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Virginia - United States

Our American Players’ Favorite UK Gambling Commission - With Ratings! Updated January 2021

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Not accepting players from:Virginia - United States
9.7 / 10
  • Many game categories — all with a good selection
  • Site works equally well from desktop and mobile
  • Four different bonuses to choose from
  • More than 200 games with progressive jackpots
  • Secure casino with an excellent reputation in the industry
Not accepting players from:Virginia - United States
9.4 / 10
  • Great selection of casino games
  • Both Live Casino and Sportsbook
  • No deposit free spins with registration
  • Comprehensive loyalty program
  • Safe casino with a MGA license
Not accepting players from:Virginia - United States
9.5 / 10
  • 4000 slots and casino games from 135 game providers
  • Collect points as you play and get rewards
  • Plenty of options for filtering and sorting games
  • Unique bonus – claimable in 10% increments
  • Safe casino with multiple gaming licenses
Not accepting players from:Virginia - United States
9.2 / 10
  • Welcome bonus offering up to €3,500 plus 200 free bonus spins
  • Large selection of different game providers
  • Good choice of slots, table games, and scratchcards
  • Loyalty rewards scheme and VIP options available
  • Multiple gaming licenses for numerous locations
Not accepting players from:Virginia - United States
8 / 10
  • Over 1,000 high-quality games
  • Top-notch software providers
  • Generous bonuses
  • Friendly customer support
  • Regulated by UKGC, MGA and Spellinspektionen

Table of Contents

The Gambling Commission's task list includes

  • Ensuring that all operators conduct their business in compliance with the requirements of the 2005 Gambling Act.
  • Inspect license holders and review all of their financial activities.
  • Making recommendations for changes based on the results of research.
  • Removal or suspension of gaming licenses if necessary.
  • Impose fines on licensees if they are not complying with the regulatory requirements.
  • Working with law enforcement agencies to identify and combat illegal gambling.

Types of gambling licenses

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:

  • Casino license
  • Bingo license
  • Licenses for sports betting and betting in general
  • Lottery license

Requirements for obtaining a license

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:

  • Identity verification
  • Ownership
  • Financial foundations
  • Righteousness
  • Competence and responsibility
  • Criminal history

Approval Authorities

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.

Payer protection and responsible gambling

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. 

Dispute resolutions

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 are facing massive fines and, in the worst case, even the loss of the license.

  • A gambling license is intended to protect players, and one of its main functions is to provide a mechanism for resolving disputes when they come up. If you have a dispute with a casino, and the casino is being unreasonable, the gambling authority will help you. For many licenses, this means you can contact the gambling authority to get help processing your withdrawals, claiming money the casino has debited from your account, or resolving other disputes that might arise. The likelihood that the gambling authority will help you in ways that are effective, however, depends on the procedures they have in place for this. This is yet another reason why choosing to play at a casino that has a safe license is important.

    Getting help directly from the gambling authority is not always necessary, or even an option. A lot of regulators have now enforced third-party dispute resolution. This means casinos must have an agreement with an arbitrator who will look into disputes on the behalf of players from a particular casino. This ensures your dispute will be reviewed by an objective third party. All trusted online casinos have information about arbitration on their websites if they use this option, or they’ll have the contact information for the gambling authority you should consult. However, you should always try to resolve your issues with the casino first, and a lot of casinos have separate email addresses specifically for handling complaints.

  • If you’re worried about the security of the transactions you’re making at a casino, you should look for a logo with the acronym PCI DSS. This stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, and this is something the payment industry has created. If you see this logo, it means the casino can be trusted for safe money transactions since they follow all of the rules set by the payment industry. Information about this can also be found in an FAQ section on the casino’s website.

    Another thing to look out for in terms of payments is where your money is kept while you play. Some gambling authorities, all of the best ones actually, regulate what the casino can do with your money while they are holding it. Your money shouldn’t go into a general bank account held by the casino; it should go into an account that is strictly for holding player funds. This means that as long as you have the money in your player account, it can’t be spent by the casino. Your deposit will be kept separate from the operating funds of the casino until your player account is empty, which will happen if you make a funds withdrawal or if you lose the money while playing.

  • The best known system tool for ensuring that a casino offers fair games is eCogra; however, there are other providers that also offer these kinds of systems. You want to make sure that the casino is using a certified third-party control system to ensure that the games of chance you’re playing are actually based on chance and not on other types of metrics. Rigged games are ones that have been set up to pay out less than they claim to or ones that give some players a greater chance of winning than others.

    The eCogra logo can often be found in the footer of the casino’s website, but not all casinos choose to display it. If you can’t see this logo, go to the FAQs and see if you can find information about random number generators. If there are no FAQs on the site, check out their terms and conditions or contact the casino’s support and ask how they ensure their games are safe.

  • An SSL-encrypted website should be mandatory for any casino, and very few casinos operate without this or similar safe encryption features. Always keep in mind that you are giving the casino quite a bit of sensitive information, including your payment details. When you’re uploading and sending documents to verify your identity, you want to make sure that no unauthorized third-party has access to them. Site security, therefore, doesn’t only include the website itself but also what the casino does on the backend. You should always look into a casino’s data security. You’ll normally find information about this in their terms and conditions and their privacy policy. If in doubt, contact their support and ask for more detailed information.

    Most trustworthy casinos have information about site security in the website footer, so simply scroll down and look for the logo of a well-known security system.

  • The gambling license a casino operates under will have a big impact on your security. Not all licenses are equally safe for players for the simple reason that they are issued by different gambling authorities that work in different ways and have different rules. The rules and regulations may be quite similar, but the way they are enforced is a different story entirely. For example, if a casino doesn’t comply with the regulations, some gambling authorities may just issue a fine while others may revoke the casino’s license outright. How often gambling authorities show up for an unscheduled inspection or control will also vary.

    The biggest differences between a safe, high quality gambling license and one that isn’t as good will usually show up in the areas of fair gaming, dispute resolution and the rules and systems for identifying and handling problem gamblers (responsible gambling). If your country of residence has its own gambling authority, playing at casinos that are licensed by them will be the safest option for you. Other international licenses that can be trusted are issued by the Malta Gambling Authority and the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority. Curacao eGaming is getting better at protecting players whereas licenses from Panama and Costa Rica, for instance, are considered less safe. The worst option is obviously a casino with no license whatsoever.

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