UK Online Casinos · Overview
The UK online casinos, as you can probably guess from the name, is the place where you can find all of the casinos that accept UK players. We know that it can be hard for UK players, especially due to the strict rules of the UK Gambling Commission. So it can be quite a conundrum for a UK player to find a decent casino house to bet in. The experts from Gamblers Connect already took the time to make a list just for that. We have carefully selected what we believe to be nothing but the best UK online casinos at the moment. As with every aspect, the same strict criteria are applied when it comes to choosing the right candidates for this list. With over a decade of experience in the gambling world, you are in good hands. The result: nothing but top-notch casinos, all thoroughly reviewed and graded for your comfort.
UK Casinos · Perks
If you ask us to point out something we dislike in this industry, we would probably say restrictions are one of those things. Choosing the right casino in the UK can be quite daunting, considering how much of regulated that market is. And the fact that there are quite a few top-notch casinos in the Kingdom just makes it more desirable. Furthermore, the UK gambling scene is rich with history, ever since the Gambling Act of 1845 which pretty much opened the doors towards legalizing all aspects of gambling. Gamblers Connect’s sole purpose is to do all the work for you. Our team of experts is on the constant look for new casinos, in addition to inspecting current ones. The goal is to provide you with the best-quality UK casinos that are currently out there. You just need to sit back and use the latest data about the best UK casinos to plan your strategy.
UK Casinos Introduction
When we are talking about the art of gambling and the United Kingdom, we can make a bold statement and say that we are talking about one of the biggest gaming markets in the entire industry. And this easily refers to both the realm of digital, and land-based casino gambling. Ever since the first land-based casinos in the 1800s, the population in the UK quickly grew fond of this type of entertainment, and as such it pretty much accepted it with its arms wide open.
And the same can be said about online casino gambling too, being that in 2022 the majority of Britons are far more fond of online casino gambling, than its land-based counterpart. Especially since the COVID-19 pandemic where the people were pretty much left with no other option other than making the switch to online gambling entertainment. Not only did this result in billions of revenue, but it also started a new era in the world of online gambling in the United Kingdom.
Just to show you what we mean, by the end of 2020, more than 32% of all Britons reported indulging in online gambling at least once a week. From here, more than 30% of UK citizens reported gambling at least once a month, and a whopping 23% of Britons reported playing at online gambling establishments at least two times each week. Regardless of whether it is online casinos or online sportsbooks, UK citizens are definitely one of the most dedicated players in the world.
History of UK Gambling
Similar to every other country on the planet, the beginning of online gambling in the UK can be traced back to 1994 and the creation of the first online casino by Microgaming, the Casino Room. Moreover, just one year later, in 1995, the first UK-based software and payments developer Cryptologic, opened its first offices in Dublin, Ireland. Consequently, not only did Cryptologic provide some of the earliest casino titles, but it also introduced the first advanced transaction system solution specifically created to satisfy the demand of online casino operators.
However, it wasn’t until the turn of the new Millennium in 2001, that the UK saw its biggest market expansion to date. Specifically, as technology progressed, so did the access of regular people to the internet increased. And it wasn’t long before the rising number of online casino operators started to capitalize on this new wave of digitalization. Eventually, in just a span of a couple of years, there were literally hundreds of online gambling establishments, operating in a business that was already worth billions of dollars.
And this is where the vast UK market started to shape into the gambling scene that we know today. The first thing that online casino operators in the UK decided to do was offer hefty bonuses in order to attract new players. This even inspired the creation of the first real loyalty programs in order to keep their existing players from switching houses. Moreover, they started to update their games and software on a weekly basis in order to provide the best possible entertainment, all in order to keep up with the latest technologies.
Not only did this shape the entire iGaming industry in the business that we know today, but it also spurred the creation of the fan-favourite progressive jackpots, the emergence of themed slots, as well as the creation of casino games with a multiplayer mode. All of this was done with the purpose of beating the competition, and consequently, attracting as many UK players as possible. Needless to say, all of this fierce competition in the 2000s is what eventually set the tone for the iGaming industry of today.
The Numbers Behind UK Gambling
To give you a perspective of how vast and potent the UK gambling scene actually is, we will disclose some of the numbers behind the industry. With a population of around 67.3 million residents, the worth of UK gambling is estimated at around £15 billion ($16.6 billion) at the moment of writing. Due to this insane number, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that there are currently around 100.000 people working in this sector. Not only does this makes the UK one of the biggest markets in the world, but it also tells a great deal about the average player in Foggy Albion.
From here, it is also worth mentioning that around 48% of the entire UK population plays at real money casino establishments at least once per month. Moreover, the data shows that Britons spend a weekly average amount of £2.60 in casinos, making for £135 per year. More experienced players, i.e. the bigger spenders reported spending £4.20 each week, while smaller scale players reported around £1.50 weekly spending in both online and land-based casinos. And judging by the looks of it, more and more people are turning to online casinos than ever, with no end in sight.
The Law For Online Gambling In The UK
Now, this is a bit of a complicated matter, especially if we take into account everything we said above. That is because the government in the United Kingdom initially proclaimed all gambling activities to be illegal. Albeit this was done way back in 1845, nevertheless, this law remained in force for nearly 150 years, and for that time being, all gambling activities were deemed illegal. That is until 2001 and the report on gambling issued by Alan Budd.
After reading the report, the government in the UK decided to lift the 150-year-old ban, and revitalize the British gambling market by introducing new gambling policies.
Consequently, the government decided to make gambling legal by maintaining a tight grip and closely monitoring all gambling activities on the island. This resulted in the creation of a special regulatory commission, guided by a special act and issued by the UK parliament back in 2005, giving birth to one of the most prominent gaming regulators on the planet, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission. The goal of the Commission was to ensure player protection above all so that UK citizens feel absolutely comfortable when playing at online casinos operating under a UK license.
This 2005 act was in force until 2014 when the need to alter the strict conditions emerged. This was due to the fact that up until 2014, the UK Gambling Act applied exclusively to individuals that had a physical connection to the country, covering both UK websites and equipment that was physically present in the country.
The new gambling legislation, I.e. the 2014 Gambling Act, completely reshaped the current UK gambling system into the market that we know today. More specifically, the new legislation was meant to provide regulation to all individuals that provide online gambling services to UK citizens, regardless of the jurisdiction, which was in compliance with basically every major regulated market in Europe. The only requirement for individuals and operators to do so was obtaining a UK license and consequently paying the mandatory fees that apply specifically to remote gambling operators outside the UK.
Online Casino Licensing In The UK
The most important thing to remember when it comes to licensing for online casinos in the UK is that you cannot operate without the blessing of the UKGC. This means that in order to legally provide services in the UK, one must obtain a license from the UK Gambling Commission. Licenses from other regulators aside from the UKGC are considered illegal, and as such, they are not recognized by Britain’s sole gaming authority.
This type of approach which includes strict criteria, meticulous background checks of the owners, as well as frequent financial and ethical audits is what separates the UK license from all others. In fact, whenever you see a casino with a UK license, it is usually a synonym for a top-tier operator that is compliant with all conditions imposed by the UKGC, including the hefty price of obtaining such a license.
Speaking of which, the initial cost of getting the prestigious UKGC license is £10.000, with the obligation to pay an additional 15% of the revenue (tax included) each year. And this hefty licensing process is just on top of the extensive list of mandatory points and features that the operator must comply with in order to get approved by the Commission. This is why the majority of online casino operators have trouble in not just obtaining, but maintaining the UK license.
Types Of Licenses
Being that you simply cannot legally provide gambling services in the UK without a license, the government obliges all operators to go through a strict and mandatory license-issuing process. From here, all operators interested in launching an online gambling website in the UK must obtain three mandatory licenses if they wish to offer offshore gambling services to UK citizens.
- Operational license
- Operational software license
- Set of personal licenses for key personnel
Finding The Best UK Casinos
Since we have determined the requirements for accepting players from the UK, the next step would be finding the right casino. Being that the license is just the beginning and the nature of the operator depends on several other crucial factors, we decided to comprise a list of some of the key features that you need to mind prior to making your decision. Let’s have a look.
License – as we said earlier, if the casino that accepts UK players doesn’t boast a license issued by the UKGC, then you should definitely find another solution. This is because these types of operators are not obliged to comply with the strict regulations of The Commission, regardless of whether the casino has a Malta-issued or a Curacao license. The Commission is the sole authority in the UK with the power to revoke a license, assist you if something goes wrong, and if necessary, enforce the law if the operator is not acting in accordance with the strict UKGC policy.
Software – similar to the licensing badge for operational services, UK online gambling operators also must possess a software operational license that guarantees original and transparent entertainment. This is because top-tier software providers provide fair and transparent outcomes due to the factory set RTP (return to player), as well as the best possible graphics and mechanics that money can buy. So, if you happen to run into an online gambling operator that doesn’t seem to provide anything short of high-quality entertainment by reputable software providers (EGT, Pragmatic Play, Evolution Gaming, etc) then the best course of action would be reporting and consequently switching the casino.
Individual reviews – one of the best ways to determine the nature of the casino is by reading first-hand experiences from other players. This will give you a unique insight into just the overall situation at the casino, but also regarding the rewarding prowess, the courtesy of the support team, as well as the overall service that you can expect. Just head to one of the UK casino reviews or visit one of the players’ forums, and you will learn from first-hand testimonials.
KYC – simply put, if you run into an online casino operator that doesn’t require KYC verification, then you are not at the right place. This is because every UK online gambling website is mandated to put their players through a thorough KYC verification which includes the players’ personal identity, residence/address, as well as payment details. This is because KYC prevents any potential fraud, money laundering, or terrorism, as well as all other illegal activities.
SSL/TSL encryption – needless to say, if a casino doesn’t have the “https:” before the Internet address, then it is definitely a shady casino. This is because the UKGC mandates casino operators to provide the latest 128-bit SSL/TSL encryption technology that is specifically to protect the players’ personal data.
Payment methods – the essence of all real money casino gambling, if the payment methods are not well known and trustworthy, then the casino is definitely suspicious. Not only does the casino must provide a list of payment solutions, but these must be familiar and widely used, as well as approved to operate within UK jurisdiction. This is because not all payment methods are available in the UK, and a small check prior to playing can truly make a difference.
Banned Online Casinos And Features In The UK
Being that the UK Gambling Commission sets rather strict for both obtaining and maintaining a gambling license, any discrepancies or failure to comply will result in immediate revokement of the license. And this includes every single operator under the guise of the UKGC, regardless of their magnitude of status. This includes a list of rules and functions, including:
- Credit Card deposits/withdrawals
- Functions that make the gameplay faster
- Functions that falsely present control over the outcome
- Autoplay mode
- Slot/reel rotation faster than 2.5 seconds
- Images and sounds that present an illusion of a win when the true outcome is equal to or less than the wager
Moreover, the UKGC even imposed a permanent restriction on reverse withdrawals regardless of the online gambling operator. Up until the new law, players were allowed to just re-play the funds that they were requesting to withdraw, something that starting from the 31st of October will be deemed illegal and punishable by law. Consequently, if an operator fails to comply with at least one of the violations presented above, it faces a permanent ban by the UKGC.
Profiling The Average UK Online Casino Player
Considering the importance of online gambling in the everyday life of the citizens in the United Kingdom, two professors from the University of Liverpool decided to conduct thorough research in order to gain a better insight into how UK players truly interact with online gambling operators in the country. The professors that took upon discovering the habits of the average UK player were Professor Ian Michael and Professor David Forrest, and the study was published by the charitable gambling addiction organization, Gambleraware. And the findings were quite astonishing, to say the least.
More specifically, the results of the study showed that online sports betting was the number one entertainment among UK citizens. In fact, a whopping 86% out of all analyzed players reported betting at least once per year at a UK online betting establishment. Moreover, around 93% of the entire annual gaming income was attributed to real money online slots and online casino games. From here, 72.2% of the active accounts were attributed to 60% of online casino activity, which watered down includes 53% of players of virtual casino games, as well as 19.5% of players for live casino gaming.
Consequently, the last two account for a total of 33% of the entire gross gaming revenue for all UK casino operators, with 15% of the accounts previously playing games in at least one bingo casino in the UK, providing 3.6% of the total revenue.
With these numbers, the professors concluded the study that the average UK player’s favourite forms of online gambling entertainment are online casino slots and online casino games. Interestingly enough, the study also showed that UK players are most likely to indulge in playing at online casinos, rather than at UK land-based casinos, spending much more money on internet gambling. And lastly, the research showed that Britons who play at online casinos late at night, as opposed to players who play during the day, are likely to spend far more money than their daily counterparts.
Unique Traits Of UK Casino Players
Carrying the epitome as one of the most knowledgeable gamblers on the planet, UK players are known for their unique traits and characteristics that separate them from most other nationalities. Consequently, the centuries-long experience In every form of gambling known to mankind has helped shaped the average UK casino player into a highly experienced and skilled opponent. Due to this progressive evolution, it is no wonder that many newbie gamblers tailor their strategy to the blueprint set by the notorious UK players. So let’s have a look at what makes the UK gamblers so special and what separates them from the crowd.
Meticulous investigation – the first thing that UK players tend to do prior to playing at one of the top casinos in the UK spend a substantial amount of time learning as much as possible about the nature of the casino. This includes checking the bonuses and the promotions, as well as their terms and conditions, all in order to make sure that there aren’t any hidden rules or unfair requirements. Next, they check whether the online slots have a designated demo version, as well as no deposit bonuses. This is because demo versions and no-deposit bonuses are the best way to play, and consequently check out the casino, without having to spend money of your own. Lastly, the average UK gambler will jot down every important piece of information as a note, so that they have a clear picture of what to look for when embarking on their first casino journey.
Setting a budget/Bankroll – needless to say, experienced gamblers would never start playing at an online casino without setting a predetermined budget, and the UK players are no expiation to this case. UK players understand that gambling is a game of luck, and as such, they leave nothing to coincidence, and instead, set a playing money budget in order not to overspend while they are doing their favourite activity. Setting a budget saves them not just their money, but also their peace of mind.
Claiming bonuses – UK players know better than anyone that the casinos always have a slight edge over the players. Due to this, UK gamblers are not shy to claim as many bonuses as possible, as long as it entails evening the odds of winning something from the casino. And the best way to win at the casino with no risk to your wallet is by claiming risk-free bonuses with zero requirements for withdrawals.
Mental strength – being that online casinos are designed to keep your attention for as long as possible, which consequently mentally exhausts you, UK gamblers are all about evening the odds. British gamblers know that playing for hours without rest will cause mental fatigue, and consequently make you lose focus. This is why whenever they play for real money, most UK gamblers will make sure to take up to several breaks in a single sitting, all in order to maintain a fresh mind. By maintaining your concentration you increase your chances to win, as well as decrease the chances of getting angry and losing your budget.
Well-known casino brands – one of the things that separate UK players from the rest are their unwillingness to play at unknown gambling sites. Shortly put, you simply cannot entice UK gamblers with hefty bonuses and false promises if you do not have the reputation to do so. UK gamblers are all about playing at big-brand casinos that not only have the capacity to pay out even the biggest winnings but also because they entail high-quality entertainment and promo feedback in case something goes wrong.
Steer clear from multiple paylines – this one is quite simple. UK gamblers tend to avoid playing at online slots with multiple paylines despite the fact that the majority of the online casino audience tends to do the exact opposite. The reason for this is that while having the option to bet on multiple paylines does increase your winning chances in most instances, by doing this you actually decrease your chances of getting big bonuses and unlocking bonus rounds. This is why UK gamblers steer clear from making small payments at multiple paylines slots and tend to go for bigger investments that guarantee a better return of their investment.
The bottom line here is that UK gamblers make sure to take all of the necessary measures to ensure that they play as carefully and responsibly as possible. They understand that the world of online gambling is of a highly volatile nature, and due to this they never underestimate the casino, nor do they overestimate their abilities. This is why they are considered one of the best in the business.
What To Look For When Choosing The Best Gambling Websites In The UK
Now, let’s review everything from above and make sure to point out the key points you need to mind when making the decision at playing at one of the top UK gambling websites.
Website interface – being that first impression is everything, this is a rather important aspect of the entire procedure. This means that the website must be easy-to-navigate and with a modern look. While you may think that more is better, when it comes to the best UK casinos, having a clear picture of the rules, entertainment, and bonuses, as well as working links to gambling addiction websites is imperative.
License – as we said earlier if the casino doesn’t boast a license issued by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission then you might as well leave.
Entertainment – online casinos can be categorized into three groups: small, medium, and big. This categorization is mainly due to how extensive their game offer actually is. Needless to state the obvious, the bigger the casino, the more slots it will have at your disposal. To give you a point of reference, the biggest UK casinos can offer more than 2500 online slots at any given time, by nothing short of the finest software providers in the business. More specifically, the top UK casinos will also make sure to provide you with extensive entertainment that includes online sports betting, live casino, online poker rooms, lottery, bingo, esports, virtual games, etc.
Payment methods – simply put, if the casino cannot provide a list of popular and widely-used payment solutions, then you have no business in spending your money at the casino. Especially when it comes to UK casinos where the government obliges the operators to provide nothing short of available and transparent banking methods.
Company information – the last piece that you need to mind when searching for the best UK casino is company information. Transparent online casino operators that are regulated by the Commission are obliged to disclose details of the owners of the casino in the footer of the website. These include the name of the parent company, physical address, contact information, as well as the year when the casino went live.
Fair-play Principles The The Top UK Casinos Must Follow
One of the biggest traits of casinos that bear the UK license is transparency and fairness. Not only does the UKGC obliges operators to work in this manner, but the operators themselves take pride in being part of a small group of gambling providers that are considered the best of the best. To ensure this is the case, all of the top UK casinos adhere to the following principles.
- Frequent audits, performed by both state-owned and independent organizations. This makes sure that the casino operates within the pre-determined legal framework with utmost fairness and transparency, and these reports should always be available and easily accessible on the casino website.
- Frequent audits, performed on the software used by the casino by independent organizations. Not just the casino, but also software providers cheat. This is why the UKGC mandates the operators to use top-tier and legitimate software providers, being that both the operator and the Commission will face dire legal consequences, and even lose their valued reputation.
- The use of cutting-edge technologies for user data protection is imperative. This includes the latest SSL/TSL encryption technology that guarantees the utmost protection of the players’ personal data.
- Disclosing detailed information concerning the size, rules, and nature of the jackpots, RTP, and winnings, for each game individually. This way the player can see the true nature of the games, as well as how they work and how much can they win. Lacking even one of this important information may result in the license being revoked by the UKGC.
- Transparent and clear terms and conditions regarding deposits, withdrawals, and bonus requirements. The top UK casinos are obliged to always provide a clear picture of the payment situation, and as such, they should never find themselves in a position to obtain illegal payments from their players.