United Kingdom: Practical Online Gambling Guide

Are you getting started with online gambling in the UK and looking for proper navigation through a diversity of casinos, licenses, games, software, or simply — all the rules? No wonder! Online gambling in the UK is one of the most heavily regulated sectors on the international market. 

Much to the credit of the local UK regulators, though, all of the rules were put there for one single reason — to create a safe and secure online gambling environment for British players and to make sure that online lobbies are not taking advantage of their players.

If you try an international lobby first and then head to any of the UK-focused places to bet and win, you will notice many differences in services, banking, the selection of games, and promotions. We will talk in greater detail today about the reason that such differences exist. We will also cover the basics of spotting potentially rogue online operators, as well as answer many other burning questions. Namely,

  • What is UKGC and why do I need to care for its approval of a casino that I’ve selected?

  • Why are some of the games available in international lobbies eliminated from UKGC-licensed online casinos?

  • Which payment methods can I use to play online for real money?

  • Can I count on promotions, and what are the rules for using them?

For your convenience, we will divide this roadmap into sections and will answer the FAQ based on the main theme, be it banking, software, licensing, promotions, and more. 

Our Take on UK Gambling

Based on 100s of online operators for the Brits that we’ve reviewed, we can say that this market is very reliable. The UKGC makes sure that the operators that its licenses offer the best and most secure services. 

Plus, Britain is a hub for some of the best game developers. Therefore, Brits can count on diverse and premium content, which can be combined with the heftiest bonuses.

Our piece of advice would be to always select established and licensed online operators and to keep emotions in check whilst gambling real money.

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Licensing and Legality

Licensing of online operators was created specifically to take care of players. The question of safety and reliability is probably very high up on your agenda when choosing a platform. Well, there is a non-formal rating of permits, seeing which you can decide immediately whether you can or cannot trust a brand. 

For starters, the absence of a license is an immediate right flag. It means that if something goes wrong, you won’t have a third-party mediator to represent your interest and to hold a platform accountable.

The non-formal list of licensors has the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, the Malta Gaming Authority, the jurisdictions of Denmark, Sweden, Italy, and Belgium (among other European countries), as well as PAGCOR high on the list. Out of all these, it is the United Kingdom Gambling Commission that should concern the Brits.

UKGC stands for the United Kingdom Gambling Commission. The reason why it is a big deal in the online gambling industry is the fact that it is one of the most prestigious licensors with a crystal-clear reputation, a set of strict rules, and high standards that it stands by.

Any decent online operator that wants to cater to the Brits will need to apply for a UKGC license. It is not cheap. It is not easy. And a UKGC permit can be revoked by the commission any time during the duration of this permit, should the licensor find out that the casino violated the T&C.

Just an illustration of how much UKGC influences the industry: investigations several years ago revealed that online operators were allowing vulnerable groups of players to spend huge amounts of cash on gambling without expressing concerns that such sums can cause significant damage to players. The UKGC followed up with a requirement for online operators to hold mandatory verification processes, to be sure the clients are of the appropriate age, and to ban credit cards as means of payment in online casinos.

When choosing a new online operator, scroll down to the footer of the selected website. If you see UKGC’s seal there, it is definitely a sign of quality. We have a dedicated list of UKGC-authorized places to bet and win.

Our database has detailed reviews for more than 300 great UKGC-licensed places to wager with You will find lobbies focused solely on games, as well as multi-betting platforms. There will also be old and established brands as well as new and exciting platforms that are also reliable.

One of the websites that needs no additional introduction is Betway Casino. This is a location that exists online for more than a decade and offers 1,000s of games to its registered members. The collection covers slot machines, non-live table games, Sportsbook, exchange betting, Racebook, and more.

Another great casino that is also an award-winning one is 32Red Casino. Founded in 2002, it is powered by Microgaming and has all of the iconic slots machines, as well as a hefty welcome deal, lots of ongoing promotions, and a diverse loyalty program. The platform is instant and mobile-friendly.

Finally, before you let you explore the rest of the websites on the list, we can recommend William Hill Casino Online. A virtual lobby of an old and established land-based venue, William Hill operates online for decades now! It is powered by Playtech, and also has games from Microgaming, Inspired, Williams Interactive, and Net Entertainment.

UKGC is always a preferred licensor when it comes to online casinos for the United Kingdom but it is definitely not the sole option. As a UK player, you will most likely be excluded from visiting lobbies licensed for other European countries (unless an operator has a set of licenses, with UKGC’s seal added, too). But there are international regulators, such as Curacao, Cyprus, and a few others that can accept the Brits.

Are these necessarily unreliable websites? No, we’ve seen lots of cases of international platforms with Curacao permits being in the industry for years, successfully catering to diverse demographics, and collecting positive reviews online. Plus, if you are in the UK but would like to use, let’s say, cryptocurrencies, you will need to look for anything but UKGC-compliant websites as these will not allow BTC or its variations in the cashiers.

So, when looking for websites other than the ones authorized by UKGC, do a careful background check. See the reviews from the gambling portals and registered players. Many portals, including our partner LCB, have dedicated gambling forums where you can look for help and advice from fellow gamblers.

Also known as the Know Your Customer procedure, KYC is imperative in a UKGC-regulated lobby. Under the terms of the KYC, the platform will ask you to submit several additional documents proving your age and residence. These can include a bank statement, a recent utility bill, and/or a copy of an ID. 

While the procedure may seem intrusive and unnecessary, it also shows that an online operator does its part to comply with the requirements of its regulator and to provide the best services to its customers.

UKGC licenses not only online lobbies but also software. Those developers that did not apply for UKGC, will not be allowed in a UKGC-licensed lobby unless it also has permits from other jurisdictions. But even if it does, it will not necessarily be available to the Brits.

Banking and Payments

As of April 2020, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission prohibited credit cards as a payment method in online gaming lobbies. After conducting thorough research, the commissioners came to the conclusion that more than 22% of players that use credit cards can be classified as problem gamblers. And using credit cards for real money wagering puts them in a vulnerable position.

“We realize that this change will inconvenience those consumers who use credit cards responsibly but we are satisfied that reducing the risk of harm to other consumers means that action must be taken,” said Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive, in his official statement. The commissioner also added that while a ban goes into effect in 2020, the commission may re-evaluate the decision in the future. Much will depend on the unintended circumstances and several other factors.

A UK-friendly online operator will always accept GBP and it will allow bank transfers for cashouts. As for the deposits, players from the UK will be able to use PayPal, as well as popular e-wallets like Skrill, ecoPayz, and MuchBetter. Plus, prepaid vouchers like Paysafecard are also often an option.

Much will depend on a level of friendliness, or in other words — on the website’s license. If the platform has a permit from UKGC, then the answer is definite: you will not be able to use any forms of cryptocurrencies. 

If you are playing in an international lobby that has other permits and clearly states that it accepts players from the UK, then yes — you will be able to use crypto (given that a chosen cashier supports any of the digital currencies).

When it comes to players from the UK looking for the most reliable online gambling experience, the key question is not in the cryptocurrency itself but in a reputation of a select platform. If it checks all the safety boxes then using a digital currency is as safe as using any type of fiat cash. The only difference is crypto is more volatile.

If you are new to BTC or other digital currencies but would like to gamble, we have a detailed guide for beginners.

By the time we were ready to roll out this review, there were no free-of-registration legit casinos that we could have recommended. We know that such an option exists for certain European countries where players have access to Pay n Play. In the UK, however, there are currently no operators collaborating with similar payment methods that would allow players to instantly deposit and play (mind you that we are talking only about the legit and licensed providers).

Promotions and Bonuses

There are, in fact, free spins in UK-friendly online operators but the UKGC obliges to call such promotions casino spins or bonus spins. That way, it won’t be misleading for newbies to gambling that can mistake free spins for wager-free promotions.

Yes, absolutely! There is a diverse range of sign-up deals for players from the UK. The list of options will include no-deposit cash and spins, as well as a cash match deal on one or more deposits. Plus, there are package deals that combine cash and spins. Keep in mind that regardless of which of these you will be offered, they will all come with the rollover requirements.

Many gamers from the UK enjoy a sign-up deal at Betsson Casino. The platform offers a multi-deposit package that includes cash and bonus spins. The deal can be rolled over only on slot machines. The playthrough terms are 35xB.

Yes, there are platforms that have special deals for live games. You can adjust the search filters on the page of casino search to see what the current offers are. Keep in mind that in 99% of cases, bonuses that were designed for slots will not be compatible with live casino content.

Also known as the wagering or playthough requirements, this is a number of times that you will need to wager bonus money or bonus+deposited money (depending on the terms) to withdraw wins from the bonus. The rollover requirements will also come with the T&C. These will limit bets to certain maximums, exclude particular releases from the rollover terms, and clarify other rules of using bonuses. We always recommend reading the T&C carefully prior to claiming the bonuses.

Games and Software

We’d say that pretty much all the known betting content is available to Brits. Game-wise, it is slot machines, table games, live dealer content, scratch cards, and arcades that are on offer. Plus, platforms will often combine this selection of content with Sportsbook, racebook, poker rooms, exchange betting, and more.


If we are talking only about UKGC-supervised operators, you will see suppliers like Amatic, Microgaming, Net Entertainment, Stormcraft, Switch Studios, Williams Interactive, and Blueprint Gaming, to mention a few.

If you consider registering in international lobbies, you will find content from studios that will not make it to UKGC lobbies: Wazdan, Endorphina, SlotVision, Evoplay Entertainment, and more. The fact that these suppliers are not allowed in UKGC lobbies is not due to their poor quality of content but simply dues to the fact that they did not apply for the UKGC permit.

Evolution Gaming dominates the market, for sure. Its vast portfolios of live roulette, blackjack, baccarat, and table pokers, as well as game shows, will be listed on almost every website that you will visit.

Plus, Evolution Gaming’s content can be accompanied (or substituted) by live dealer portfolios of Playtech, Pragmatic Play, or Ezugi (the latter is compatible only with international lobbies).


Yes, plenty of the content catered to the UK players will be connected to progressive networks. If you are after big wins, look for online lobbies with unlimited weekly or monthly withdrawals. And even so, keep in mind that even the most liberal platforms can cap maximum cashouts to certain amounts and will pay jackpots in equal installments over a course of several months.

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