and business models, therefore, licences are not B2C or B2B.  If an operator is a B2B casino platform provider “providing facilities for casino gaming”, it will hold exactly the same type of licence as a B2C operator offering an online casino to players in Great Britain.

Individuals within an operator’s business will be required to hold personal management licences if responsible for the following key functions:

  • overall strategy and delivery of gambling operations
  • financial planning, control and budgeting
  • marketing and commercial development
  • regulatory compliance
  • gambling related IT provision and security

It is worth noting that these are personal licences and move with employees if they leave the business.

Both an application fee and an annual fee are payable and these are calculated using an operator’s projected  gross gambling yield in the 12 months following grant of the licence. The annual fee is due 30 days after the licence is issued.

The Commission’s service standard is that it will determine applications within 6 weeks of submission. In our experience, however, applications typically take two to four months to be determined, depending on the complexity of an operator’s product, corporate structure and the nature of any specific issues or concerns on the part of the Commission. The most straightforward applications can be determined in six weeks and the most complex in many months.

Once licensed, all licensees are required to comply with the Gambling Act 2005 and the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (the “LCCP”). The LCCP are a series of licence conditions, social responsibility provisions and ordinary code provisions that regulate the manner in which facilities for gambling are provided.

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