The Gambling Act 2005 - overview

General information

Playing cards

The Gambling Act 2005 became law on 7 April 2005, and was fully implemented by September 2007. The Act updated existing gambling laws that were several decades old, providing new powers and protections for both new and old forms of gambling. It has three objectives:

  • Keep gambling crime free
  • Ensure that gambling is fair and open
  • Protection of children and vulnerable adults

These are underpinned by:

  • Social responsibility and protection of the public, especially children and the vulnerable
  • A new 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
  • Close consultative working with all relevant authorities, the industry, faith and community groups, and those dealing day-to-day with problem gamblers

How does it work?

The Act covers two main areas:

  • Providing facilities for gambling
  • Using premises for gambling

In either case, you should hold the appropriate permission. This may be in the form of a licence, permit or registration, or exemption under the Act. The Act introduced a new, unified regulator for gambling in Britain, The Gambling Commission and a new regime for commercial gambling (operated and regulated either by the Commission, or the licensing authority, depending on what is being licensed).

The Gambling Commission regulates all commercial gambling in Britain, except:

  • Spread Betting (regulated by the Financial Services Authority)
  • The National Lottery (regulated by the National Lottery Commission)

The Act enables the commission to void bets that are unfair, for example, due to cheating. A Gambling Appeals Tribunal was established to hear appeals against decisions made by the Commission. Magistrates Courts hear appeals against decisions made by the licensing authority.

There is a three-tier system of control:

  1. Government (Department of Culture, Media and Sport)
  2. Gambling Commission
  3. Council (Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council)

What does it cover?

Section 3 of the Act describes gambling as:

  • Gaming - playing a game of chance for a prize
  • Betting - a transaction based on the outcome of a race or likelihood of an event happening
  • Lottery - pay to participate, with prizes allocated on a chance basis. The National Lottery is excluded

Section 4 covers remote gambling such as internet, telephone, television, radio or other forms of technology. The Act no longer permits the use of gaming machines in small unlicensed premises (such as mini-cab offices, fish and chip shops, takeaways.)

Last updated: ‎10‎/‎10‎/‎2023‎ ‎16:‎19