Here at BonusBlackjack.org a large amount of our readers come from the UK. We’ve written this page especially for those readers in the United Kingdom who play blackjack or other casino games online. To get started you can play UK online blackjack immediately by selecting one of the top UK blackjack sites listed in the table below.
UK Online Gambling Regulations: What you need to know
With players from all over the world competing against one another every day, online poker definitely resides in the global economy. That said each country/region has it’s owns laws and regulations when it comes to participating in online poker games. In this article I will examine the online poker laws of the UK, in addition to looking into the future to see what, if any, pending legislation is in store for UK poker players.
Online Gambling Legality and Regulations for the UK
The UK passed the Gambling Act in 2005 –although the law didn’t go into effect until 2007—which did several important things for UK poker players. The new law supersedes former gaming legislation which went into effect prior to Internet gambling: The Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1963; the Gaming Act of 1968; and the Lotteries and Amusements Act of 1976.
Most importantly the Gambling Act recognized and regulated Internet Gambling –and remote gambling in other forms—for the first time. The legislation gives the UK perhaps the clearest laws and regulations governing online poker and gambling in general.
The Gambling Act also created a single authority known as the Gambling Commission which will oversee all gaming in the UK, whether it’s online or offline.
The Gambling Commission has the power to grant licenses, impose fines and instigate prosecution on offenders. Online Casinos/Poker-Rooms must now be granted a license by the Gambling Commission in order to operate in the UK. The commission requires the online site to adhere to a number of rules, similar to those imposed on land-based casinos. Online gambling entities must possess an Operating License and Personal License both of which are issued by the Gambling Commission.
To read about playing blackjack in Europe, have a look at our European blackjack guide.
Current Climate in the UK
The UK has never taken an active role in prohibiting gambling to its citizens, and it’s unlikely the government will attempt to change their role in regards to the current gambling climate.
The UK government seems to be of the opinion –the right opinion in my mind– that the best way to deal with gambling is to regulate and tax the industry, and as you’ll see below, exempts personal gambling winnings from taxation –which has the more intended effect of disallowing gambling losses to be claimed by individuals.
All in all, the UK is one of the best locales for an online poker pro to call home. With clear laws and regulations regarding online poker, and very favorable tax laws for online poker players to take advantage of, I’m surprised more top players from the US don’t move across the pond.
Pending Online Gambling Legislation in the UK
As of now nobody in the UK government has introduced any viable online poker legislation that would alter the current Gambling Act of 2005. The UK government did see the Conservative Party win the largest number of seats, but not enough to achieve a majority. So, with a very diverse parliament it’s highly unlikely there will be any sweeping changes to gambling laws in the near future.
UK Tax Laws Regarding Online Gambling
As if the legalization of online poker wasn’t good enough, how about the fact that the UK does not tax an online poker player’s winnings, even if poker is your primary source of income (your job). The reason for this being that by taxing winnings the government would also be obliged to offer deductions for losses (which far outnumber winnings in gambling). So, unless you run a sports-book, poker-room, or online gambling site you are exempt from paying taxes in the United Kingdom.
Obviously, this also means that online poker players –and gamblers of any kind—are unable to declare their losses at the tables as a tax deduction.
A word of caution: Make sure you keep meticulous records of your online poker winnings in case the tax man decides to pay you a visit! I’m not talking hand written records; I’m talking about receipts from your withdrawals and deposits into your bank account. The most important thing you can do if your income comes almost entirely from gambling is to PROVE where the money is coming from.
There are numerous UK court cases which have stipulated that individual players are not subject to taxes on their winnings.
Below you can find the pertinent court cases for any UK poker player looking to research the tax laws –Something UK poker pro Joe Beevers has done, and come to the same conclusions I have put forth: While running a gambling operation is taxable, the person placing wagers at said establishment is exempt from paying taxes in the UK. There have been many inquiries on poker forums on the subject of UK tax laws regarding online poker, and all have come to the same conclusion –a number of poker players have gone to an accountant just to make sure, and have been told their winnings are exempt.
Relevant Court Cases:
- Partridge v Mallandaine 2TC179
- Graham v Green 9TC
- Down v Compston 21TC60
- Burdge v Pyne 45TC320