If you live in the United Kingdom, you’re in one of the best places in the world for playing at online casinos. Not only can you gamble at almost any online casino in the world, but many of the world’s most popular and well-respected online gambling sites are operated from inside the UK. There are virtually no issues that UK players need to worry about when gambling online, and even the local tax laws are set up in a manner that favors players.
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Are UK Online Casinos Legal?
Not only are online casinos entirely legal in the United Kingdom, there’s also none of the ambiguity of grey areas found in the laws of many other nations. Any doubts about the standing of online gambling sites were settled in the 2005 Gambling Act. This legislation included specific language that dealt with remote gambling, which included any and all gambling done over the internet (as well as many forms of gambling by phone).
The Gambling Act made it clear that UK residents were within their rights to gamble at online casinos, as well as allowing them to take part in online sports betting and online poker rooms. It also allowed for the operation of gambling websites from within the UK; in fact, many of the world’s largest and most respected gambling websites are located in the United Kingdom.
Online Gambling and Taxes in the UK
Here’s something UK players will be especially happy to hear: if you win money while gambling online, you won’t be charged any tax on those winnings. This is actually true whether you’re gambling online or in a brick-and-mortar casino, as well as whether you are a professional or amateur gambler. No matter what the circumstances, every pound you win is yours to keep.
Depositing and Withdrawing
Again, the fact that gambling is unambiguously legal in the United Kingdom makes it very simple to deposit into an online casino from the country. There are no laws affecting transfers between individuals and online casino sites, nor should there be any problems or long waits when withdrawing your winnings.
In many other countries, some interesting workarounds have been created to circumvent local regulations that affect gambling transactions. However, in the UK, you can deposit by any direct means you like, including bank transfers, checks, credit cards or e-wallet sites like Neteller and Skrill. In addition, many online casinos are owned and operated by brick-and-mortar countries in the UK, which allows for the rather unique opportunity for players to make deposits at a live retail outlet owned by the company that operates the online casino. Some of the less traditional methods are available in the UK too, including prepaid cards and vouchers, as well as lesser-known e-wallet sites and online banking systems.
The Future of Online Casinos in the UK
There is little (if any) controversy over online gambling in the United Kingdom. With that in mind, it’s hard to predict that there will be any trouble for gamblers in the UK in the near future. If anything, gambling rights in the UK seem to be expanding, as several new large live casinos are scheduled to open in the coming years.
One aspect of online gambling law that could undergo some changes is the licensing process for gambling sites. At the moment, there are many online gambling companies based in the UK; these companies, as expected, must pay taxes on their revenues to the UK government. However, offshore sites who offer gaming options to players in the United Kingdom are not licensed by the UK itself, and do not pay taxes there.
It probably won’t surprise you to know that many other jurisdictions offer much lower tax rates than the UK. This has led to some online gambling firms moving their headquarters to other countries in the hopes of keeping more of their profits.
To combat this, the UK has implemented a licensing program for offshore groups that wish to offer gambling in the country. While this does not include a tax scheme at the moment, many believe that this would be the next step in the licensing program. It is likely that these firms would be taxed at a rate similar to the rates taken from UK firms.
While all this might sound quite dramatic, it should have little if any impact on the online gambling experience in the UK – at least from the point of view of the players. We fully expect that UK residents will continue to enjoy one of the largest selections of online casino options for many years to come.