National Gambling Helpline Freephone 0808 8020 133 8am-midnight 7 days a week

How is gambling regulated?

The UK gambling industry offers diverse forms of gambling to the public including casino games, sports-betting, bingo and gaming machines. All these are available on the high street and online from operators who hold the necessary licences issued by the Gambling Commission and local authorities. You are advised to check on an operator's website which of its products is licensed and by whom, and whether you are satisfied from a review of the regulator's site that you will be adequately protected if you play.

For information about the Gambling Commission, the regulators of the British gambling industry, please go to www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk.

Some more financial market-based products (such as 'contracts for difference') are not licensed by the Gambling Commission, and may be licensed by the Financial Conduct Authority (www.fca.org.uk) or even by foreign regulators (in the case of some binary options).

Legal Ages

As a general rule, the minimum legal age for gambling in the UK is 18 years old. This applies to adult gaming centres, betting shops, bingo halls, casinos, racetracks and online gambling. The exceptions to this are the National Lottery, lotteries and football pools – you’re allowed to take part in these from the age of 16 as well as some non-commercial gambling, or low stakes and prizes gambling.  However, some gaming machines, such as coin pushers, teddy grabbers and some lower stakes fruit machines in family entertainment centres and amusement arcades don’t have a minimum legal age and are open to anyone.  Note that a person who is over the age of 16 and under 18 who participates in gambling (not permitted under these exemptions) is also guilty of a criminal offence. 

Responsible Advertising

The industry code for socially responsible advertising can be found here. More information about the code, including details about how to make a complaint about an advert, can be found here.  Adverts should usually include a link to our website.

Social Gaming

Currently in the UK games that do not enable you to win anything in money or money's worth fall outside regulation. However the worldwide popularity of some of these games which are constructed be highly interactive, sociable and compelling (particularly where they bear a resemblance to play for real casino games), may ultimately prompt regulators in the UK and elsewhere to regulate.

Complaining about Gambling

GambleAware does not deal with complaints about gambling. Find out more about how to complain here.

For help, support and advice about problem gambling please contact the National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133 or via the NetLine.

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