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Licensing, compliance and enforcement under the Gambling Act 2005

The Commission’s approach to risk underpins its licensing, compliance and enforcement functions.

  1. Contents
  2. 1 - Introduction

1 - Introduction

The role of the Commission

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

The principal ways in which the Commission carries out its functions are by:

  • licensing operators and key personnel
  • setting appropriate licence conditions and codes of practice
  • carrying out compliance activities
  • enforcement and prosecution work
  • providing advice.

The Commission also regulates the National Lottery1. The legislative regime governing the National Lottery is principally set out in National Lottery etc. Act 1993 (as amended). This policy statement does not cover regulation of the National Lottery. Details of how the Commission regulates The National Lottery can be found on our website.

The licensing objectives

The Gambling Act 2005 (the Act) sets out the licensing objectives, which are:

  • preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime
  • ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way
  • protecting children and other vulnerable people from being harmed or exploited by gambling.

In carrying out its functions, the Commission is under a statutory duty to pursue and have regard to the licensing objectives. The Commission must also permit gambling, in so far as it thinks it reasonably consistent with pursuit of the licensing objectives.

Statement of principles for licensing and regulation

The Commission is required to prepare, publish, and keep under review, a statement that sets out the principles which will govern the exercise of its functions, and, in particular, explains how those principles will assist the Commission in its pursuit of the licensing objectives. The Statement of principles for licensing and regulation underpins all of the work of the Commission and can be found on our website.

Purpose of this document

This document should be read in conjunction with Statement of principles for licensing and regulation, which it builds on by setting out the Commission’s regulatory policies in relation to:

  • assessing risk
  • licensing operators and key personnel
  • carrying out compliance activities
  • regulatory and criminal enforcement.

Other policy documents

The Commission has also developed a number of further documents which build on the statement of principles for licensing and regulation and govern how it carries out its functions:

These documents are available online on our website.


1 The Commission regulates the National Lottery, by virtue of the Public Bodies (Merger of the Gambling Commission and the National Lottery Commission) Order 2013, which abolished the National Lottery Commission and transferred the National Lottery Commission’s functions to the Gambling Commission. The changes introduced by the Order came into force on 1 October 2013.

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2 - Assessing risk
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