How to get a gambling license in the UK

How to get a gambling license in the UK?

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What is a gambling license and why do you need one?

A gambling operating license is a document that allows casinos to work legally. Running a gaming platform without it can result in huge fines, jail time, and other legal troubles. Also, the lack of a permit will certainly affect the number of your customers, as well as relationships with game content providers, banks, and other operators.

When deciding where to legalize a gambling business, operators are forced to study a huge amount of information about each jurisdiction. In this article, we will consider the possibility and specifics of obtaining a gambling permit in the UK.

The UK gambling license

Obtaining a gambling license in the UK is necessary to conduct gambling operating in Great Britain legally. Various gambling activities are legalized in this jurisdiction. Moreover, the UK Government creates favorable conditions for the gambling business. Operators who are residents of the country are not subject to high taxation; as for foreign businessmen, they are exempt from certain fees and commissions.

Gambling brings a lot of money to the treasury of Britain. At the same time, most of the turnover today falls on the online sector. Another popular gambling type is national lotteries. The growing interest in iGaming stimulates the state to develop industry legislation, facilitate the application process and attract more and more operators every year. Thus, the UK today is the first and largest gambling market in Europe. Some of its representatives are famous far beyond the borders of the state. Therefore and for many other reasons, so many operators are eager to become part of the British gambling industry at any cost.

Gambling body and industry legislation. Gambling Act 2005

The gaming board that oversees gambling activities and issues licenses to operators is called the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). UKGC accepts license applications for both land-based and virtual casinos. Operators, who have entered into a cross-licensing agreement with the UK Government, can go through the application process and obtain a gambling operating license in the UK. 

One of the main principles of the commission is the observance of social responsibilities. Among them, there is the enforcement of fair play standards and anti-money laundering. Also, the UKGC controls the protection of minors and potentially vulnerable persons from gambling. For example, in 2018, the Commission fined renowned bookmaker William Hill £6.2 million for failing to protect players due to non-compliance with AML standards.

The main legal act regulating the sphere of gambling is the Gambling Act 2005. Since its inception, the document has been amended several times, primarily concerning cryptocurrency. However, the issue of the legality of bitcoin casinos in the state is still open, and therefore experts expect a total revision of the basic law in the near future.

An interesting local feature is national lotteries, where winnings are tax-free and most of the operator’s proceeds go to charity. Participation in national lotteries in England is prohibited for persons under 16 years of age.

Types of UK Gambling operating licenses

The British authority issues 3 types of gambling licenses:

Gambling operating license

This is a license required for entrepreneurs who are going to conduct an online gambling operation. During the application process, operators need to indicate the type of gambling activity in which they plan to engage in this license.

Operators can obtain this license for the following types of gambling activities:

  • Arcade;
  • Betting (offline and online, as well as bookmaker software);
  • Bingo (offline and online);
  • Land-based and online casinos;
  • Software for land-based and online casinos;
  • Gaming machines (offline and online);
  • Lotteries (offline and online).

There are three types of gambling operating licenses:

  • Remote Gambling software;
  • Remote General Betting Standard — Real Event;
  • Remote Casino.

Personal Management License (PML)

A personal management license required for people who are responsible for basic management functions is also issued in the UK.

Personal Functional License (PFL)

This is a license required for casino employees. This type of license can be obtained by:

  • Dealers.
  • Cashiers.
  • Casino security service.
  • Inspectors.
  • Pit bosses.

License for premise

This is atype of license required for those who need premises for gambling activities.

In addition, if you intend to provide advertising services for online casino operators in the UK, you will also need to obtain a permit.

If the operator is going to offer players several types of gambling services, he needs to get a gambling license for each type of activity separately. It is worth noting that if you are applying for multiple licenses, the UK Government will give you a discount.

How to get a UK gaming license

The application process for obtaining an online gambling license in Britain is pretty understandable and straightforward. The most important thing is to prepare well and collect all the required info about the business and its owners. Even a small mistake or omission can cost you a lot of time or the permit itself.

You can apply for a UK gambling operating license yourself on the website of the regulatory body. You can also find all relevant info and requirements (which differ depending on the permit type) on the platform. Here are the common steps of the application process:

  1. To prepare mandatory documents
  2. To establish a presence in the country. Even remote operators are required to provide the Commission with a UK correspondence address
  3. To pay an application fee
  4. To submit an application
  5. To go through the investigation, during which the UKGC will check the identity and the absence of a criminal past of the applicant, documents for the company, and the origin of its funds, as well as compliance with a number of requirements for licensed business

To find out the status of your application or get an answer to any question related to the license acquisition you can contact the UKGC at the email address

[email protected].

In case of rejection of the application, it is possible to challenge the decision of the regulator by filing an appeal.

How long does it take to get a gambling license in the UK?

The process of considering the application can take 16 weeks for each separate license. It’s not fast, but the good news is that gambling operating licenses are permanently valid. As for personal licenses, they must be renewed every five years.

Taxation and UK gambling license cost

Obtaining a UK gambling license is very expensive for operators. First, operators need to pay a license fee of £10,000.00. The cost of a UK online gambling license starts from around £25,000.00. The exact cost of a gambling operating license is negotiated with each operator individually.

The corporate income tax rate in the UK is 19%. In addition, gambling businesses are required to pay an extra fee of 15% of their income.

Disadvantages and advantages of obtaining a UK gambling license


  • A perfect reputation;
  • Business transparency;
  • Protection of addicted people from gambling;
  • Permanent license;
  • Easy application process: the possibility to apply online;
  • Opportunity to operate different types of games.


  • It’s costly to get an online gambling license;
  • It isn’t suitable for operating a bitcoin casino.
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