Overview Of The UK Gambling Act of 2005
The U.K. Gambling Act of 2005 became effective on September 1, 2007. The Act provides a comprehensive structure that is used to regulate all gambling activities in the U.K. It replaced several previously existing Acts such as the Gaming Act of 1968, the Betting and Gaming Act of 1963 and the Lotteries and Amusement Act of 1976. Previously, several licencing justices bore the responsibility of granting various gaming and betting licences. The new Act, however, transferred this responsibility to the U.K. Gambling Commission. The Act covers all gaming centres, casinos, bingo, sports betting, gambling operations including remote and online gambling, and lotteries.
The primary objectives of the U.K. Gambling Commission as outlined in the Gambling Act of 2005 are:
- Prevent any criminal activities in gambling
- Ensure than gambling is always carried out in a fair and transparent manner
- Protect children and vulnerable persons from being taken advantage of by gambling operators
The Gambling Commission discharges its mandate through licensing authorities in order to enforce the laws of the Gambling Act of 2005. The main roles of these licensing authorities are:
- Issuing premise licenses to gambling operators;
- Issuing permits to any unlicensed family entertainment centres, club machines, club gaming, prize gaming and licensed premise gaming machines;
- Issuing provisional approvals for gambling premises that are not yet built;
- Regulating gaming activities in all alcohol licensed premises;
- Granting permits for prize gambling;
- Registering small lotteries;
- Providing detailed information to the Gambling Commission regarding licenses issued for gambling activities
- Licensing authorities are required to prepare a statement of principles in accordance with the Gambling Act of 2005 every 3 years and publish it. The statement can be reviewed or revised anytime during its 3-year lifetime.
What Changes Did The New Legislation Bring?
The new Act brought some major changes into the gaming landscape. For instance, prize competitions and free draws are now exempted from statutory control under the new Act. The Act, however, introduced new skills test that are used to determine legal competitions from illegal lotteries. Another big change that was introduced by the new Act is that bookmakers, casinos, and legal UK online betting sites are now allowed to freely advertise their services on various media channels such as TV and radio in the country for the first time. Additionally, restriction that previously required a person to be a member of a casino to participate was lifted.
Other key changes introduced by the new Act are:
- Remote gambling sites and betting shops that are based in the U.K. are now governed by the Gambling Commission.
- Local residents are allowed to object to any new gambling operations in their residences or request for the existing ones to be reviewed.
- Local authorities can now impose various sanctions on gambling operators, including reducing the number of gaming machines in a premise or limiting opening hours.
- Gambling ads are required to be socially responsible, avoid using models aged below 25 years or try to link gambling to sexual prowess.
- Gambling Act of 2005 will be summarily banned.
- Any gambling ads outside Europe that do not meet the strict requirements laid out by the TV gambling ads are allowed to subject themselves to a voluntary 9pm watershed.
- Bingo clubs are now allowed to offer rollover jackpots.
- Phone-in quizzes on both TV and radio must use harder questions in their quizzes to prevent encouraging lotteries that are too easy to operate and that can evade legal requirements to pay 20% of their profits to charities.
- All gambling operators are required to prominently display their information about their services.
- Betting cheats can face a 2-year jail term.
- Gambling debts are now legally enforceable.
The U.K. Gambling Commission is one of the most powerful and effective gambling regulator in the world. It has the powers to withdraw licenses, levy unlimited fines, seize goods, prosecute gambling operators as well as suspend or even void bets. The law has empowered more than 1,500 licensing officers who belong to local authorities, as well as 50 specialists Gambling Commission officers to discharge the mandate of the commission.
As a person who enjoys gambling whether it’s legal UK online poker games, casinos, bingo or other forms of betting, the Gambling Act of 2005 has made your life much more secure by covering your back and ensuring you will always be treated justly and fairly.