United Kingdom

United Kingdom
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) was set up to regulate commercial gambling in the United Kingdom
Online gambling in the UK is regulated by the Gambling Act 2005. If a company provides remote gambling in the United Kingdom and any part of its remote gambling equipment is based in United Kingdom or advertises gambling to consumers in the United Kingdom, the same has to apply for a remote gaming licence from the UKGC. The UKGC regulate the following types of gambling:
  • arcades
  • betting
  • bingo
  • casinos
  • gaming machine providers
  • gambling software providers
  • lottery operators (excluding small society lotteries)
  • remote gambling (gambling done either online or by phone) that uses British-based equipment
  • The National Lottery
Gambling websites which trade or advertise to customers in Great Britain must have a Gambling Commission licence.
United Kingdom licence types
To operate in the UK you need to obtain a licence issued by the UKGC, and there are predominantly three types of licences you may need.

Your business may need all three depending on the way it operates:

  • an operating licence
  • a personal management licence
  • a personal functional licence
  • a premises licence is usually issued from the local licensing authority.

If you provide facilities for remote gambling (online or through other means), and advertise to consumers in Britain, you will need a licence from the Gambling Commission. 

Local licensing authorities also provide gambling permits for pubs, clubs and other establishments for low-level gambling. 

United Kingdom Administrative & Licence Fees

In the UK, an operator needs to pay an annual licence fee, and this is based on the type of licence.  Operators in possession of multiple licences may need to pay more than one fee. In addition, online gaming companies and any other operator offering gambling services in the UK and/or to UK customers (players) is due to pay one or more of the General Betting Duty (GBD), Pool Betting Duty (PBD) or Remote Gaming Duty (RGD) if it offers:

  • betting or gaming, or both, from outside the UK to gamblers in the UK – for example, over the internet
  • betting from a UK shop
  • spread betting from the UK

Wherever you’re based, if you offer remote gambling, other than spread betting, to a person who usually lives in the UK, you must pay one or more of these taxes. You must register, submit returns and pay any tax due in sterling.

If you supply remote gambling that is not spread betting to customers who do not usually live in the UK, you are not liable to these taxes on those transactions.

Spread betting is betting on the outcome of financial or non-financial fluctuations of an index.

General Betting Duty (GBD)

GBD is paid by bookmakers on the profits for:

  • general or pool bets on horse or dog racing, for bets placed in a UK betting shop or else by a UK person, whether in a betting shop or not.
  • spread bets, where a customer makes a bet with a bookmaker who’s in the UK
  • bets placed by a UK person through betting exchanges, no matter where the betting exchange is located

Pool Betting Duty (PBD)

PBD is paid by bookmakers on profits from bets that are not at fixed-odds and are not on horse or dog racing, whether the customer is present in a UK betting shop, or even if a UK person is playing on any other bookmaker, regardless of where the bookmaker is located.

Pool bets on horse or dog racing are liable to GBD.

Remote Gaming Duty (RGD)

In the UK, player winnings are not taxed, however remote gaming operators are obliged to pay a 15% Point of Consumption (POC) on all online activity. The RGD, also known as the Point of Consumption Tax (POC) was formally introduced in the UK by HMRC on December 1st 2014.  This was followed by a revised increase of 6 percentage points (pp) announced in the 2018 budget, which increased the RGD (or POC) to 21% as from 2019.  RGD is payable on all bets by UK customers (players) irrespective of where the online operator is located. 

Tax Rates

Tax is charged as a percentage of profits. Profits may be calculated as stakes received (from UK people where appropriate) less winnings paid out (to UK people where appropriate). 

GBD15% for fixed odds and totalisator bets
3% for financial spread bets
10% for all other spread bets
15% of the commission charges charged by betting exchanges to users who are UK people
RGD15% before 1 April 2019
21% on or after 1 April 2019

At IGA Group, we are committed to providing the best possible service to our clients, by using our wealth of experience and knowledge to maximise the potential of their business. We have years of experience in the gaming sector, both through previous employment with gaming companies, but also through software companies providing technical solutions and also through various consultancy engagements both at a strategic, operational and regulatory level.

Our expertise covers the whole spectrum of operator activities: legal, finance, operations, online gaming regulation, compliance, AML, technical, licensing, corporate, SEO, support, company formation, mergers and acquisitions and more.

Having assisted companies in obtaining gaming licences in Malta, UK, Romania and Curaçao, we pride ourselves for being one of Malta’s most experienced iGaming service providers.