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HomeLegal InsightOpinion & AnalysisHow Gaming Sites Get Licensed In The UK

How Gaming Sites Get Licensed In The UK

There’s an abundance of online gambling sites in the UK. All you need to do is turn on prime-time TV, and during the adverts, you’ll see plenty of big-budget adverts promoting anything from online casino sites, online slot sites, sports betting sites and even online bingo games.

Little do many people know to operate in the UK, these gambling sites need to be 100% licensed by the UK Gambling Commission. This page will look at how a gambling operator gets licenses, the cost and what it means for an operator to have one.

How Online Gambling Sites Get Licensed In The UK

As mentioned, if you so even want to think about operating online (and offline) gambling activities in the UK, you’ll need to be licensed by the UK Gambling Commission. The UK Gambling Commission regulates land-based arcades, betting, bingo, casinos, online slots providers, gambling software providers, lottery operators and remote gambling (online and by telephone) that offer their services to consumers in the UK.

Opening your doors to punters in the United Kingdom without a UKGC gambling license is highly illegal. Several offshore “illegal” operators target the UK search engines (these are often Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency casinos) but being caught comes with heavy consequences.

How To Apply For A UK Gambling Commission

So, how hard is it to get licensed? To provide gambling facilities and market gambling activities to Great Britain players, you must first be 18 or over to apply for a license. You can apply online or email the UK Gambling Commission. It takes about 16 weeks for them to process an operating licence application (provided all required information is provided at the point of application).

This is just the “easy” bit, though, because obtaining a UKGC license is a long and arduous process. It’s worth it if you are serious about starting up your own online casino or another type of gambling site. Still, it’s not a walk in the park, and it’s at this stage many would-be operators drop out in favour of targeting other, cheaper unregulated markets.

What You Need To Apply For A UKGC License

To apply, you will be asked many questions and requested to supply many documents to the UK Gambling Commission. Such documents required include:

  • Management structure
  • Group structure
  • Articles of association
  • Memorandum of association
  • Individual identity documents (If you are a Sole trader)
  • Bank statements for all accounts for the last six months
  • Business plan
  • Audited accounts
  • Profit & loss projections for next three years
  • Proof of funding
  • Credit report
  • Annual reports to regulators (All except sole trader if applicable)
  • Annual returns
  • Details of bonus/profit sharing schemes
  • Details of bonus/profit sharing schemes
  • List of individuals compensated over £200k in last 12 months

Once you’ve applied, you’ll need to pay an application fee. This fee is calculated on the activities you intend to target and the licence you need. Depending on the degree of your operation, prices vary from £5,000 to £100,000. You’ll need to pay the fee by bank transfer or credit/ debit card when you submit your application.

How Expensive Is Starting An Online Gambling Site?

Starting and successfully running an online gambling site is expensive, regardless of how you set it up. Paying a fee to obtain a license and also apply for a said license is just the start. It’s estimated that £5 million or more is needed to start and run a successful casino or gambling site. This cost will cover the gambling license application, casino set-up/ platform costs, hosting fees, game provider costs, staffing costs, a much-needed marketing budget and a wedge of cash to ensure that whilst players will lose; there needs to be enough of a budget buffer to cover those wins when they do happen.

What Makes a Gambling Operator Successful?

A successful casino/gambling brand’s goal is to develop a trust bond between customers and the casino. Trust will ultimately lead to loyalty, and loyalty will lead to triumph. Casino brands that earn trust will flourish because the experience is repeatable, which is what online casino customers look for.

Of course, other factors need to be considered, too. With a rapidly changing market, it’s imperative for online casinos to “keep up with the times” and offer the latest live dealer casino games, latest online slots or other types of gambling activities like sports betting and bingo. Competitive bonuses, gambling offers and promotions are also a must, which is also costly.

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