Gambling Commission

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Gambling Commission
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom as used by HM Government
Agency overview
Formed 1 September 2007; 10 years ago (2007-09-01)
Preceding agency
Type Executive non-departmental public body
Jurisdiction Great Britain
Headquarters Victoria Square House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B2 4BP
Motto Keeping gambling fair and safe for all
Employees 280 employees
Minister responsible
Agency executives
  • Sarah Harrison, Chief Executive
  • Bill Moyes, Chairman, Board of Commissioners
Parent department Department for Culture, Media and Sport
England, Scotland and Wales within the UK and Europe.svg
Great Britain in the UK and Europe

The Gambling Commission is an executive non-departmental public body of the Government of the United Kingdom responsible for regulating gambling and supervising gaming law in Great Britain (its jurisdiction does not extend to Northern Ireland.) On 1 October 2013 it assumed responsibility for regulating the National Lottery. However, the Gambling Commission is not responsible for granting planning permission for bookmakers shops on the high street – such decisions are made by the local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales, and the regulation of spread betting is the responsibility of the Financial Conduct Authority.


The Gambling Commission 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).[1][2] The Commission is a non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.[3]

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.[citation needed]

On 1 October 2013 the National Lottery Commission, which regulated the National Lottery, became part of the Gambling Commission.[4][5]


Aims and objectives[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.[6]


The Commission 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.[6]

Remote gambling[edit]

For remote gambling, the Commission issues licences to those operators whose remote gambling equipment is located in the territory of Great Britain. Whilst, those operators who wish to advertise their services in England, Wales, or Scotland, but are based outside the country, have to obtain a licence from the Gambling Commission following the passage of the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014. The 2014 Act changed the licensing requirements so that any company wishing to advertise gambling and take bets from consumers in England, Wales, or Scotland must hold a licence issued by the Gambling Commission. Previously, an operator in one of the whitelisted gambling jurisdictions could advertise their services in Great Britain without requiring a separate license from the Commission.[6][7][8][9] The proposals were opposed by the gambling industry, including the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association.[10]

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.[11]

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.[citation needed]

The Intelligence department of the Gambling Commission collects information about the illegal activities related to their field and conducts preliminary investigation 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.[12]

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.[13]


The Gambling Commission has come under fire for not preventing the spread of Fixed odds betting terminals 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 authorities.[citation needed]

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.[14]

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.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ UK Parliament. Gambling Act 2005 as amended (see also enacted form), from
  2. ^ "FCA proposes stricter rules for contract for difference products". Financial Conduct Authority. 6 December 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2016. 
  3. ^ "Departments, agencies and public bodies". Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  4. ^ "About us". Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 4 June 2017. 
  5. ^ Statutory Instrument 2013 No. 2329 The Public Bodies (Merger of the Gambling Commission and the National Lottery Commission) Order 2013
  6. ^ a b c The Gambling Commission: What it is and what it does (PDF)]
  7. ^ "New UK gambling law explained: what's all the fuss about?" Right Casino. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  8. ^ Macgregor, Ewen (19 November 2014). "World Sports Law Report Blog > The impact of the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014". World Sports Law Report. Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  9. ^ UK Parliament. Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 as amended (see also enacted form), from
  10. ^ Biddle, Susan & Ferrie, Audrey. "What the gambling industry can expect in 2014". Retrieved 21 January 2014. 
  11. ^ "Compliance". Gambling Commission. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  12. ^ Keaveny, Paul; Mike Hornby. "Wayne Rooney's father bailed in betting probe". The Independent. Retrieved 19 April 2014. 
  13. ^ Gambling Commission: Regulatory Powers
  14. ^ UK Parliament. Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 as amended (see also enacted form), from
  15. ^ "Distressed BetButler stops trading ahead of potential sale". SBC News. 1 September 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2017. 

External links[edit]