About UK Gambling Commission
The Gambling Commission was setup under the Gambling Act 2005 to regulate commercial gambling in Great Britain in partnership with licensing authorities.
On 1 October 2013 the Gambling Commission took over the responsibilities of the National Lottery Commission to regulate the National Lottery under the National Lottery etc Act 1993.
We are an independent non-departmental public body (NDPB) sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
We have over 250 employees, mostly based at our offices in Birmingham, including around 40 home-based colleagues working across England, Scotland and Wales.
Our work is funded by fees set by DCMS and paid by the organisations and individuals we license, and, in respect of National Lottery functions, by grant from the National Lottery Distribution Fund.
Gambling activities we regulate
Under the Gambling Act 2005 (as amended) we regulate commercial gambling in Great Britain including:
gaming machine suppliers and manufacturers
gambling software providers
lotteries (raffles) operators and external lottery managers
Remote (online) gambling operators - the Gambling (Licensing & Advertising) Act requires operators that transact with or advertise to consumers in Britain obtain an operating licence from the Gambling Commission.
Under the National Lottery etc Act 1993 we also regulate the National Lottery.
Gambling activities we do not regulate
We do not regulate spread betting. This is the responsibility of the Financial Conduct Authority.
How we regulate
We regulate organisations and individuals who provide facilities for gambling or advertise gambling products to consumers in Great Britain. This covers a range of gambling activities including bingo, betting, lotteries (raffles), gambling in a casino, gaming machines on gambling premises including arcades, and remote gambling (including gambling online). We also regulate the manufacture and supply of gaming machines and the supply of gambling software.
We regulate the National Lottery to ensure:
players are treated fairly
the nation’s interest in the Lottery is protected
the operator is motivated to maximise the enjoyment and benefits that the Lottery brings.
Our regulatory approach
We issue operating licences to organisations and individuals who are providing facilities for gambling. We issue the Licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP) which set out the manner in which facilities for gambling should be provided.
We also issue personal licences to certain individuals working within the gambling industry.
We work closely with the gambling industry and other stakeholders, such as community groups, to consult and develop policies around the licensing objectives, including the LCCP.
Our regulatory approach is risk, evidence and outcome based, proportionate and transparent. It is supported by compliance interventions focused on the effectiveness of an operator’s internal controls, and targeted enforcement activity where needed.
Regulation under the Gambling Act 2005
We put the onus on operators to satisfy themselves of their compliance with the Act and with licence conditions and codes. In doing so operators must be able to demonstrate their compliance, for example, by sharing with us the results of any independent third party test purchasing to check their ability to restrict under-age access.
We share responsibility for compliance and enforcement with local licensing authorities (LAs) – we concentrate on matters of regional and national significance and LAs focus on those of local significance – along with local police and other agencies such as HMRC and Trading Standards. Our Local Authority Liaison Unit (LALU) provides technical support and expertise to LAs, the police and other bodies locally.
Regulating the National Lottery
We introduced a National Lottery Committee in August 2013 in advance of the merger between the National Lottery Commission and the Gambling Commission on 1 October 2013.
This Committee provides advice to the Board in relation to the exercise of our functions under the National Lottery etc Act 1993 (NL Act).
Our regulatory powers
Under the Gambling Act 2005, we have legal powers to take enforcement action to deal with licensed gambling operators, and individuals, who do not comply with the conditions of their licence(s).
Under the National Lottery Act 1993, we have the powers to:
run the competition process to select the operator of the Lottery
make sure that the operator meets the conditions of the licence
take legal action if necessary. If the operator breaks the conditions of the licence, we can impose a financial penalty. Ultimately we could withdraw a licence, but that would only happen under extreme circumstances.
Our business plan
Our business plan sets out our aims for the financial year and beyond to ensure that we keep gambling fair and safe for all and maximise returns to good causes. It details our activity, the resources we will use to fulfil our aims and the milestones by which we will measure progress.
Find out more
A brief introductory leaflet Who we are and what we do, is available to download. The Terms & Conditions section of this website contains further information on legal advice.
What are licence conditions?
There are four types of licence condition that may be attached to operating licences, under the Gambling Act 2005: general and individual conditions (which are attached by the Gambling Commission), conditions imposed by the Secretary of State (made through statutory instruments) and statutory conditions imposed by the Gambling Act 2005 itself.
General licence conditions can be applied to an individual operating licence or a class of operating licence (for example, all betting operating licences).
Individual licence conditions can be applied to an individual operating licence. They are likely to address matters concerning an individual operator and their activities.
Conditions imposed by the Secretary of State may be applied to a class of operating licence.
Statutory conditions may be applied to a class of operating licence.
What are codes of practice?
We issue codes of practice under section 24 of the Gambling Act 2005, about the manner in which facilities for gambling are provided to ensure that:
gambling is conducted in a fair and open way
children and other vulnerable people are protected from being harmed or exploited by gambling
assistance is made available to people who are, or may be, affected by problems related to gambling.
Codes of practice are either:
social responsibility code provisions - which must be adhered to by all licence holders
ordinary code provisions – these do not have the status of licence conditions but failure to take account of them can be used as evidence in criminal or civil proceedings.
The Gambling Commission cannot provide definitive interpretations about the law; only the Courts can do that. Nor can we change the law. It follows that there will be occasions where our advice, which must be understood to be provisional, needs to be revised in light of developments in the law or our understanding of a particular issue. Where this happens, we will seek to draw any change of view on our part to the notice of those affected.
Where our advice is updated (for example, as a result of increased understanding about an issue or a decision made by the Courts) it is important to note that we cannot authorise continued illegality, although, depending on the circumstances, we may decide it would not be proportionate or in the public interest to take enforcement action.
Accordingly, whilst we seek to provide such assistance as we can to the industry, we are unable to accept liability for any losses caused to any person as a result of reliance upon any advice we provide concerning the legality or otherwise of any activity or apparatus.