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Victim of crime

What happens when your money is stolen and used for gambling, how we deal with scams, fraud and how our investigations work.

Published: 23 September 2020

Last updated: 15 June 2021

This version was printed or saved on: 25 May 2024

Online version: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/public-and-players/guide/victim-of-crime

Overview: If money has been stolen from you or your company and has then been spent on gambling, it is a criminal matter and you should contact the police.

When money is stolen and used for gambling

You can contact the police by calling 999 to report emergencies, or by calling 101 for non-emergencies. You can can find out more about contacting the police on GOV.UK (opens in new tab).

Calls to 999 and 101 numbers are free.

You may also wish to seek legal advice. You can find out more about finding free or affordable legal help on the Citizens Advice website (opens in new tab).

Scams and fraud

We want to ensure that you are able to spot, and stay safe against various scams and fraud.

Before gambling, make yourself aware of the following scams and frauds that you may encounter.

Binary options

Binary options are a type of bet where you try and predict the outcome of events in financial markets, such as the rise and fall of stocks.

From 3 January 2018 any UK firms that offer binary options have to be authorised and supervised by the Financial Conduct Agency (FCA) (opens in new tab). If you have doubts about whether a gambling business is authorised do not use them. It is likely that they are acting illegally.

Unauthorised gambling businesses are likely to use false names, addresses and contact numbers.

Eligible customers will have access to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (opens in new tab). These protections cannot compensate you for any losses. You should be careful and consider whether the products are right for you.

Online scratchcards

Some money-making schemes will ask for a monthly fee in return for digital scratchcards. Customers may also be told that they will receive scratchcards if they encourage more people to play. In doing this, the player could be committing the crime of promoting an illegal lottery.

Anyone who wants to promote a lottery in Britain must have a gambling licence from us or be registered with their local licensing authority.

You can check if an organisation has a gambling licence by using our public register. You can also ask the lottery organiser which local licensing authority they are registered with.

Lottery scams

You should also be aware of the potential for lottery scams.

How our investigations work

If concerns are raised about a licence holder then we can investigate.

When we investigate a gambling business, we will collect certain information about them to see if they are being consistent with:

We require that gambling businesses comply with these rules and make sure they are putting their customer's welfare first.

If we feel that these requirements are not being met we can take action.

Our statement of principles

Every case we investigate is different, but we will always use our statement of principles for any decisions we make. These decisions can include financial penalties and enforcement for licensing and regulation.