Real Money Poker Online UK - United Kingdom

This page was written to help explain the various online gaming laws in the UK and to make it easy for real money players to find poker sites that are legal and fully licensed by the gambling commission. I have spoken to and confirmed with each of the poker rooms below that if they were not already licensed under the Gambling Act 2005 that they have or will be applying for a new license in order to comply with the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014.

Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 (c. 17)

Poker Player PrayingUpdate: On 10/10/14 a final judgment was issued in favor of the United Kingdom. Justice Green found that the new UK licensing regime that includes a point of consumption tax does not break EU law and is "neither disproportionate, nor discriminatory, nor is it irrational. The new measures "serve a series of legitimate objectives" and it was not irrational or unlawful for the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport or the Gambling Commission to reject the "passporting proposal" of the GBGA.

The final judgment is several pages long and very detailed. I am working my way through it now and will have a complete analysis soon. In the meantime, if you would like to read it yourself, I put a link to the full document below.

On 24/9/14 during a judicial review hearing, Justice Green stated he could come to a decision by 1 October but that the detailed reasons would have to follow on a later date. In lieu of this, the Secretary of State decided to delay the date that the new Act goes into force by one month (now 1 November) in order that the judgment could be completed.

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The Act in a Nutshell

The Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 amends the Gambling Act 2005 and requires that any remote (online) operator (poker room, casino, etc.) must obtain a license from the Gambling Commission if any of its customers are physically located in Britain when gambling facilities are used. In other words, the new licensing requirements are on a point of consumption (POC) basis rather than a point of supply basis. This means that any remote operator, no matter where they are located in the world, will need to apply for a license if they want to transact with or advertise to UK customers.

The new regime has been at the center of heated debates about the impact it will have on not only the online gambling industry but on the players themselves, including:

  • Offshore on–line service providers that are already regulated in their jurisdictions could be subject to duplicated or unnecessary regulation.
  • Any online operator that transacts with or advertises to UK customers is subject to license and application fees and a 15% tax on profits.
  • The fear that legitimate remote operators will not be able to compete with unlicensed and unregulated companies (betting odds, payouts, poker rake, player rewards, etc.) thus creating a grey market and putting players even more at risk.
  • Additional burden and overhead for overseas operators that will now be required to separate UK player data from other player data when completing regulatory returns or software compliance.
  • All licensed operators must have an address in the United Kingdom in order to receive documents from the Gambling Commission.
  • There are many more...

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