Department for Culture Media and Sport

gambling act 2005

The Gambling Act 2005 regulates commercial gambling in the UK, including: arcades, betting, bingo, casinos, gaming machines, lotteries and UK-based remote gambling operations.

It does not regulate spread bettng, which is the responsibility of the Financial Services Authority. It also does not regulate the National Lottery, which is the responsibility of the National Lottery Commission.

The Gambling Act 2005 has three clear objectives:

  • keeping gambling crime free
  • making sure that gambling is fair and open
  • protecting children and vulnerable adults

These are underpinned by:

  • social responsibility and protection of the public, especially children and the vulnerable
  • creating a regime which has at its heart firm but fair regulation, allowing people to enjoy gambling responsibly, encourages an important industry to thrive by behaving responsibly, and protects the vulnerable. A robust regime is good for players, providers and investors
  • close, open and consultative working with all types of organisations connected to gambling, including:
    • the industry
    • faith, belief and community groups
    • researchers
    • those dealing day to day with problem gamblers

The Act covers two main activities:

  • providing facilities for gambling
  • using premises for gambling

In either case, you must hold the appropriate permission. Permission may come from a licence, permit, or registration granted according to the Act, or from an exemption given by the Act.


The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is responsible for the development of overall gambling policy in the UK.

Day to day regulation of the gambling industry is carried out by the Gambling Commission and licensing authorities.

The Gambling Commission

The Gambling Commission is an independent non-departmental public body set up under the Gambling Act 2005. It is the primary advisory body to local and national government on gambling.

It is responsible for issuing operating licences to organisations and individuals who are providing facilities for gambling, as well as personal licences to certain individuals working within the gambling industry.

The Commission is also responsible for issuing the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) - October 2008 which sets out the manner in which facilities for gambling should be provided. It works closely with licence holders to ensure they comply with the LCCP and has legal powers to deal with licensed operators who do not comply with the LCCP. It also has the powers to investigate and prosecute illegal gambling under the Gambling Act 2005.

Local Authorities

In England and Wales, local authorities have powers under the Gambling Act 2005 to license gambling premises within their area, as well as undertaking functions in relation to lower stake gaming machines and clubs and miners' welfare institutes. In Scotland, these powers are given to licensing boards.

Back to top

Websites of interest