Solicitors.guru in cooperation with CasinoValley online casino experts analysed some of the critical UK Gambling Laws, as well as the list of the very best legal online casinos in the UK.
With so many generous bonuses and promotions on offer to choose from, including no deposit options, how can you be sure that you have picked the right one? Most importantly, you should choose a legal and fully licensed UK online casino.
The requirements of the UK Gambling Commission were also taken into consideration in this analysis. As a result, we present you this list which should answer the million-dollar question - what is the best online casino in the UK?
The greatest difference between real-world and online casino is that they can offer rewards in the form of bonuses and promotional play. These particular bonuses and promotions allow you to earn free money and credits. Essentially, you receive free money just to start playing. This is why you may hear the phrase “online casino no deposit” thrown around quite often.
“The fact that a taxpayer has a system by which they place their bets, or that they are sufficiently successful to earn a living by gambling does not make their activities a trade.”
In recent years, there has been a rise in new online casinos, with many of them being UK-based. This is fantastic news to us Brits, of course, but how can you know for sure that your chosen online casino is legal? You have to be careful as more and more illegal online betting services appear.
UKGC ensures the ethical running of the gambling industry.
Gambling within the UK has several benefits, with the key being the safety and security of your deposit. This is thanks to dedicated government bodies working within the UK, who ensure the ethical running of the UK gambling industry. This very body requires all companies that operate online casinos within the UK to receive a licence in the country.
The UK’s online gambling licensing model is known as one of the highest quality models in the world. Set by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), rules and regulations were created in order to effectively police online gambling. This very model allows gambling within the UK to guarantee you the ultimate protection against unfair treatment from an online casino or any other gambling operator.
The UKGC is an official body, created under The Gambling Act of 2006. The commission works to ensure there are no links between crime and gambling. It includes ensuring that gambling is conducted fairly. This has many advantages, but the most important by far is that your money is protected. UK online casino must explain within their terms and conditions whether your funds are protected, along with what kind of protection is in place. In addition, every online casino is obligated to keep customer money within a separate account.
All online gambling operators in the UK are subject to consistent regulations
Operators must use software supplied by a company holding valid UKGC licence
Operators must comply with the Commission’s technical standards
It is required to segregate customer funds and clearly disclose how their funds are protected
Operators must promote Social Responsibility, protect children and combat problem gambling
Operators must adhere to anti-money laundering policies and practices
Another fantastic service the UKGC provide is the governance of licencing procedures for gambling sites located within the UK. This applies to any business looking to start offline or online gambling, including UK online casino. The commission achieves this by charging an annual fee to licence holders to ensure the validity of their licences.
In an evolving world of growing cybersecurity threat and vulnerabilities, the UKGC has also begun to introduce several regulations and safety measures to protect players. New standards ensure that each and every UK online casino follow the Data Protection and Cyber Security Standards before they are issued a licence. This is perfect because it means you can be assured your deposit is safe from hackers and online threats.
In addition to all of this, the UKGC also reviews online casino software and policies. This means any player with a dispute against an online casino can hold the site accountable. Any offshore sites operating without a UKGC-issued licence are doing so illegally. This has the potential to result in seizures and criminal charges. Sites not licensed within the UK often operate illegally in other countries, increasing potential legal action and putting player funds at risk. As an online casino user, you can trust the UK Gambling Commission. Their standards revolve around the protection of player funds and player protection.
Online gaming operators must comply with the regulations set by the UKGC. Otherwise, their licence is revoked, with the company then facing investigation and/or prosecution.
All leading online casinos are licensed by the UK Gambling Commission, including 888casino, Betway, and Dunder.
Winnings are tax-free in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Gambling taxes can result in winners quickly becoming losers if they do not pay their duties. For instance, winnings in Las Vegas, USA, are liable to a federal withholding tax.
With this in mind, what are the taxation rules for gambling winnings within the UK? Are winnings from the UK online casino taxed?
It may be hard to believe, but online casino gambling winnings are in fact tax-free for players in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. This has been the law as of 2001, thanks to the budget reform of that year by the UK Government. Prior to this, there was a Betting Duty which implied a 6.75% tax on all gambling winnings. The abolishment of these taxations erased concerns about the possibility of the UK losing revenue and jobs to offshore gambling sites.
“This is a bold and enlightened decision by the Government and great news for the betting and racing industries and for our customers.”
Of course, this move paid off, with legal online casinos now enjoying high levels of popularity within the UK. Taxation within the gambling industry is handled by online casinos within the UK, not their players. The current law states that offline and online gambling agencies must pay the UK Government a 15% tax levy. This hefty sum helps the Government taxation body, HMRC, pull in £2.7 billion annually from leading UK gambling bodies.
Gambling winnings are tax-free in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales
Before 2001 all gambling winnings were taxed at a rate of 6.75%
You don’t have to pay any tax even if you are a professional gambler
All offline and online gambling agencies must pay the UK Government a 15% tax levy
HMRC pulls in £2.7 billion in taxes from gambling bodies annually
Whether you’re a total novice or an expert, you will be pleased to know that HM Revenue and Customs do not distinguish between casual and professional gamblers. Within the UK, gambling is not recognised as a trade. This means you are able to keep whatever you win from an online casino, regardless of the amount. For those who do professionally gamble, there are a couple of benefits to keeping a performance log of your winnings. It’s smart to keep track of your spending, wins, and losses while gambling. Not only can it help you be aware of your gambling, but you can easily calculate how much profit you’ve made after you factor in your losses.
For some, gambling is a sole and main source of income. There is nothing illegal about this whatsoever, however, it can raise suspicion from banks and authoritative bodies when large financial deposits appear suddenly in your bank account. For this reason, it is useful to keep ample proof that you are not receiving income from taxable sources.
The current online casino taxation regulations within the UK make it an excellent place to gamble.
Other countries are not as lucky, with gambling winnings being as taxable as income from a full-time job. Spain, for instance, does not claim to have tax fees. However, all gambling winnings are required to be reported as income, which allows them to be taxed.
With this fantastic information, you can sleep easy knowing any potentially life-changing wins are all yours. Even better, it is unlikely these laws will change any time soon considering the current model of the UK taxation system.
Online casinos offer many deposit and withdrawal options.
It is perfectly normal to feel apprehensive towards sharing your bank details online. In today’s world, it is a well-known fact that unsecured sites open up potential threats for malicious hackers to seize your information. For newcomers to the internet and the world of online casinos, one of the biggest fears is the submission of personal bank details. Security, hidden fees and ease of use can induce fears that stop many from accessing the online casino. For this very reason, legal online casinos within the UK now offer many deposit and withdrawal options. All of these options are quick, secure and simple. So what are the most popular payment methods in UK online casinos?
Debit Cards (Visa, Visa Electron, Mastercard, Maestro)
Credit Cards (Visa, Mastercard, AMEX)
e-Wallets (PayPal, Neteller, Skrill)
Let’s discuss each method in more detail.
A common method used to connect your current account to your online casino betting account is debit and credit cards. Debit cards are dynamically linked to your registered bank current account. This allows instant transactions with no additional fees to make deposits. VISA, VISA Electron, MasterCard, and Maestro are the key top debit card providers.
Credit cards, however, can have additional charges for many online casinos. The reason being, funds transferred from your credit card are effectively borrowed from the online casino. The money is not yours, and can, therefore, incur small charge fees for their use. Common credit card providers include VISA, MasterCard, Maestro, American Express and Discover.
e-Wallets, such as PayPal, is a common method of deposit due to the extra layer of security they provide. e-Wallets combine elements of both prepaid cards and instant payment services. The exact method varies between providers, but e-Wallets mean the provider will simply debit your account and pay on your behalf. Such providers include their own protection policies and fees.
There are offline methods of getting your funds to an online casino too, for those who are still skeptical of submitting their bank information online. Bank Wire allows you to use an online casino’s account details to transfer funds within a branch or via online banking. These funds are not instant and can take up to three working days to clear.
Instant Bank Transfer is another simple method used to transfer cash to an online casino. Simply visit a branch or utilize online banking features for a simple and quick transfer.
Believe it or not, it is also possible to write a cheque to the stated address of an online casino in order to pay any required fees or deposits. This can take several days for UK postcodes, as well as three days for the cheque to clear.
An alternative for those who prefer to speak to a person rather than conduct a faceless transaction is paying by phone bill. Many online casinos have a pay-by-phone bill deposit feature. This payment system is efficient as well as being highly secure.
As for the future, online casinos are always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to make their customer payment processes easier. With Bitcoin becoming a continually relevant topic, new online casinos are currently considering Bitcoin customer payment options. You can find out if your online casino of choice accepts Bitcoin as a method of payment by visiting their website.
One of the best-regulated gambling models in the world.
Online casino industry and gambling account for 35% of all betting activity. Because of this, the UK Government actively oversees the gambling industry to ensure legality. The Gambling Act of 2005 ensured the regulation and correct licensing for all forms of gambling. This act included the regulation that if you reside within the UK, you are legally permitted to participate in legal online casinos. As a UK resident, you can be completely assured that you are entrusting your money to one of the safest and best-regulated gambling models. There are strict sanctions in place to ensure all gambling operators abide by legal regulations. Failure to do so opening them up to large potential fines and prosecutions.
You must always be aware that gambling within the UK is legal for residents aged 18 or over. This includes gambling within UK online casinos. You should ensure that the online casino you choose to gamble with is licensed by the UKGC, this is your obligation as a user. If you feel as though you are being treated unfairly by a UK online casino, THE UKGC offer 11 Alternative Dispute Resolution providers, all of which have their approval.
Online casino industry and gambling account for 35% of all betting activity
UK has one of the safest and best-regulated gambling models in the world
UKGC regulates all commercial gambling in the country
You have to be aged 18 or over to gamble in the UK
UKGC has a whitelist of approved gambling commissions
There are 11 Alternative Dispute Resolution providers that can help you if you were treated unfairly]
The highly developed UK gambling model requires online casinos to abide by a number of rules and regulations each referenced within UK Gambling Law. The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) was established with the very purpose of regulating all commercial gambling. This includes online casinos within the UK. All operators offering gambling services online must hold a valid licence from the UKGC in order for their operation to be legal. They are then obligated to display the details of the licence clearly within their premises and on their website.
At times, an online casino may refer to another gambling commission and licence authority as being responsible for their licence. This is because some gambling jurisdictions have been approved on a dedicated whitelist by the UKGC. This means operators licensed by whitelisted jurisdictions are permitted to offer gambling services and advertise on the UK market. The full whitelist of approved gambling commissions can be found on the UKGC website.
Should an online casino be discovered to be non-compliant with the UKGC regulations, they may potentially be fined or prosecuted. Sanctions vary depending on the scale of non- compliance. For example, in March 2018, Skybet were issued a £1m penalty package for failing to protect vulnerable consumers. 36,748 self-excluded customers did not have their account balance funds returned to them on account closure. This serious failure highlighted the importance of compliance, along with the power of the UKGC.
UK Gambling Law has been created and structured to protect you, the consumer. Your safety and security is always most important in the eyes of the law, not your money.
With all that information in mind, let’s take a look at the best online casinos within the UK.
Before Vegas Luck, there was BGO. Yes, that’s the one with Paris Hilton’s face.
Sometimes less is more, and this online casino seems to have adopted this policy when it picked its banking options. You’ll find all the classics nonetheless, with average processing times. Some methods involve fees, so choose wisely.
Behind this online casino is BGO Entertainment, licenced and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission and Alderney Gambling Control Commission.
The online casino uses Comodo and TLS protocol. The terms and conditions in the footer are a bit much, but at least they’re easy to find. We can’t say the same about the theoretical return to player though.
You either love or despise behavioural advertising. Personally, we think cookies make the world a better place and candidly, an online casino cannot hope to replicate the personalised service of a physical location without a little tracking. BGO uses its data for gamification, bespoke offers and personalised recommendations.
The Alderney-based site covers its basics when it comes to software providers. You’ll find the biggest hits from IGT, Playtech, NextGen Gaming and more. Table players and fans of the live casino will also be served. Some games may be more reliable when played from the app rather than directly from your mobile browser.
Customer service recently added a phone number with calls charged at standard rates. Live chat and online forms are other options but in any case, night owls and international players may not like the 01:00 to 07:30 downtime.
Despite some growing pains and a bit of a confusing name, Vegas Luck is a promising, forward-thinking newcomer with a hint of Irish charm.
This brand-new online casino accepts many different payment methods including, as you’d expect, Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Neteller and Skrill.
The online casino targets UK players and is regulated in Alderney.
The Irish inspired brand is BGO’s third child after their eponymous debut online casino and sister betting site PowerSpins. Although slightly improved, the recipe remains essentially the same: security, safety and courtesy.
The interface offers a smooth and consistent experience across platforms. The cashier is especially pleasing to use. A huge advantage a new online casino has is that it can afford to make bold design choices. Vegas Luck chose to integrate only HTML5 games to ensure players could access the same titles regardless of the device used.
Thanks to Playtech’s platform and partnerships with the likes of Netent and Microgaming, the online casino’s portfolio still launched with over 325 slots, table games and instant wins.
Time will tell if the online casino’s Diamond reward system turns out as exciting as advertised, but our hopes are high. Truthfully, the only area that’s somewhat disappointing is the lack of 24/7 customer service. Withdrawal approval times can vary as well, which we’re hoping will self-correct as the brand matures.
With a name such as Rolla and a promise to be the fastest paying online casino in the industry, this new Malta-based brand should delight high rollers looking for a tailor-made experience.
A plethora of banking options are available at this online casino, although no cryptocurrencies yet. The betting site claims process times remain below three bank days regardless. Okay, that’s fast. But the fastest?
Licensed and regulated in the UK, Curacao, and Malta, these guys take fair gaming seriously. Most legal online casinos can’t show that many stamps of approval.
Like most new online casinos, Rolla uses SSL encryption to protect payers’ data. Having so many licences also means a regulated random number generator (RNG) and strict privacy policies.
MT SecureTrade, the group behind the brand, partnered with Gaming Innovation Group to build its online casino. GiG has been taking the industry by storm in the past few years thanks to its inventive and off the beaten tracks approach to software development and user experience. Here again, personalisation is everywhere, with a clever reward system and daily “missions” to add to the excitement.
Over 500 games from 15 providers including MicroGaming, Playtech, Evolution Gaming and NetEnt ensure there’s something to please everyone. You might even discover up-and-coming game makers you had never heard of, and that is part of what makes this online casino such a trailblazer.
Customer service is available 24/7, as you’d expect from a betting site claiming to accept players from all around the world.
Operating since 2006, Betway is a safe choice for those looking for a wide selection of entertainment products under one roof. This renown betting site is available in no less than a dozen languages.
Generally speaking, eWallets, direct deposit, and credit cards are accepted at this online casino, but players beware, not all of these options are available for both deposits and withdrawals.
The online casino belongs to Betway Limited, a Maltese company licenced in the UK by the Gambling Commission and in Malta by its national Gaming Authority.
This betting site takes regulations seriously. If you’re like us and you like cookies, a page dedicated to privacy and security explains in layman terms how your data is collected, stored, used and shared. The online casino also complies with eCOGRA regulations.
The design has been kept simple, not to say unremarkable. Don’t get us wrong, we love simplicity, fast loading times and clean navigation, but if you like to play at an online casino with specific vibes matching your personality, you may have a hard time finding that here.
That said, with some of the finest online casino games available on the market, Betway covers its basics when it comes to slots, bingo, and table games. But where it really shines is in the sports and esports departments.
Support is available in an impressive list of languages and around the clock via live chat, telephone and email.
Imagine an online casino taking a page or two from the video games world, knocking down conventions and traditional expectations and you get Casumo. This humorous brand speaks the new online players' language and has a few cards up its virtual sleeve.
Starting with a traditional frame of reference, one place where the betting site chose (wisely) not to reinvent the wheel is its banking options. All the boxes are checked to ensure plenty of options for players, including credit cards and eWallets.
This online casino also has not one, but three active licences including the UK Gambling Commission, Malta Gaming Authority and the Alderney Gambling Control Commission.
The presence of a GeoTrust certificate combined with independent audits add credibility to balance out the light-hearted tone.
Moving on to the exciting part, the new online casino offers a welcoming interface, especially on mobile. It’s more web app than a traditional site. The fun begins as you start to collect points and reach new levels. In pure gamification fashion, your progress is displayed throughout the adventure and gratification comes in the form of “valuables” (think free spins, money).
Casumo attracted top providers to ensure their games are as fun as their lobby. Among them, let’s mention Williams, Microgaming, Quickspin and NetEnt.
Friendly live chat agents are there to help, but finding a telephone number is the equivalent of the Easter egg hunt in Ready Player One. If you know, you know.
888 is one of the oldest betting sites and online gambling groups around. Active since 1997, the Malta-based online casino still has a bit of a Matrix vibe going on, but don’t let that fool you; constant upgrades are made to ensure it meets the highest standards… as well as changing regulations.
All this industry experience comes with certain expectations, such as flawless banking, and in this area, the online casino does deliver. Expect a wide range of options, decent processing times.
888 Holdings and its online casinos are licensed and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission and the Government of Gibraltar.
When it comes to trust and security, the overabundance of logos from regulatory bodies sends a clear message: it’s trustworthy, secured and provably fair, rest assured.
One of the downsides of having been around for so long is that you have to please both your existing user base and attract newcomers at the same time. Remember your last Christmas party; the elders deserve respect, but let’s face it, they won’t be around forever… This reality forces the designers to introduce changes and improvements more carefully than a new online casino would.
Players looking for their favourite slot could be disappointed as a lot of providers are not available here. Instead, the online casino makes a lot of its games itself, the rest coming from Netent, Playtech and Big Time Gaming. A live casino suite from Evolution Gaming offers a decent selection of live games.
Customer service? There is no live chat. Not even a phone. Use the self-help section.
2018 was the year of LeoVegas. The Stockholm-based online casino was crowned industry king and recognised for its innovative mobile experience and clever marketing campaigns. Expect the best of Swedish technology, brought to your device on your terms.
If you already own an eWallet, chances are you will receive your funds within 24 hours. Debit cards, credit cards, and bank transfers can take up to five days.
While its development is based in Sweden, the business is conducted out of sunny Malta. The island’s Gaming Authority granted the online casino a licence, and since good things come in threes, LeoVegas also owns the UK and a Danish licence.
The online casino uses Digicert to keep your sensitive data safe.
Mobile is where the platform really shines. It may seem trivial, but by placing shortcuts at the bottom of the screen and having their main menu open to the left, the design team showed they consider device, context, and users when building an online casino. Try it, you’ll see what we mean.
The sports book is somewhat limited, but its attractive interface remains worth a try. On the other hand, the online casino offers a massive selection. Over 600 games fiercely compete for your attention. With three different live casino providers and no less than 25 game providers, you may want to use the search box.
And if you really can’t find it, live chat will help 24/7. The FAQ section is neatly organised and searchable as well. Phone and email are also valid options.
A year before launching Casimba, Caddell Limited gave us The Grand Ivy. With its Gatsby-inspired theme, this new online casino will make you feel like a VIP before you even register.
Once you do though, you can choose between bank transfer, credit card and eWallets for your banking.
In the legal department, there are legal online casinos, and then there’s The Grand Ivy. This site wins the most licenced and regulated award in this list with four different licences from Malta, Curacao, the UK, and Sweden.
On the plus side, so much regulation means fairness audits, trusted software providers and of course bulletproof encryption.
A clever system involving SMS codes allows for seamless integration between desktop and mobile experience. Players can pick up right where they left off. The registration form, live chat, and other software integration have been carefully thought through and contribute to a smooth online casino experience. The mobile homepage could be a bit more appealing though.
All of these efforts to create an elegant and cosy feel would be wasted if the games did not live up to the hype. Fortunately, the online casino partnered with some of the finest providers on the market, including Betsoft, Aristocrat, NetEnt and Microgaming.
Customer service also doesn’t disappoint with a VIP-like, 24/7 service. As to actual VIPs, they do get treated even better with exclusive deals and personalised rewards.
Who doesn’t like pandas? Despite a somewhat cheesy tone, this online casino radiates good vibes.
This online casino ticks all of the banking boxes, yet available options and processing times vary considerably depending on the selected method. Between one and five days, that’s some volatility right there, and not where you want it.
Like many other legal online casinos on this list, this one owns both the MGA and the UKGC licences.
Royal Panda online casino encrypts all transactions using Comodo SSL. A Privacy and Cookie notice page even explains in details how your data is used and why.
Experience-wise, the same group behind award-winning LeoVegas purchased Royal Panda in 2017, so we expected to see the Stockholm-based geniuses work their magic on the design and experience currently offered. It has yet to happen, but since they were busy winning awards and all, we shall let bygones be bygones.
We wouldn’t be surprised if the reason behind the acquisition was to get hold of the proprietary IP behind this online casino, as well as strengthen the group’s position within the UK and regulated markets. Royal Panda runs its own software, and its recently launched sports book seems considerably more robust. You’ll find video slots, table games, live games and progressive slots from fan favourites such as Microgaming and NetEnt.
There is an old school live chat, but do not expect an answer 24/7. Phone support will have you call a +356 number, here again, only during opening hours.
It’s as cheesy and festive as that last holiday you spent at an all-inclusive resort, and maybe that’s the point. Truth is we’re not sure. If you miss the good old days and love to show off your tan lines when January hits, you’ve just found your new online casino.
Payment options abound and processing times are usually quick, once your transaction is approved, which can take two to three days.
Karamba’s online casino is licensed by the Malta and the UK Gambling Commission.
SSL encryption is used to protect players’ transactions at this online casino.
Fun fact: the site crashed while we were reviewing it. That will happen with shiny animated sites; it may look cool at first, but sometimes the more intricate, the less efficient. All the heavy lifting required to load those high-quality images and animations seems to slow down loading time, and patience is a virtue that’s not given to everybody.
There seems to be a tendency for new online casinos to integrate a vast number of game providers. We are indeed in the platform era, but whether this tactic can prevent players from going elsewhere remains to be seen. It’s less of a differentiating factor once everybody does it. Still, you will find the usual suspect. Lightning Games, Microgaming, NextGen and NeoGames among them.
The customer service team answers between 06:00 and 23:00 only, whether you try the live chat, email or phone. They claim they C.A.R.E. though.
If you’re the kind to enjoy virtual reality games from your living room or getting lost in a sci-fi book rather than chasing the nostalgia of long-lost destinations, this online casino might have what it takes to win you over.
If the name makes you a bit claustrophobic, worry not; this online casino is all about exploring. And on your way to far-off lands, you will need some solid banking options. Fortunately, Casino Room has you covered, with a range of popular methods available such as credit cards, eWallets and bank transfers.
This anti-Vegas online casino holds licences from Curacao, Malta, and the UK Gambling Commission.
Ellmount Gaming has been around for about 20 years, so you’re in good hands. Independent agents also guarantee the highest standards in SSL encryption and fair gaming, so you don’t need to take their word for it (or ours).
It’s unclear who came up with the idea of missions and challenges first in the online casino world, but considering the seniority of Casino Room, we wouldn’t be shocked if they were among the pioneers. Think of missions as side quests in adventure role-playing games. Successfully complete missions and you can unlock worlds, badges, trophies…
Fans of Yggdrasil, NetEnt and Microgaming will be served. And with over 800 games to choose from, the type of gamification added here provides dimension and possibilities, making every player experience personalized and unique. The online casino is available on iPhone, Android and tablets (you too, Kindle users) without any download necessary.
Casino Room covers all customer service options, 24/7.
We hope you have enjoyed this article and that it’s been helpful. Gambling within the UK can be a whirlwind of ups and downs. Be sure your information is safe and sound with your online casino of choice, always check they are approved by the UKGC. With any luck, we have given you a little help by showing the very best online casinos in the UK. Be sure to come back for more useful articles just like this one. See you soon, happy gaming!