There are plenty of compelling reasons as to why operators should seek to gain a UK online gambling licence. But the pitfalls to achieving that are many and best avoided. On hand to help potential entrants navigate the process is Slotegrator with a dedicated guide to getting licensed in the UK.
Slotegrator, the igaming software and business solution provider for online casino and sportsbook operators, has produced a comprehensive guide for companies seeking a UK online gambling licence.
Titled How to get a gambling licence in the UK 2022, it covers in detail the scope and cost of all five types of online gambling licences available (casino, virtual events, real events, pool betting, and bingo). Additionally, it sets out the fees attached to each licence and how they vary by application.
The guide also outlines the documentation required to obtain each licence and the obligations operators must fulfil under the licensing codes and conditions of practice. Importantly – and often overlooked – it details some of the downsides of operating in the British market.
Setting out the rationale for getting licensed, Slotegrator’s guide noted: “The United Kingdom is by far the world’s largest online gambling market. In the six months between April and September 2020, the British gambling industry’s total gross gambling yield amounted to £5.9bn (€7bn / $7.96bn as of November 2021), 52.3 per cent of which — £3.1bn — coming from the remote sector.”
It added: “Remote GGY rose to an astounding £6.9bn by the end of the 2020-2021 fiscal year, for a growth of 18.4 per cent over the first semester. Online casinos generated an imposing £4bn, while betting totalled £2.6bn and bingo accounted for the rest of the GGY.”
“Given these numbers”, it continued, “it’s easier to see why the British online gambling market is so attractive to operators. In total, the United Kingdom is home to 2,439 licensed gambling operators, 599 of which offer online services.”
Prospective licence holders will have to navigate the requirements of the issuer, the UK Gambling Commission which is also tasked to monitor operators’ compliance with the provisions set forward in the Gambling Act 2005.
The guide stated: “The UKGC assesses all applications considering two main factors: the business’ intention and ability to uphold the licensing objectives, and suitability to carry out the allowed activities.
“The assessment of suitability process aims at finding evidence of identity and ownership, past and present financial circumstances of all relevant individuals, integrity (including criminal records evaluation), and competence. For this reason, businesses are required to provide an extensive set of documents at the moment of application.”
Prospective licensees are also warned that entities based abroad must provide a credit report, and, if they are licenced elsewhere, a copy of the gambling licences issued by other jurisdictions.
“Others depend on the type of licence the entity is applying for,” it added. “In the case of a remote licence, it’s necessary to provide documentation regarding remote-specific policies and procedures, the software and gambling software supply, the operational model, and a system diagram for end-to-end process.”
One of the reasons why a UKGC licence is so highly valued by operators and players alike is, said the guide, that it demonstrates operators’ commitment to running a compliant business.
It noted: “Licensees are bound by the LCCP, an extensive document outlining all the requirements that operators must fulfil. The requirements set are quite strict — particularly when compared to those of other jurisdictions — and require operators to be extremely vigilant, particularly regarding know-your-customer and anti-money laundering topics.”
The guide ends on a cautionary note, with the warning that “applying for a gambling licence isn’t a straightforward process”. It advised: “The smallest mistake in the documentation provided may result in a long delay, and, with the baseline wait between application and issuing of the licence set at four months, that’s the last thing you want.
“To avoid unnecessary headaches, you can rely on our jurisdictional advisory and licence acquisition services. Our team of specialists will be able to successfully guide you through the application process to obtain a UK gambling licence without skipping a beat.”