Policy paper

2010 to 2015 government policy: gambling regulation

Updated 8 May 2015

This is a copy of a document that stated a policy of the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government. The previous URL of this page was https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/regulating-gambling-in-great-britain-to-make-sure-it-is-run-responsibly-and-contributes-to-economic-growth. Current policies can be found at the GOV.UK policies list.


We want to make sure that the gambling industry continues to be run responsibly, so that it provides a safe and enjoyable leisure activity, which is also an important source of revenue and jobs.

We want to:

  • keep gambling crime-free
  • make sure that gambling is fair and open
  • protect children and vulnerable adults


We are:


The Gambling Commission was set up under the Gambling Act 2005 to regulate gambling in Great Britain. It shares the job of regulating gambling with local authorities (and licensing boards in Scotland), who concentrate on localised issues.

The Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) is responsible for government policy on racing, but the industry is regulated by independent bodies:

Bills and legislation

The Gambling Act 2005 sets out how gambling in Great Britain should be regulated, including arcades, betting, bingo, casinos, gaming machines, society lotteries and remote gambling operations. The Gambling Act 2005 came fully into force on 1 September 2007.

The Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 received Royal Assent on 14th May. The Order commencing the Act has been made, commencing the Act on 1st November 2014. The Order will be available from legislation.gov.uk in due course. This Act will mean that remote gambling by consumers in Britain is regulated on a point of consumption basis and all operators selling into the British market, whether based here or abroad, will now be required to hold a Gambling Commission licence to enable them to transact with British consumers.

Information on the new remote gambling measures, including the licensing arrangements for operators, can be found on the Gambling Commission’s Frequently Asked Questions blog.

Appendix 1: exploring options for replacing the Horserace Betting Levy

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

The Horserace Betting Levy is a statutory levy (which means it is based in law and enforced by the government), collected and distributed by the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB).

The betting industry gives a portion of its profits to the levy.

The money then helps to fund:

  • the improvement of horseracing
  • the improvement of breeds of horses
  • the advancement of veterinary science and education

We are currently exploring different ways we might replace the Horserace Betting Levy.

We have encouraged the racing and betting industries to engage in discussions over a voluntary, multi-year deal under the current levy system while a replacement to the levy is being explored.

Appendix 2: proposing to license remote gambling

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

At the moment, overseas-based companies which offer gambling services to British consumers are not regulated by the Gambling Commission

We have published the draft Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill. The bill sets out our proposals for all overseas-based companies offering gambling services to British consumers being required to hold a Gambling Commission licence.

This would mean, among other things, that all licensed operators would be required to contribute to research, education and treatment of British problem gambling and to comply with licence conditions that protect children and vulnerable adults.

Appendix 3: the Gambling Commission

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

The Gambling Commission is the main advisory body to local and national government on gambling. It is responsible for:

  • issuing operating licences to organisations and individuals who provide facilities for gambling
  • issuing personal licences to certain people working in the gambling industry

The Gambling Commission works closely with licence holders to make sure they comply with the licence conditions and codes of practice applicable to their licences. The Commission has legal powers to:

  • deal with licensed operators who do not comply
  • investigate and prosecute illegal gambling under the Gambling Act 2005

The Gambling Commission operates independently of government, but the Chair of the Commission is appointed by the Culture Secretary. You can find more information on the Gambling Commission’s website.

Local authorities have powers under the Gambling Act 2005 to licence gambling premises as well as undertaking functions in relation to lower-stake gaming machines and clubs and miners’ welfare institutes in their areas. In Scotland, these powers are given to licensing boards.

The Gambling Commission and licensing authorities operate shared regulation of gambling, with the Commission concentrating on matters of high or national impact, and supporting licensing authorities in respect of matters of high local impact.

For information on how to apply for a gambling premises licence see your local authority website.

For information on how to apply for a gambling operator or personal licence see the Gambling Commission website

Responsible gambling

We require licensed gambling operators who provide gambling products to consumers to put in place measures to help people who might have a problem with their gambling. These include:

  • making sure information on sources of help is available
  • making sure people can exclude themselves from gambling

The Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB) was set up in late 2008 to advise the Gambling Commission and, in turn, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). It advises on research, education and treatment programmes needed to support a national responsible gambling strategy and associated funding requirements.

The gambling industry supports research into the causes of problem gambling and its treatment through the Responsible Gambling Trust. This is an independent national charity responsible for both raising the funds and funding programmes of research, education and treatment.

The Trust funds the Gamble Aware website, which aims to promote responsibility in gambling.