Gambling Commission

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This article is about the United Kingdom's Gambling Commission. For other jurisdictions, see Gaming Control Board.
Gambling Commission
Motto Keeping gambling fair and safe for all
Predecessor Gaming Board
Formation September 1, 2007; 9 years ago (2007-09-01)
Type Government agency
Legal status Non-departmental public body
Purpose Gambling regulation in the United Kingdom
Headquarters Victoria Square House
Region served
280 employees
Chief Executive
Sarah Harrison
Main organ
Board of Commissioners (Chairman - Philip Graf), Management Board
Parent organization
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
Website Gambling Commission

The Gambling Commission is Great Britain's regulatory body for most, but not all, gambling.


It was established under the Gambling Act 2005 and assumed full powers in 2007, taking over responsibility from the Gaming Board for Great Britain, in regulating arcades, betting, bingo, casinos, slot machines and lotteries, but not spread betting (regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority).

It is also responsible for the remote gambling which includes betting online, by telephone and other communication devices using the equipment, based on the territory of Great Britain.

On 1 October 2013 the National Lottery Commission, which regulates the National Lottery, became part of the Gambling Commission.[1]

Main responsibilities[edit]

The Commission's stated aims are "to keep crime out of gambling, to ensure that gambling is conducted fairly and openly, and to protect children and vulnerable people". However, critics note its ADR process and default non-disclosure of complaints as often part of "standard procedure" contrasts directly with the validity of this claimed remit. [2]

The Commission is a non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. It issues licences to gambling operators, can levy fines and revoke licences, and is tasked with investigating and prosecuting illegal gambling. It is also responsible for advising national and local government on gambling-related issues.[2]

The UK Gambling Commission issues licences only to those operators whose remote gambling equipment is located on the territory of the UK. Those operators who wish to advertise their services on the territory of the UK, but are based outside the country, have to obtain a licence from the Gambling Commission or, alternatively, one of the whitelisted gambling jurisdictions. The Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill proposes to change the licensing requirements so that any company wishing to advertise gambling and take bets from consumers in the UK must hold a licence issued by the Gambling Commission.[3] The proposals are being challenged by the gambling industry including the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association.[4]

Monitoring and regulation[edit]

The list of responsibilities of the Gambling Commission includes work to ensure that licensees act in accordance with the requirements imposed by the Gambling Act 2005 and other related regulations and standards. The Commission has the right to visit its licensees and examine their financial activities. As a result of this examination, specialists from the Gambling Commission can issue recommendations for amendments. Apart from such advice, supplementary licence conditions can be set or removed. In some cases, the Commission may take action to correct or avoid certain misconducts.[5]

Apart from reviewing the activities of the licensed operators, the Commission is authorised to take regulatory actions against those licensees who breach the rules in some way. The range of actions that may need to be taken varies from issuing a warning to inflicting a fine on those who violate licence conditions. In situations where additional investigation is required, the licence can be revoked.

The Intelligence department of the Gambling Commission collects information about the illegal activities related to their field and conducts preliminary investigation in order to build a picture of the situation and inform senior management.They also collaborate with other UK organisations and the police in cases where suspicious betting or gambling activities are detected.[6]

The list of operators and personal licence holders who have had a regulatory sanction imposed on them is published on the site of the Gambling Commission.[7]


The Gambling Commission has come under fire for not preventing the spread of fixed odds betting terminals (FOBT) on the high street. Their spread is linked to the transfer of responsibility for planning permission for bookmakers moving from the Gambling Commission to local authority.

In 2014 the UK regulated online bookmaker Canbet went into receivership owing millions to customers. The demise of this site raised questions of the ability of the Commission to protect UK customers from rogue traders, although overall responsibility for UK online regulation was only given to the UKGC in November 2014.[8]

In September 2014, UK regulated online bookmaker BetButler closed down, leaving a message on its website reading "The Board of BetButler Limited has been approached by a third party regulated gaming business to acquire the customer database, including all balances and pending withdrawal requests, of the business. This process will take some days to complete." Concerns were raised about pay out times and their financial state many months before this appeared. Again, the Gambling Commission have been criticised. [9]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]