The United Kingdom is one of the most reliable and strictest regulators for online casinos. The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) offers licenses for online gambling sites operating within the jurisdiction. It is only valid for services provided in this specific region and it is certainly not easy to obtain. This license is particularly popular with British players because it has an immaculate reputation. All casinos operating under a UKGC license are provably fair and required to follow the highest standards when it comes to player protection and fair gaming.
Any provider wishing to offer gambling services in the UK needs a license from the UK Gambling Commission. Since it is a regulated market, other licenses from outside are not recognized here. The UK Gambling Commission has a variety of licenses, which are divided into different subject areas. A distinction is made between certain types of games. All of the licenses offered differ in terms of the details that apply to each specific category. The following licenses are available:
Applicants must have a valid address in the United Kingdom to receive correspondence. First of all, a police clearance certificate must be submitted and information about any previous convictions must be given. At the same time, information about the application will be provided, explaining the background of the applicant in detail. Furthermore, a business plan must be presented that outlines all planned areas of activity. Several background checks are carried out by the UKGC including:
The UKGC licensing authorities are responsible for issuing licenses and concessions. These can relate to both online business and the local market. This includes, for example, checking slot machines in bars and clubs and smaller local lotteries or the like.
When it comes to responsible gambling, the UK Gambling Commission is one of the toughest regulators out there. Player protection is one of the elements upon which the UKGC is particularly strict. The UK has its own register for problem gamblers. If you opt to self-exclude from an online casino due to a gambling addiction, for example, you'll be protected in all other casinos under this license as well.
Furthermore, operators are required to follow strict procedures before they can welcome back any previously self-excluded players. In addition to this, online casinos need to provide a variety of gambling limits for their players.
An interactive seal of approval has become the industry standard for validating licenses. The situation is pretty much similar when it comes to licenses issued by the UKGC. Any operators that are regulated by the authority need to have the regulator's seal of approval (logo) in its footer. That way, users can quickly notice whether the site is approved or not.
Clicking on the logo will take you to the operator's license page on the UKGC official website. This page will show the license status, account number, address, types of licenses, trading names, and domain names. If the license status is ACTIVE and written inside a green field, you are in safe hands!
The UKGC was among the first regulators to offer users access to a public register with all the license holders. In the full business register of the UKGC, you can enter any business name, brand name, URL, or account number. The system will immediately show you whether there's a license issued to that entity alongside the license status. Moreover, you'll find information about the type or types of licenses held by that entity. So, discovering whether an online casino operator is legit or not is incredibly easy thanks to this online tool.
In the event of a disagreement between the player and the operator, a UK Ombudsman acts as an intermediary between the two parties on behalf of the UK Gambling Commission. They take this task very seriously. Player protection is very important and is subject to very strict guidelines. If the license requirements are violated, online casinos face massive fines and, in the worst case, even the loss of the license.
It's essential to note that the UKGC doesn't actually resolve or decide about any issues. Instead, independent and approved Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) providers have this role in order to guarantee there's no conflict of interest whatsoever.
But how does the complaining and dispute resolution process work, you may wonder. Well, let's see.
Per the information on the UKGC's website, you should first contact the online casino and try to resolve the issue with it directly. To file a complaint to the gambling business, you should follow their complaint procedure as explained on the casino's website. Then, you should wait for a response, which must arrive in up to eight weeks. If you're not happy with the outcome of the operator's investigation, you can escalate the issue to one of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) providers. ADR is free and independent, but you can't get to it without completing the first step. As for what ADR you should use, this will be included in the response from the gambling business.
There's also another tool you can use to resolve disputes with UKGC-licensed casinos - The Resolver. This is also an independent and free dispute resolution tool recommended by the regulator. This page informs players of their rights and provides them with the option to start their cases on various topics, including closed accounts, inability to withdraw winnings, and being able to gamble after self-excluding. You can also check the resolution rate of each operator as well as the most common issues other players had with it.
To use The Resolver, just click on the "Start Your Case Now" button, and you'll be taken to the complaint form. You'll have to enter standard information like who you are complaining against, which service you have an issue with, what type of an issue you have, and so on. Once you fill out all the fields, you submit the form and wait for a response.