UK Online Casinos
This page is intended to be a complete guide to UK online casinos. If you’re from the United Kingdom, and you want to gamble online, this is the page to find the details about which sites will best take care of you.
Considerable amounts of research have gone into the writing and publishing of this page. Not only has our team of researchers accounted for player reviews and forum reputations for the casinos listed here, but they’ve also played at these properties with their own money.
No guide to online casinos in the UK would be complete without addressing some of the legal issues related to playing games for money in the country. This page provides observations about that, too, but none of those observations or guidelines are more important than this one:
Don’t gamble at an online casino from the UK if you’re under 18.
I’ll start the coverage on this page with capsule reviews of the best 5 casinos for United Kingdom gamblers, and I’ll follow that up with details about the legalities and cultural status of internet gambling in England.
Capsule Reviews of the Top 5 UK Online Casinos
After reviewing and researching dozens of online casinos that cater to UK gamblers, we’ve compiled the following list of our best 5 choices for gambling sites. The criteria used to create this list include the following:
- Does the casino cater to UK gamblers? Obviously the site in question must accept real money play from gamblers in England to qualify for this list. But the sites must also offer appropriate currency for UK customers. This means that the sites must be willing to handle deposits and withdrawals in crowns sterling (GBP, or £).
- Does the site offer a good variety of games? Once upon a time, online casinos used a single software provider and a limited number of games to choose from. That trend has changed in recent years, and legitimate UK casinos usually offer a wide variety of games from multiple providers. Table games like blackjack and roulette are popular with UK gamblers, so casinos with live dealer games via webcam earn extra points.
- What kind of customer service is available? It goes without saying that customer service is more important in the online gambling industry than most, but what does that mean? Among other things, when you’re dealing with a company on the internet, you should be able to contact someone at the company 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Having multiple means of communicating with the casino earns extra points, too.
- What kinds of deposit and withdrawal methods are available? Most UK gamblers probably just use a credit card to deposit money into their casino accounts. But some gamblers prefer to use their bank account or an e-wallet of some kind. The more options that are available, the better.
- What kinds of cashout times does the casino offer? It’s important that when you win at any internet gambling site that you be able to process your winnings quickly and easily. You’re more likely to encounter a casino that delays your withdrawal requests than you are to find a casino that doesn’t have random games. The best UK casinos are also the ones with the most freedom related to payouts.
With all that being said, here’s a list of the 5 best online casinos for UK gamblers:
1- Mr Green – Mr Green offers a 100% signup bonus worth up to £100. They also offer a huge selection of casino games, including at least a dozen (maybe more) software providers. My favorite selling point for Mr Green, though, is the huge withdrawal limit of £10,000, which is exponentially better than what you’ll find at most of the competition.
Besides the £100 signup bonus, you also get 200 free spins on their online fruit machine games — just for signing up. Besides casino games, Mr Green also offers sports betting. Mr Green online casino software providers include Microgaming, NetEnt, QuickSpin, Thunderkick, IGT and others.
2- Bet365 Casino – For UK gamblers, Bet365 is any easy choice for out top 5 online casinos UK list. The signup bonus isn’t huge, but it doesn’t have the same wagering requirements that you’ll find at most online casinos — wagering requirements which are absurd, most of the time. Visit Bet365’s website to see their current bonus codes and promotional offers. Bonus T&C’s apply.
One of Bet365’s other biggest selling points is the wide variety of games from multiple providers that they have. They’ve been in continuous business since 2000, so they’ve had time to work out the kinks in their business practices.
And you can play poker and bet on sports at Bet365, too.
3- 888Casino – The standard welcome signup bonus on this list is the £100 bonus available on your first deposit. There is also a £10 free bet bonus available with no deposit required. 888Casino is an all-in-one casino, which means you can also find multiplayer poker games and sports betting on their site. They do, though, offer 3D fruit machine games from multiple software companies, including probably my favorite online casino software provider NetEnt. 888 is fully licensed by the UK Gambling Commission.
4- Betway – The typical 100% signup bonus available in the UK is aimed specifically at fruit machine players. Betway offers a £100 welcome bonus to new fruit machine players along with 50 free spins. Like 888 and Mr Green, Betway is licensed by the UK Gaming Commission. Betway is known for their quick turnaround times on withdrawals. But they also offer live dealer games for the blackjack and roulette fans in their UK customer base. Online sports betting is also available on Betway’s sportsbook.
5- Yukon Gold Casino – The signup bonus of 100% up to $ £300 is reasonable, and they don’t have any progressive jackpot games, but Yukon Gold Casino offers other perks. For one thing, they have a wide selection of mobile games. For another, customer service is available any time day or night via the live chat function on their website. They specialize exclusively in traditional games, and they don’t offer poker or sports betting.
UK Online Gambling Laws
Online gambling represents a significant percentage of the UK economy. It’s right up there with the banking and retail businesses. Most citizens of the United Kingdom gamble in some form or another.
Sports betting is one of the biggest niches in the industry, and England is home to some of the biggest bookmaking operations in the world. Some of these companies have been in business for decades, and many of them pre-date the internet. Government regulation of this kind of online gambling is strict.
This is, of course, good for consumers. Strictly regulated businesses are less likely to abscond with your money.
What are the basics of UK online gambling laws as they pertain to casino players, though?
The first question most people ask is what the legal gambling age is. If you’re under 18, you’re not allowed to gamble legally in the UK, and online casinos take strict measures to prevent minors from gambling. If you’re 18 or older, though, you’re legally old enough to place bets online.
The second question most people are interested in is what kind of taxes they need to pay on internet gambling winnings.
Here’s the good news:
The UK doesn’t tax gambling winnings at all.
And the best thing about UK gambling laws is that they’re specific on these matters.
Some Historical Context
I can only think of two cultures where gambling is more important culturally than it is in the United Kingdom. (Australia and Asia). All kinds of wagers are commonplace in the United Kingdom and have been for years, but the most popular of these are lottery-style games and sports betting.
Casino style gambling is also hugely popular, and web-based gambling accounts for more than a third of the industry now. If you want to offer casinos games for real money on the internet and accept players from the UK, you must be licensed by the UK Gambling Commission.
That entity — the UK Gambling Commission — is a relatively recently-formed body, though. Prior to the legislation that created this body, various laws affected online gambling. The purpose of this section is to provide some historical context for the current state of online gambling in the country.
The Betting and Gambling Act of 1960
One of the more relevant laws on the books was The Betting and Gambling Act of 1960, which allowed UK bingo halls to start operating in the country. In the year after that law was passed, over 10,000 commercial bingo businesses opened their doors to the betting public.
These bingo halls also offered sports bets. In the United States, neighborhood bookies still take the lion’s share of action on sports, but in the UK, those people went out of business with the legalization and regulation of the business. And the UK government didn’t make licenses for this kind of business affordable enough for the average neighborhood bookmaker to get involved in it.
The Gaming Act of 1968
It’s important to look at the role of the Gaming Act of 1968 when discussing UK casino laws, too. This was the piece of legislation that dictated what was legal or not when it came to building commercial casinos. At the time, this mostly had to do with how table games must be conducted.
The Betting and Gaming Duties Act of 1981
The UK clarified The Gaming Act of 1968 with The Betting and Gaming Duties Act of 1981. This law is of particular interest to students of online casinos because it contained regulations related to how offshore gambling services could advertise in the United Kingdom.
Of course, this was prior to the internet, but one of the most important legal issues facing internet users is how other countries are allowed to advertise to residents of a country.
The Gambling Act of 2005
The Gambling Act of 2005 is the law most relevant to readers interested in UK online casinos. This is the legislation that decides how licensing and regulation specifically handles ALL types of gambling in the United Kingdom — including online casinos.
The goal of this law is to maintain the European Union’s favorable attitude toward gambling while also allowing for appropriate regulation of online gambling. Their main goal is to allow unfettered access to gambling throughout the country but without the social problems that often come along with that:
- Underage gambling
For our purposes, the most important aspect of this law is that it created the UK Gambling Commission. If you want to offer real money wagers of ANY kind to someone in the UK, you must have a license from the UK Gambling Commission.
This law also makes it explicitly clear that you can bet on anything you want online, legally. This includes any and all casino games, including baccarat, blackjack, craps, fruit machines, roulette, and video poker.
It also allows UK residents to set up gambling services of their own, for charitable or business purposes.
The Gambling Licensing and Advertising Act of 2014
The Gambling Licensing and Advertising Act of 2014 clarified that any company which wanted to advertise its online gambling services to UK citizens must get a license from the UK Gambling Commission, regardless of where their company is located.
In other words, even if you’re running a site in another country, if you want to advertise to UK citizens, you must be licensed in the UK.
What Does All This Mean for the UK Online Casino Gambler?
If you live in the United Kingdom and you’re 18 years old or older, it’s legal for you to play casino games on the internet. Also, you’re dealing with some of the most strictly regulated gambling businesses in the world. Online casinos in your part of the world are as safe as any other kind of business you might deal with.
From the perspective of the people offering these games, this high level of regulation might be onerous, but it’s great for the player.
Finally, you have one other big perk over gamblers in other countries. Your winnings aren’t considered taxable income in the UK. The online casinos here pay taxes, but you don’t.
That’s about as big a win as you could ask for.
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