What Is the UK Gambling Commission?

Updated: 31 Jan 2023


If you’ve ever gambled in the UK, the game you played had approval from the Gambling Commission. But what is the UK Gambling Commission? This organisation is a governing body that controls all gambling activity in the United Kingdom.

This commission regulates all betting in the UK – be it online or at a brick-and-mortar establishment. This regulator works hard to ensure that gambling is fair, not linked to crime and doesn’t harm vulnerable people.

Every UK casino bonus featured here at NewFreeSpinsNoDeposit holds a trustworthy UKGC license. Want to find out more? Our expert guide gives you in-depth answers to your questions:

How does the UK Gambling Commission work?

How UK gambling laws protect you

How do you check if a casino has a licence on the UKGC site?

How do you make a complaint about a casino to the UKGC?

Who funds the Gambling Commission?

How do you contact them?


Formed in 2005, the Gambling Commission ensures companies adhere to specific regulations with its licensing system. Amendments to the Gambling Act in 2014 declared that any company wanting to advertise to UK customers would need a Gambling Commission license.

Therefore, if a company doesn’t meet the licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP), it can’t operate in the UK – even the National Lottery falls under its jurisdiction. The Commission also has the power to amend the LCCP or add new requirements to ensure it keeps this £14.3 billion per year industry safe.

As recently as April 2021, the Commission outlined a new strategy to make sure it constantly adapts. As a result, getting and keeping a license from the UKGC is not easy. The commission only allows a company to provide gambling services if it meets strict requirements:

Must have a transparent ownership structure

Must be able to demonstrate sufficient financials

Must have competent payout methods

Once an organisation has obtained the license, it must adhere to UKGC regulations at all times. If it fails to do this, the Gambling Commission can revoke its license immediately. These regulations give you peace of mind when enjoying free spin bonuses in the UK.


Because of the strict LCCP set by the UKGC, playing at a casino that holds a Gambling Commission license has many advantages.

Firstly, gambling establishments must protect your personal data from cyber-attacks. They do this by using secure socket layer encryption technology (SSL).

Another protective measure is that all companies have to keep the money you deposit in a separate account. The Gambling Commission enforces this to help protect your money if the company goes bust. Unfortunately, however, this doesn’t always work.

As a result, the regulatory body orders all gambling establishments to clearly state which level of protection they employ. There are three classifications:

– Basic: this is when the company only keeps your funds in a separate account. But, if the establishment goes bankrupt, your money could still be seized.

– Medium: the company has taken extra measures, such as taking out insurance, to protect your held money in the event of bankruptcy. Again, there is no 100% guarantee you will receive your funds if this happens.

-High: the operator holds your money in a bank account controlled by an external auditor or independent entity. Therefore, if the operator goes bust, you will receive the money you had in your account.


In general, the minimum legal age for gambling in Great Britain is 18 years of age. You must be 18 or above to play at gaming centres, betting shops, casinos, or take part in online gambling. Although a minimum age requirement doesn’t apply to enter bingo halls or race tracks, you cannot enjoy these facilities until you’re of legal age.


The UKGC makes sure casino games are fair by working with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). These regulations are vital for online casinos because the majority of their games are virtual. So, how does the Gambling Commission guarantee fair gaming?

The regulatory body makes all online casinos operating in the UK use a random number generator (RNG). This software creates the results of online blackjack, roulette and slot machines. The RNG guarantees you a fair shot and stops the casino from interfering with the outcome of games.

Online casinos must also specify the RTP (return to player) rate of their virtual games. This percentage tells you how much of the money put into the game is returned with winnings.

For example, if a game has an RTP of 97%, every £100 spent playing the game goes back to players. In this case, the house edge would be 3%. This percentage applies to all the gamers that play the game, not just one session or one person.


The UK Gambling Commission holds casinos to account if they act unfairly or irresponsibly. That means if you’re unhappy with a casino, you can make a complaint. Once you have filed your complaint, the regulatory body will start an investigation. Remember, this only applies to establishments that hold a UKGC license.


Every online casino regulated by the UKGC must show its license number on its website to adhere to the law. You can find this by scrolling down to the bottom of the site’s main page or visiting the site’s ‘about’ page.

You can also check if a casino holds this trustworthy license by checking the Gambling Commission’s register of gambling businesses. Simply enter the company’s name into the search bar to check the legitimacy of a casino. This online database quickly tells you if the firm holds a UKGC license.

What’s more, this tool gives you all the in-depth details of the company: trading names, registered premises, sanctions and settlements. To avoid scams, always play at casinos featured here at NewFreeSpinsNoDeposit, as we only endorse sites that hold UKGC licenses to UK players.


The UKGC website provides you with in-depth advice on how to make a complaint. The issues you can complain about include the casino not paying out, its customer service, or its bonus offers.

To make a complaint about an online casino, follow this step-by-step guide:

1. Check any terms and conditions linked to your account or your gambling transaction.

2. Contact the casino via its complaints procedure (live chat, email, online form, etc.)

3. Tell the business all the information about your complaint: dates, times and amounts of money.

4. Share any evidence you have to support your complaint and keep a copy of all correspondence.

5. Wait for the response – the company has eight weeks to resolve your complaint from the time they receive it. When the investigation is complete, you will receive the result of your complaint.

If you want extra help when lodging your complaint, we recommend using Resolver. This handy online tool breaks down each part of the complaints process and gives you helpful tips. The Gambling Commission itself also advises that you use this tool.


If you’re not happy with the outcome of your initial complaint, you can use an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) provider. In 2018, the Gambling Commission brought in new requirements to improve this service. Consequently, betting establishments can now only use providers approved by the UKGC.

Although an ADR provider cannot impose a solution, it adds a formal structure to the complaints procedure. As a result, it can help change a decision taken by the casino, reduce costs for both parties to a dispute and help resolve disputes more quickly.

Our experts recommend that you also use resolver.co.uk to find an ADR provider. This online tool makes lodging your second complaint painless and straightforward.

The UK Gambling Commission is a governing body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Although this means it uses public funds, most of the funding comes from license fees imposed on gambling businesses.

Along with regulating gambling in the UK (online and in brick-and-mortar establishments), it also supports you and informs you on your consumer rights.


You can contact the UK Gambling Commission via phone or an online form. We suggest, however, that you check the site’s FAQ page before doing so. This page provides clear answers to common queries. Although, if you prefer to speak to someone directly, you can contact via:

Phone 0121 230 6666 – if outside the UK, call +44 121 230 6666. Lines are open Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 10:00-12:30 and 13:30-16:00 GMT.

Online form – submit an online form. The Commission’s team aims to respond within 20 days.


What is a UK Gambling license?

As stated in this guide, a company must have a UK Gambling License to provide gambling services to UK players. After getting the license, the business must adhere to strict regulations set by the Gambling Commission to prevent the company from committing crimes, such as money laundering, tampering with the results of your games or providing services to underage gamers.

Can the UK Gambling Commission help me make a complaint about an online casino?

Yes, the UK Gambling Commission provides a guide to help you complain about an online casino. For example, you can lodge a complaint about its customer service, bonus offers or if it is not paying you your winnings. Please read our step-by-step guide on making complaints above for more detailed info.

Can I get free spins no deposit bonuses at casinos regulated by the UKGC?

Of course. Here at NewFreeSpinsNoDeposit, we bring you the very best no deposit bonus offers. We give you the lowdown on each promotion to help you find your perfect match. So check out our free spin reviews to sign up and enjoy some free play today.

Are there other gambling regulators?

There are many other gambling authorities – the gambling laws in the country where the casino wants to operate dictates which authority has regulatory powers. Along with the UK Gambling Commission, other trustworthy authorities include the Malta Gaming Authority, the Swedish Gambling Authority and many more.

Can I play at an unlicensed online casino in the UK?

Although it is possible to find unlicensed casinos in the UK, they are illegal. Therefore, we advise that you stay away from unlicensed gambling sites as they could steal your money, give you unfair results on games, or even sell your personal data. To make sure you play at trustworthy casinos, claim your bonus through our reputable site.

Is gambling illegal in the UK?

Gambling is not illegal in the UK. The Gambling Commission regulates all enterprises that offer gambling services to UK residents. Therefore, this governing body ensures that all online and land-based casino games, sports betting, lottery games etc., are safe, fair, and free from illegal activity.

Are gambling apps legal?

As gambling websites, such as online casinos and sports betting sites, are legal, so are gambling apps in the UK. Other countries that allow the creation and use of apps are Brazil, France and Ireland. Many of the best online casinos let you download award-winning apps – available on iOS and Mac mobile devices – for free.