UK Online Casinos
UK online casinos benefit from the fact that the people of the United Kingdom have a long and storied cultural familiarity with gambling. Placing bets on casino games, races, and sporting events is not looked upon with the same degree of suspicion that you’d find in, say, America.
But British people aren’t stuck in the 19th century – the country’s attitude toward online gaming is liberal, too. The UK is one of the most forward-thinking nations when it comes to gaming law. Both offshore and native operations are available to people living in England, Scotland, and Wales. Provided a gaming site appears on the UK Gambling Commission’s “white list,” it can advertise and offer its services to UK citizens all it wants.
If I were to dream up a “paradise” for online gamers, the United Kingdom would come pretty close to it. All sorts of wagers are both legal and readily available online in the three nations that make up the UK. Also, gambling has been legally declared a hobby rather than a job, which means British citizens don’t pay any taxes on their winnings.
Is Online Gambling Legal in the UK?
Yes, it is legal for citizens of the United Kingdom to place bets on the Internet if they follow the UK Gambling Commission’s two restrictions. The first is easy – you have to be 18 or older to bet legally. Second – you have to place your bet at a site that holds a legitimate “remote gambling license.”
Legal gambling in the United Kingdom – as described by legislation – only goes back to the 1960s. Before then, there wasn’t much of a legal framework for things like licensure, and there were no penalties for any sort of gambling activity. The real tradition of betting in England goes back several centuries.
In recent years, gambling law in the UK has been expanded – most notably in 2005, when a long set of restrictions and regulations were enacted to make the business of betting more culturally palatable. These new laws didn’t restrict access to legal gambling (at least, not to adults), but put safeguards in place to protect children and other vulnerable parts of the population.
These days, UK citizens have access to some relatively-new bets. The area is now home to one of the world’s most-popular lottery systems, with both regional and national games available. The country is also now home to several large casinos. Gone are the days when small “Clubs” were the only way to play casino games. These days, the UK Gambling Commission is granting licenses to large gaming venues, even as online betting gobbles up more and more of the market share, proving that there’s still plenty of cash to be made offering games of chance to Britons.
The UK’s Most-Popular Bets
The gambling tastes of British citizens closely resembles that of their American cousins. Of course, some features of the UK gaming scene make it unique from American casino play. For starters, many forms of social (or “pub”) betting are both legal and readily-available for British citizens, so the private game culture is a lot bigger than in America.
What are the most popular games in the UK?
Online Gambling – The British call this “remote gambling,” but it’s the same thing. If anything, “remote gambling” is a better name for it, because that name includes mobile and social betting apps as well as desktop gaming sites. As discussed above, these games are popular because they’re well-regulated, totally legal, and available in a huge variety. Since gambling income isn’t taxed, why wouldn’t you play a few rounds of poker or craps online?
Fruit Machines – This is what the British call “slot machines.” This is the most popular game in all of the United Kingdom, which is another way that the American and British markets are similar.
Bingo / Housie – Bingo (sometimes called Housie in the United Kingdom) has been legal and accessible for Britons since 1960. In fact, housie was the first game to be explicitly legalized during the legislative changes of the 1960s. Giant bingo halls were built all over the place, and while they started as private clubs (as is so often in England), they’ve since become traditional commercial venues no different from bingo games in Australia or America.
Sports Betting – The biggest game in the British Empire is soccer, or “football.” Bets on soccer rival any popular sport around the world in volume and frequency. The British also love wagering on horse and greyhound races, which has about as long a cultural history in the country as stoicism and a stiff upper lip. Off-track betting (sometimes called off-course betting in England and Scotland) is so common a sight as to be ubiquitous. You can even place simple sports wagers in most pubs, particularly in urban areas.
Private Games – Unlike most countries around the world, the government of the UK has just one restriction on so-called “social” or “pub” bets. As long as all players are competing with an equal advantage, the game is legal. Britons are only breaking the law if they choose to rake the game or create any other advantage – this includes requiring participants to buy tickets, drinks, food, or other trinkets in order to play.
Online casinos in the UK are really popular in no small part because they’re fully-legal under most conditions. Since the government recognizes (and even licenses) online gaming venues as legitimate businesses, UK-based casinos and betting sites are more likely to be secure and reliable than sites aimed at a less-open market, such as the USA.
People in the UK are traditionally fond of placing a big variety of different wagers, from horse and dog races to formal casino table contests. Modern Web-based casinos offer just about every form of traditional game that the people of the UK love, so it’s no surprise that Internet casinos are big business in England, Scotland, and Wales.