In November 2014, the UK government enforced a new set of policies related to online gaming sites. Part of a two-step process, the initial change forced remote operators to apply for a licence to offer services in the UK.
To gain a licence an online operator must apply to the UK Gambling Commission. Once an application has been processed and accepted, the company is not only free to offer gaming services in the UK but advertise to UK residents.
Following these changes, many of the online poker and casino industry's major operators have adjusted their platforms to comply with the new regulations. As is now common, players based in the UK are filtered through a specific portal before given access to a site's range of games.
For example, UK players that once anted-up via PokerStars' US portal are now ushered through a UK domain. Doing this makes it easier for online operators to monitor their UK-based players and determine localised revenues. These figures are then needed for taxation purposes.
From a player's perspective, the changes haven't altered the way in which UK residents access their favourite online games. Despite being funnelled through new portals, there are no restrictions barring poker players from competing against players from other licensed regions.
In terms of safety, the new licensing laws in the UK have helped to make the industry more secure. Following numerous legal incidents across the world, the online community is often in a state of uncertainty when it comes to the legality of a particular site.
Fortunately, for UK residents, this is now no longer a problem as any site that is licensed by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is fine to play on. Moreover, because the UKGC vets each operator before a license is granted, you can rest assured that every site we recommend is 100% safe. Everything from an operator's random number generator, to the way it holds players' funds is checked and then routinely monitored by the UKGC.
Overall, this means that when you choose one of our recommend UK poker sites, you'll know that your chances of winning are fair and that your bankroll is always protected.