Online bingo in the UK is popular, profitable and 100% legal. This is one of the few countries in which internet gaming isn’t just “semi-legal” or “quasi-legal.” The industry is actively monitored and regulated in a manner that provides protection for the players whilst simultaneously not crushing the industry with burdensome taxes and regulations.
The government of the UK has hit a sweet spot with its regulatory system that keeps the players safe and still makes it possible for bingo websites to earn a profit. You might have even seen an advert or two for online bingo recently. This is a great place to live if you enjoy a good game of bingo.
UK bingo sites are regulated by the Gambling Commission whose job it is to oversee all online gaming across the UK. The commission is responsible for issuing licenses, ensuring gambling sites play by the rules and that they present themselves to the public truthfully. The commission has proven to be effective at protecting the players, so for the best experience I would recommend you play at a bingo website licensed to do business in the UK.
Here are my top picks for licensed, legal bingo sites in the UK:
The Legality of Online Bingo in the UK
Prior to implementation of the Gambling Act, UK law didn’t specifically address online gambling. The Betting and Gaming Duties Act 1981 addressed remote gambling to a degree but didn’t completely settle the matter or fully legalize online bingo or any other form of wagering. It was the passage of the Gambling Act 2005 that created the legal environment we have today in the UK.
The Gambling Act 2005 established the UK Gambling Commission and laid forth the rules, regulations and licensing requirements for any operator wishing to accept internet wagers from the UK. The act specifically mentioned three goals as its primary objectives:
- Preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder
- Ensuring that gambling conducted in a fair and open way
- Protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling
With those objectives in mind, the Gambling Act laid forth the legal framework under which all gambling and bingo would work. Any bingo site that accepts wagers from the country must be licensed and submit to regular audits to ensure it meets the three objectives laid forth above.
The passage and implementation of the Gambling Act created a favorable situation for bingo players in the UK. As a resident of the country, you have access to a large number of safe and licensed real money bingo websites.
Neither bingo nor any other form of internet gaming is expressly prohibited in the UK. Lawmakers decided long ago to forgo prohibition in favor of regulating the industry and protecting the players. As such, the UK serves as a positive example for other countries considering implementing something similar.
The favorable legal climate for online bingo in the UK makes it easy for you to move your money to and from bingo sites. Banks and other financial institutions are free to do business with gambling sites. You can make deposits with your credit card, transfer money electronically, use e-wallets such as PayPal and fund your account with prepaid vouchers such as Ukash.
Getting your money back out is just as easy. If you end up winning money, you can have that money sent straight to your bank account. The best UK bingo sites process transactions in both directions instantly or within a few business days at the most.
The ease of banking is one of the primary reasons I recommend you stick with licensed sites in the UK. Legal bingo sites don’t face the challenges that offshore companies face when accepting deposits and paying winners. In some other countries, long wait times are the norm thanks to unfavorable legislation.
Bingo Operating License
The UK Gambling Commission differentiates between different forms of online gaming. Casino sites must apply for a casino license, bookmakers must apply for a sports betting license and so on. Anyone applying for a bingo license must demonstrate the ability to host truly random games, maintain stable servers, clearly display information to the players and more.
In short, obtaining a license is a rigorous process designed to weed out halfhearted attempts at online gaming. Any bingo site that goes through the trouble of being licensed in the UK can be considered a safe place to play for real money.