If you’d like to indulge in online casino games like poker in the UK, you can. Several online gambling sites accept players from the region, including online sportsbooks. According to the UKGC, online betting activities between April and September in 2020 accounted for £3.1bn of the total Gross Gambling Yield during that year.
With such impressive numbers during the pandemic period, it’s no wonder more players are signing up to these sites. However, UK players need to ensure they pick the right platforms to play. Just because you can access a casino doesn’t mean it meets the standards it should according to industry regulators within the region.
The Evolution of UK Online Gambling Laws
Legislation regarding gambling activities in the country has been around for decades. Thanks to the Betting and Gaming Act passed in 1960, thousands of land-based betting stores opened their doors to UK gamblers. But it started by supporting betting since casinos were only allowed to have around 20 gaming machines on the premises.
Eight years later, the Gaming Act, passed in 1968, allowed operators to build bigger casinos. That was then further strengthened by the 2005 Gambling Act, which also supported online gaming for residents.
But that was on condition that the sites would have licenses ensuring they adhere to strict regulatory measures. Unfortunately, the 2005 Gambling Act was managing uncharted ground. So, more gambling laws got passed in 2014 to make further clarifications. These are the laws currently in effect.
Licensing For Online Poker Rooms in The UK
Before you choose to play at an online poker room in the UK, ensure it meets the necessary standards set by UK gambling laws. The easiest way to check this is by looking at the regulator licensing the platforms. UK players can’t just play on platforms licensed by any regulator. However, a poker room regulated by the following bodies is a safe choice:
- The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC)
- Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner (GGC)
- Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission
- Alderney Gambling Control Commission
Why Choose a Licensed Platform?
There are several reasons why choosing licensed UK online poker rooms is recommended. Some of the more vital ones include:
Platforms licensed by these regulators have top-notch safety measures in place for the services they offer. For instance, any stored client data is kept safe with the use of firewalls. Additionally, all forms of communication, including transactions to and from the platform, get encrypted. That way, you don’t have to worry about security breaches that lead to your stored data getting stolen.
Since online casinos offer real money games, the games offered must be fair. With a licensed platform, you can rest assured that all virtual games have a Random Number Generator deciding the outcome of each round. So, no one can manipulate the games to favor themselves since all the game results get randomly determined.
Beyond that, fair gaming measures also ensure that the casino offers standard payout percentages on all games. These ranges get determined by the regulator through regular testing by independent auditors like eCOGRA.
Not all gaming sessions end well. Sometimes, you lose progress in your game, meaning you lose the winnings you’ve earned. Other times, the balance in your account doesn’t reflect the winnings you earned. Whatever the case, you should be able to receive assistance from the casino. On a licensed platform, if the casino doesn’t resolve the matter, you can contact the regulator instead.
They will conduct investigations to determine who between you and the casino are right about the situation. This is something you will not find on unlicensed gaming sites, making it easy for you to get cheated of your money, or worse.
Strict Privacy Measures
Casino gamers in the UK have to provide sensitive details to verify their accounts. Thanks to the laws set by regulators, you won’t need to worry about your information getting shared or sold to third parties. Add that to the security measures in place, and you can rest assured that your information is always safe.
Responsible Gaming Measures
To help curb gambling addictions, regulators insist that all licensed platforms have responsible gaming measures in place. These include self-exclusion, cool-off periods, and deposit limit-setting practices, among others. That way, players that feel they may have issues with managing their gambling limits can get assistance.
Accessing Online Poker Rooms
Once you know how to look for the right poker sites, all that’s left is to find one you like. There are plenty of legit platforms you can play poker at in the UK. What you choose depends on the gaming variety and experience you seek. Here are a few examples of UK-friendly sites to get started at:
- Ladbrokes – which hosts some of the best international poker tournaments
- Genesis – for mobile players that don’t want to bother with any app downloads
- GGPoker – if you’re new to poker gaming, this is a great site to learn the ropes
- William Hill – which has an exceptional app for mobile players
- 888Poker – here, you’ll get an all-rounded experience with all things poker in the UK