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What we regulate

We license and regulate the individuals and businesses that provide gambling in Great Britain, including the National Lottery.

Published: 1 January 2021

Last updated: 6 December 2023

This version was printed or saved on: 24 June 2024

Online version: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/about-us/guide/what-we-regulate

Overview: The Gambling Commission is an executive non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (opens in new tab).

We regulate the following types of gambling:

Gambling websites which trade or advertise to customers in Great Britain must have a Gambling Commission licence.

Our regulatory remit

We are responsible for issuing personal gambling licences for individuals and gambling operating licences for businesses.

We set requirements for all our licensees. These are the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP). We carry out assessments to make sure that licensees are following our requirements.

We use our regulatory powers to take enforcement action if we find individuals or businesses failing to follow our rules and regulations. You can read the latest enforcement action we've taken.

The Gambling Commission’s functions are set out in the Gambling Act 2005 (opens in new tab) as amended by the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 (opens in new tab).

Who we regulate

We are responsible for licensing the following people and businesses providing gambling in Great Britain. We are also responsible for ensuring licence holders meet the relevant conditions of their licence.

Gambling businesses

We need to issue an operating licence to a gambling business for it to operate in Great Britain. The specific type of licence depends on the type of gambling business.

Examples of the types of business we license include:

External lottery managers

A society or local authority lottery can employ an external lottery manager (ELM) to run the lottery on their behalf. However, an ELM must apply for an operating licence.

There is detailed information about the types of licences and how to apply for licensees and businesses.

People working in the gambling industry

There are two types of licences we issue to individuals, known as personal licences.

Personal Management Licenses

For senior staff with responsibilities such as developing the corporate strategy or financial planning for a gambling business. You can apply for a Personal Management Licence online.

Personal Functional Licences

For people working in casinos in roles where they are directly involved in the game or handling money (such as dealers). You can apply for a Personal Functional Licence online.

The application process for both licences include background and criminality checks.

What we don't regulate

Customer redress

We are a regulator and not an ombudsman. This means we do not have the powers to resolve individual gambling complaints or help consumers get their money back.

Our role is to consider if a gambling business has breached their licence conditions. If they have, we will take regulatory action where appropriate.

We make a record of all complaints made against a gambling business. Where consumers share information with us that indicates a breach of our rules, that information will inform any regulatory action that we decide to take.

Customer complaints

We can't resolve complaints about gambling transactions. For example, problems with withdrawals or technical faults in a game.

If you have a complaint, you should complain directly to the gambling business and follow the complaints process.

All licensed gambling businesses must have procedures for handling customer complaints. This includes The National Lottery. Disputes are referred to an independent third party. We may review cases to see if the gambling business has met the obligations set out in its licence.

Issue premises licences

Premises licences are issued by licensing authorities. Licensing authorities are also responsible for issuing permits for low stakes gambling, such as gambling in pubs.

We don’t give legal advice to help develop business models or ideas. But we do provide general information and advice about the Gambling Act 2005 (opens in new tab) and our approach.

Gambling we don't regulate

We regulate most types of gambling in Great Britain. However, a few types of gambling are managed by other regulators.

Small society lotteries

Small society lotteries are regulated by local authorities. They do not require a licence from us, but must be registered with the society's local authority. You can find out more about how to run a small society lottery.

Spread betting

Spread betting which can include things like betting on stocks and shares is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (opens in new tab).

All gambling websites

Our regulatory remit only allows us to regulate gambling websites which trade or advertise to customers in Great Britain. These gambling websites must have a Gambling Commission licence.

To check a company is licensed before you gamble online, look for a link to our public register on the gambling business’ website. Here you can see the type of activities the site is allowed to offer. You can find out more about how to check a site is licensed.