UK Gambling Licensing Laws: Why It's a Safer Bet for All
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 igaming operators to apply for a licence to offer services in the UK.
To gain a licence an online operator must apply to 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' dot com portal are now ushered through a dot co dot 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 igaming 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 you bankroll is always protected.
Finding Great UK Online Poker Sites
Why should you care about the qualities we've already mentioned? Why won't any old UK poker site do? Well, any player who's tried bad real money poker rooms and then tried a good one can tell you that the difference is substantial. Playing only at the best UK poker sites, will ensure that every aspect of your experience – from signing up to signing on, from entering a tournament to multi-tabling, playing mobile poker, or from depositing to withdrawing funds – is as straightforward and easy as possible.
Our reviewers at CardsChat are also dab hands at the world of online casinos, from Texas Hold'em, to Omaha and HORSE, to slots and roulette. So if you fancy a break from the poker tables and want to try a game like roulette or craps, look no further than our list of top UK online casino sites.
If you're still wondering about Internet poker in Great Britain in general, we want to do everything necessary to help you get started on the right foot. Below, you will find a collection of the most common questions regarding regulated, legal online poker and the best UK poker sites on the net. We'll talk about what UK players can expect in terms of traffic, trust, software, selection, and more. Read on for all of the details!
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UK Poker Sites FAQ
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Is online poker legal in the UK?
The UK is one of online gaming's true havens, and that includes online poker. Britain has good homegrown online poker rooms (and web casinos) but if you live in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland you can still play at non-UK Internet poker sites. While there may be some limits on non-White Listed sites for poker when it comes to advertising, there are no rules about actually playing. You can play virtually any card game you want, make deposits with UK currency, and withdraw your cash to a British bank account - no questions asked!
How good is the software at the top UK poker sites?
Since the UK has really embraced online poker, you're going to be looking at government-regulated, well-funded, well-staffed operations. This comes with a lot of perks, one of which being the software that you'll experience.
Good software is the backbone of any top real money poker site and the best UK poker rooms can really afford to blow away the competition. But don't take our word for it - you can sign up for free with a play-money account now, try out a room, then upgrade to a great real player cash account whenever you find the perfect legal UK poker site!
Can I trust poker sites in the UK?
This is one of the most important questions you could ask about any kind of poker site. Internet gambling has its fair share of scare stories involving players from Great Britain losing their funds online in scams. In the early days of online poker these scams were extremely common but now it's easier to know who you can trust.
All of the UK poker operators we recommend have lots of experience in the web gaming business and they've managed to be successful by treating their loyal players well. The best poker sites for UK players will protect your personal information, honour a payment to you in a timely manner, and deal fairly in any disputes that may arise.
How are the bonuses at top rated poker sites for UK players?
Real money bonuses are always a bit complicated because you have to look at how much cash you're earning, how much you have to pay in rake to clear the bonus money, and how much time you have to meet this requirement.
There are all sorts of poker site bonuses, but with the top rated UK poker sites listed above, you can be sure that you're getting a good financial deal. They wouldn't be recommended if they didn't have a lot to offer.
Where should I play UK Internet Poker?
If you're looking for great rooms on the net to enjoy Texas Hold'em, you're in luck. We've saved you the time and expense of trying all of the legal UK online poker sites out first. Our team of experts compare and test dozens of sites to sift out the worst and leave you with the best online poker sites including PokerStars, 888 Poker, Full Tilt, Party Poker, Sky Poker, Bodog, William Hill & Titan Poker. For the very best poker sites UK players can get their hands on, look no further than CardsChat.com.
The websites listed on these pages do not only have exceptional software and expansive card game selections (especially in Texas Hold'em) but generous bonuses packages and clever player features too.
The best real money UK poker sites have perfected the art of web gambling and are now offering a gaming experience that's above and beyond even the real thing. When you join one of these top poker sites for UK players, you know that they'll take care of the details so you can focus on your hole cards.
UK Gaming Tax: Where Players Stand
At the end of 2014, the UK government introduced some important changes regarding taxation for online gambling operators. Since these changes have come into effect, a number of UK players have been asking what that means for their gambling profits.
To clear up any confusion and outline why playing in the UK is still TAX FREE, check out our Q&A on gambling tax:
The online gambling world and UK taxation laws.
As of December 2014, remote operators offering igaming services to UK residents are required to hold a valid gaming licence. Additionally, all licensed operators will be subject to a new Point of Consumption (POC) tax which is set at 15%. In the past, remote online poker controllers did not have to pay UK tax. They would, however, have to pay POC tax on the gross profits they accrued from UK players.
Do I now pay tax on my winnings if I’m based in the United Kingdom?
Not at all. This POC tax is focused only on the online poker operators and not the individual players.
In the UK, betting shops were previously charged 9% tax on a players winnings (differing slightly in each establishment). Through this system, tax was charged on top of the wager or a small portion of the winner's returns was withheld. This dynamic was used across the UK until Gordon Brown introduced changes in 2001.
Since that time, gaming companies have been charged 15% on gross profits and this has subsequently meant punters aren't subject to any taxation. Today, if you enter any high street bookmaker in the UK, both your stake and returns will be 100% tax free. Moreover, you won’t need to worry about paying tax on your winnings at a later date.
Today, any gambling stake, whether it's poker, casino or sports betting, is completely tax free.
Does this affect me as a professional poker player/ gambler?
Poker players and gamblers that are residents in the UK do not face being taxed on their winnings, even if it's there "job". Because of the UK government's definition of gambling, it's debatable whether or not "poker player" can be classed as full time employment. This fact, coupled with the tax free nature of the UK's gambling system, means that you won't have to declare any winnings to the tax man; regardless of whether this money represents your sole source of income.
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