The UK loves to gamble. From horses to football and from fruit machines to roulette, British players are partial to a flutter.
Betting has a rich and varied history that extends back centuries in the British Isles, and today millions of Brits enjoy gambling on some level. For some this might mean placing an accumulator on the football at the weekend while for others it’s a game of online bingo on a Thursday night or a spin of the roulette wheel.
British high streets are festooned with bookmakers, British TV is crammed with adverts for online casinos and British football teams wear the names of major sportsbooks on their shirts. When it comes to gambling then it would be fair to say that the UK is open for business.
The Advantages of Playing Roulette at a British Online Casino
While there’s little point in playing roulette at a UK-registered casino if you don’t live in Britain, for British-based players there are several advantages.
British roulette players can enjoy a wide range of deposit options including bank transfer, Paysafecard, PayPal and e-wallets such as Neteller and Skrill, both of which are owned by an Isle of Man-based company.
British-based online casinos are also preferable because they also offer customer service that often includes a UK freephone line. Some will even allow players to make deposits over the phone. Pay by credit card to pay roulette at a UK-registered casino and it’s extremely unlikely that your card-issuer will flag the transaction as suspicious; do the same at a Guatemalan casino and you may not fare so well.
The UK’s Relationship with Gambling
Gambling, by its nature, is a pastime that has its detractors and those who would have it shut down or outlawed. Britain hasn’t been averse to such attacks, and there have been certain sectors that were metered and forced underground in times gone by.
With the dawn of the internet, however, a global marketplace for gambling emerged and the UK government wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity for additional revenue that this brought with it. After all, if British registered companies didn’t supply British players with what they were seeking, they’d simply play roulette and other table games at overseas websites, taking millions in revenue out of the country. When viewed like that, taxing and regulating online gambling in Britain was a no-brainer.
Thanks to laws that were passed in 2001, followed by the 2005 Gambling Bill, the gambling industry has flourished in the UK. While many retailers have deserted British high streets, either due to the rise of out-of-town retail parks or the booming ecommerce sector, bookies have prospered, both in the country’s towns and cities and on the web.
The Gambling Bill, which was passed in 2005, reflected the growth of internet gambling and provided consumers with protection when betting online by regulating the sites that are licensed to offer their services to UK-based players.
Britain’s Relationship with Gambling
With one study showing that 73% of Brits had gambled in some shape or form in the previous year, even if it was just purchasing a lottery ticket, the country is certainly not shy when it comes to betting.
Admittedly many people don’t consider lottery tickets and scratch cards to be gambling in a conventional sense, but nevertheless there’s no disputing that the country is a gambling-friendly haven.
In 2010, a survey of 8,000 Brits revealed that more than 10% had bet money online, but that figure has undoubtedly risen since then due to the explosion in online casinos, roulette websites and bookmakers.
The Law on Gambling in Britain
All gambling websites which are registered in the British Isles or which are marketed at British players fall under the jurisdiction of the UK government. If a casino wishes to accept UK customers, it needs to accord to the relevant laws as laid out by the UK Gambling Commission.
As part of the Gambling Act 2005, online gambling was officially licensed for UK-based casinos provided they held the requisite license. The law was further updated in 2014, prohibiting unlicensed gambling firms from advertising at UK-based players.
The gambling laws laid out by the British government dictate, among other things, the minimum age that players must be in order to gamble. This is set at 18, save for scratch card and lottery ticket purchases, which can be conducted from age 16. The law also dictates the nature of the gambling that is permitted in land-based casinos within the UK, with casinos designated as large or small.
The former can offer betting and bingo facilities, whereas the latter can only offer betting.
All casinos can offer roulette, and all do; Brits are extremely fond of the luck-based table game. Other aspects of the law pertain to the technical standards that gambling software must conform to including slots and bingo machines.
How Britain Likes to Bet
According to the law, all forms of online gambling are legal within the UK provided the site in question holds a license issued by the UK Gambling Commission.
Because there is no tax levied on winnings, UK players can play online and then withdraw their cash without the fear of being pursued by the country’s tax authorities. While British roulette players are technically only able to play at site’s licensed by the UK Gambling Commission, in practice they can take their custom wherever they like on the web, especially when using an alternative payment method that doesn’t betray their country of origin.
Gambling websites such as casinos that aren’t licensed to operate in the UK will generally use geo-blocking tools to filter out UK IP addresses. This ensures that they comply with the law, even if it fails to prevent more determined and tech-savvy players from getting through the net.
The greatest incentive for British roulette players to gamble at British-run casinos owes less to the law and more to the quality of service offered. UK players are spoilt for choice when it comes to casinos, bingo sites, roulette sites and bookies, with a wealth of excellent British-based firms to choose from.
Due to its historical love of gambling, the proliferation of online gambling sites shows no signs of abating in the UK. We don’t appear to have reached peak casino yet, so expect to see even more primetime television and football shirts taken up with adverts for online gambling firms.
There can’t be enough of the pie for every gambling operator to prosper, and some of the minnows may be squeezed out in time. For now though, the future looks very rosy indeed from the perspective of British-based roulette players and casinos alike.
What is the UK’s attitude to gambling?
The UK is gambling-friendly. There is no social stigma to gambling and the country’s laws facilitate gambling so long as it’s conducted at licensed premises and websites.
What are the requirements to gamble in Britain?
You must be at least 18 to gamble in Britain (16 for buying lottery tickets and scratchcards.)
What sort of gambling is popular in the UK?
Britain loves gambling in all its forms, but is particularly fond of bingo, poker, roulette and sports betting.
What are the requirements for gambling operators wishing to attract UK players?
Any website looking to attract British players must obtain a license from the UK Gambling Commission.
Is there any tax on winnings?
No, the British government doesn’t tax players on money they win from gambling. Instead, they derive revenue from the profits of the casinos and other gambling websites, which are taxed.
Are British casinos and roulette sites to be trusted?
Yes, for the most part. Generally speaking, any site that is licensed by the UK Gambling Commission can be assumed to be more trustworthy than one, say, that is licensed in Curacao.