UK Casino Licence: Features of Working in One of the World’s Largest Markets
The British gambling industry is one of the most successful and competitive commercial markets in the world. People are offered all types of games for money in this country, and the casino software development sector is also growing rapidly. Such well-known brands as Microgaming, Playtech, Core Gaming, Blueprint, and others are proud of their British roots.
In this article, we will tell you how much a UK casino permit costs, and what advantages it brings to operators.
It is hard to believe but until the early 2000s, the casino industry in the country not only did not develop but any of its types were prohibited by the law of 1845.
In 2001, the government set a course for the development and implementation of a more liberal-leaning legal regime in the gambling sector. For this purpose, a special department was created ― Gambling Review Body. Its task was to conduct a deep market analysis and assess the impact of casino entertainment on society.
Based on the results of the department's work, the first gambling bill was created (in 2003). The reform was signed and entered into force in April 2005. In the same period, a specialised regulator, the Gambling Commission, was founded.
The adoption of the law pursued the following aims:
- ban on gambling commerce associations that bring disorder to the country;
- provision of market participants with a fair and transparent business structure;
- protection of vulnerable people against the influence of gambling.
On the country’s territory, you can launch land-based locations of the following types:
- Resort hotels and other establishments, which include all places that are located outside major administrative centres of the country and in popular tourist zones. There are no general requirements for the design of gambling halls.
- Small casinos. A UK licence can be obtained to open a facility ranging from 500 to 1,500 square metres. Up to 80 hardware devices and sports betting equipment can be placed on the territory of the institution.
- Big gambling locations. The area of the object can reach 3,500 square metres, and at least 1 thousand square metres of them must be allocated specifically for the installation of hardware. The gambling hall can accommodate up to 150 units of equipment. It is also allowed to organise bingo games.
In 2014, gambling legislation was updated by the addition of provisions on the rules for working in the digital segment. The first UK online casino licence was issued in the same year.
By the end of 2016, 32% of the total revenue of the domestic market (over 4.9 billion euros) was accounted for by the Internet industry.
A UK licence is a complex concept that can be applied to organisers of games for money, equipment suppliers, and other enterprises.
Casino licensing in Great Britain: classification of permits
This is a basic document that indicates the type of business of an entrepreneur. In the country, it is possible to obtain a permit for organising:
Personal operational permit
The document is issued if the casino owner performs more than one of the following actions:
Personal functional licence
The local regulator not only controls the operators' work but also issues certificates of compliance for the casino staff.
The document can be obtained by:
Certification of premises
The document is mandatory for all operators working in the land-based segment. To obtain it, entrepreneurs must:
All types of drawings, except for commercial ones, must be legalised. The document is applied to real and virtual lotteries, including drawings that include tangible gifts
The country’s permit not only regulates gambling requirements but also determines the type of hardware devices used.
All slot machines for land-based clubs are divided into classes depending on the technical features and the size of maximum payouts:
- B1. Equipment of this type can only be placed in casinos. The maximum bet per session is up to 5,5 euros. The winning limit is 10,994 euros.
- B2. All slot machines with fixed bets are included in this category. The devices can be placed in betting shops, bingo halls, and locations with sweepstakes. With a maximum bet of 109 euros, the winnings in such entertainment cannot exceed 549 euros.
- B3. The equipment can be installed in bookmaker’s offices, slot machines, and casinos opened only for adults. Casino visitors can place no more than 2.2 euros per round and win up to 549 euros.
- B3A. The devices operate on the principle of a lottery terminal (ticket printing is also provided) but are not classified as lottery equipment. Devices of this category can only be installed in exclusive membership clubs. Maximum winnings here cannot exceed 549 euros.
- B4. The equipment can be placed in almost all entertainment venues, except for pubs. The accepted bet is up to 2,2 euros per session and the maximum prize is 439 euros.
- C. Hardware devices that can be placed everywhere, including drinking establishments. The allowed rate is up to 1,1 euros. The maximum prize fund is 109 euros.
- D. The equipment can be used on the territory of any entertainment complex, including family centres. The available betting limit is 10–20 pennies. The largest prize pool must not exceed 21 euros.
The casino business in Great Britain is one of the most stable sources of replenishment of the public treasury. The industry development program has long become one of the most powerful local financial instruments. Moreover, it is not only beneficial for local entrepreneurs but also popular with foreign investors.
To buy the UK licence, operators must cover the following expenses:
- Registration fee. The cost of an application for certification is calculated on the basis of the type of future activity and can vary from 950 to 16 thousand euros.
- Annual maintenance. Depending on the format of work, casino owners must annually pay from 1 to 40 thousand euros to the public treasury.
- Administrative expenses. The filing of tax reporting, communication with the Gambling Commission, and the maintenance of the permit cost about 1,200 euros per month.
- Tax payments. Land-based and online gambling platforms licensed in the UK operate on a single tariff scale with a fixed income tax rate of 19% and a mandatory annual fee ― 15% of net income.
The local regulator strictly enforces certification standards, so the applicant must meet the following requirements:
- Fair play. Operators must distribute only transparent games in accordance with international norms of social responsibility.
- Protection of children. Entrepreneurs cannot use child labour to establish and promote gambling locations and should strictly control the age of their audience.
- Security assurances. In order to launch licensed online casinos in the UK, businessmen must adhere to the rules of responsible gambling and tell customers about all the risks related to betting.
- Cooperation with law enforcement agencies. One of the main tasks of entrepreneurs is to help local authorities to fight against illegal activities and money laundering.
To file an application to the Commission, operators need to:
- register a legal entity on the country’s territory;
- gain citizenship or hire a CEO who is a British resident;
- prepare a package of documents (about 25 certificates, including bank statements, certificates of no criminal record, etc.);
- provide a receipt for making a security deposit in the amount of 175,600 euros.
The application is considered within 1–3 months. The UK licence is valid for 5 years.
Due to the growth of the online segment, the government was forced to introduce a series of legislative amendments aimed at tightening control over the industry.
Among the innovations, we can name:
- prohibition on advertising of gambling services on TV, radio, and the Internet;
- reduction of digital betting limits to 5 pounds per day;
- restrictions on a monthly deposit (up to 100 pounds);
- prohibition on playing with credit funds;
- age limit increase for lottery participants from 16 to 18 years old.
Another reform that has not yet entered into force but is actively discussed by the British government is the limit on sponsorship programs. If the legislative amendment is passed, gambling brands will not be able to display their logos on the uniforms of local sports teams.
The UK casino industry is one of the most reliable, transparent, and competitive business markets in the world. The sector has been considered a powerful financial instrument for more than 15 years, annually bringing about 15,7 billion euros to the country's public treasury.
- The local regulator grants licences for all types of games and related activities. In the UK, you can not only obtain a permit to organise a land-based or digital casino but also undergo the certification process and receive a permit for croupiers, pit bosses, and other full-time specialists.
- 32% of the total market turnover is accounted for by the local online industry. It has been legal to buy a turnkey digital casino with a UK license since 2016. The regulator guarantees a transparent legal structure and a fixed tax rate.
- Since 2020, the government has introduced new rules for working in the industry. Now, entrepreneurs cannot advertise casinos and organise promotions for VIP clients. Moreover, they were ordered to lower daily betting limits and raise the age for lottery participants from 16 to 18 years old.
Our experts will be glad to help you with the preparation of documentation, provide support during the registration of the legal entity, and guarantee prompt assistance in resolving any organisational issues.
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