Remember the era before UK Online Casinos? Probably not, but perhaps your grandfather out on the porch might recall them for you. A bygone era, shrouded in the mists of time. In those days, you probably performed your morning ablutions with a washing out of the eyes from the pitcher atop Aunt Victoria’s hand-me-down chiffonier, a time when your evening reading was performed under the light of a newfangled whale oil lamp. It was a simpler time…
[Cue abrupt needle scratch] Seriously? It wasn’t THAT long ago! Parliament just passed the Gambling Act in 2005!
Sure, mobile phones had hinges (but they no longer weighed as much as a car battery), a laptop computer cost an entire month’s salary, and your television displayed moving pictures with a swirl of large dots of color (when it wasn’t displaying static or a sign-off test pattern). But your car was still years away from becoming smarter than you, and if it talked to you at all back then, it was only to observe that your door was ajar. Quite the philosopher, that sedan.
These days, it’s hard NOT to find online casinos, and to help you choose a good one from the grab-bag of contenders, so we’re happy to share a list of the top UK online casinos with you right here:
Online Gambling in the UK
Okay. Brief history lesson. Stick with us; like keno, this might get boring, but there just might be a payoff at the end.
In 2005, British Parliament passed the Gambling Act, which updated and streamlined the country’s many regional gambling regulations. The Gambling Commission was also established at that time. Among its several goals was the mandate to oversee and regulate online gambling, which, at the time, was still in its infancy.
The online gambling baby grew up fast. By 2014 Parliament felt it necessary to sign into law The Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act, which lumped additional restrictions on online gambling. It required any “remote operator” to hold a UK operating license before it could offer gambling to customers in the United Kingdom. Additionally, these remote operators could not advertise their online gambling sites to potential customers in the UK without the operating license.
The 2014 Act also levied a duty of 15% gross profits on all gambling transactions that took place with anyone connecting to the remote operator from the UK.
But even the far-reaching 2014 regulations proved to be less than what Parliament thought was necessary. The Act has been updated several times, most notably in 2015 and in 2017.
First, the Act was updated to include gambling software developers in the licensing requirements. Simply put, if you wanted to develop gambling software that others could use to provide gambling services to UK residents, you needed an operating license.
The 2015 updates also required online gambling operators to offer UK customers a “timeout” and an automatic “self-exclusion” process.
In 2017, updates were added that pertained mostly to accounting and to financial records. For instance, the updates required the online operator provide UK customers with at least the last three months of gambling account information, and further, to provide access to that information for 12 months.
The 2017 updates also required online casino operators to provide an accounting to the UK customer of all deposits and withdrawals the customer had made with that casino. Ever. Additionally, the updates required the online casino to provide a way for the UK customer to set personal gambling limits, not only over the customer’s entire account but for specific games, as well.
Oh, and one last thing: the minimum gambling age in the UK is 18.
See, that wasn’t so hard. Pretty brief, as history lessons go. Sure, there wasn’t much of a payoff, but don’t you feel smarter for the experience? No? Well, there’s no pleasing some people.
Seriously, though, with all the effort Parliament has put into regulating and re-regulating gambling in the past decade, it’s not too hard to see why the United Kingdom is famously considered one of the most stringent and secure online gambling venues in the world.
What to Expect at a UK Online Casino
First off, some UK online casinos offer a limited set of games that are playable on your browser; no downloading of software is required. Simply make a deposit, select a game, and begin playing. As long as your browser is up to date with HTML5, you’re good to go.
By the way, Adobe Flash is being phased out (due in part to its numerous vulnerabilities to hackers), so it’s probably best if you don’t download or install Flash just to try that new slot machine. For the record, Adobe has announced it will cease support for Flash in 2020.
In any case, to access the full gamut of gambling opportunities, you’ll probably need to download proprietary software. This isn’t a bad thing. Specialized software can provide you with a much better gambling experience (and frankly, a more secure one, as well). It’s impossible, for example, to play live dealer baccarat without first downloading the casino’s specialized video streaming software.
As we noted earlier, all online casinos catering to UK customers must obtain a license from the Gambling Commission, and that licensure requires adherence to stringent regulations concerning what they may and may not offer in the way of games, bonuses, and money transfers.
When you sign up with a UK online casino, you’ll need to provide the site with a modicum of personal information, and—if you want to gamble–you’ll need to make an initial deposit (required minimums can vary; some are as low as £10). Be sure to do some research and use any sign-up bonus you might discover. Oh, don’t make that face; the sign-up bonuses are easy to find. They’re usually mentioned in the online casino’s advertisements.
About that deposit. Most, if not all, online casinos doing business in the UK offer a wide range of pay methods, including PayPal, Visa, Maestro, Mastercard, Neteller, ecoPayz—need we go on? Okay: iDebit, Skrill, entropay, Boku, INSTADEBIT, Trustly… You get the idea. If you have money, someone has already discovered a way for you to get it through that little USB port and into your account on their website.
Most UK online casinos offer the full range of popular slot games, and here’s why: Most gambling machine manufacturers recognized early on that online gambling was going to be kinda big, so they set themselves to developing online versions of their gaming inventory. You can even find mobile versions of many of your favorite slots and table games.
Most online casinos have Cleopatra, Bust the Bank, Wheel of Fortune, and a list of hundreds of other slot games. You’ll also find the video versions of table games such as poker, blackjack, roulette, and even keno.
Almost every table game you can imagine is available at a UK online casino. They won’t just offer you baccarat; they’ll offer you punto banco, as well. Roulette? How about speed roulette, twin-ball roulette, American roulette, French roulette, immersive roulette?
You like blackjack? You are in luck: UK online casinos offer blackjack, blackjack perfect pairs, classic blackjack, European blackjack, hi-lo blackjack…
And poker! Have you seen the poker these sites have available? Oh. Em. Gee. You got your Texas hold’em, your three-card poker, your casino hold’em, your Caribbean stud—It’s like your favorite brick and mortar casino now delivers!
One recent addition to online gambling is live dealer games, and UK online casinos have wasted no time moving to the front of the live dealer action. Yes, you’ll find live dealer versions of baccarat, Texas hold’em, blackjack, three-card poker, and Caribbean stud. But you’ll also find live dealer dreamcatcher, and even the occasional live dealer table offering sic bo.
Tips For Gambling At UK Online Casinos
1 – No-Deposit Signing Bonus
Sometimes, what seems too good to be true is actually true, and that’s the case with the no-deposit sign-up bonuses offered by some online casinos. The casino is giving you free money to sign-up with their casino. It’s what the retail industry calls a loss-leader. The casinos are willing to take a loss of a few pounds for the probability that you will keep playing and deposit more money with them.
So by all means, seek out the no-deposit bonuses. Play them until they’re spent. Remember, however, that if you win, you’ll probably need to make a real money deposit to get access to those winnings.
2 – Will RNG Finally Be the Death of the Gambler’s Fallacy?
What are the odds that when you flip a coin, the result is going to be heads? Even money, right? What about after you’ve flipped it 100 times (and the results were heads 36, tails 64)? Will the next flip be heads or tails? What are the odds?
Still even money. If you arrived at a different conclusion, you’ve just fallen victim to the Gambler’s Fallacy, an error in logic so endemic to the gambling world that they named it after us. You see it everywhere; the red and green displays next to the roulette wheel showing the last dozen or so numbers, is a prime example.
Even though most of us are familiar with the concept of Random Number Generators (RNG), we still haven’t noticed that every spin of the slot machine, every card dealt, every throw of the dice is a discrete action, and is independent of both past and future actions.
No flip of a coin can predict what the next flip will be. It’s that simple. The siren song of the Gambler’s Fallacy may be sweet and seductive, but it is the soundtrack of failure.
3 – Free Is Good
Many UK online casinos offer access to free versions of their games. The odds, the payouts (in play money), the look of the game itself, these are all the same as the real money versions, so take advantage of it whenever you can, particularly when considering a game you haven’t played before. Gambling lessons are almost always expensive, so why not mitigate that expense whenever possible? After all, the best teacher is experience.
4 – Take Advantage of The Many Bonuses Offered
Brick and mortar casinos are often located at vacation destinations. UK online casinos have to use other methods to attract gamblers. Apparently, every online casino got the same memo, because they all offer some manner of bonus for sign-ups, deposits, and redeposits—some even offer customer loyalty bonuses.
That translates to free money for you. Easy there! Not so fast. Every bonus has rules attached, usually in the form of rollovers. Generally speaking, a certain amount of your bonus will be released (rolled-over, as it’s usually called) to your bankroll account based on how much of your own money you’ve wagered.
For example, let’s say a UK online casino offered you a 100% bonus just to sign up, and your initial deposit with them is £100. You don’t automatically have £200 to play with, just your initial deposit of £100. How could this be? You mean the casino isn’t giving away money?
First of all, you’re going to need to wager (not lose or win) a multiple of that £100 you deposited. For instance, you might need to wager 20x your deposit to get the sign-up bonus (we’re not math majors, but we’re going to guess that means you need to place £4,000 in bets to roll-over that £100 sign-up bonus.
Doesn’t sound nearly as good as it did a few paragraphs ago, does it? Actually, it’s still money you didn’t have, and experienced gamblers know they’ll see £4,000 worth of action relatively quickly. On the other hand, that still seems like a lot of work…
Well, the online casinos figured that out, too. Instead of making you wager that entire £4,000 to get at the £100 bonus, they ration out chunks of it as you gamble. For example, you might receive £25 of that bonus whenever you have wagered a total of £1000.
Don’t forget the redeposit bonuses that are likewise doled out, as well as the VIP bonuses, and the loyalty bonuses, and the various seasonal bonuses; one might think these UK online casinos want you to place a bet. Maybe. It is definitely a firm possibility.
What are you waiting for? Scroll to the top and take a tour of the list of top UK online casinos we’ve assembled for you at the top of this article. Don’t forget what we told you. Except for that jab at keno. Sorry keno players.