What is The Gambling Age in The UK?

What is The Gambling Age in The UK?

Put simply, the legal gambling age in the UK is 18. But as with all rules, there are exceptions and in some cases it is possible for 16 year-olds to legally gamble in the country. 

This article will summarise the gambling regulations in the UK and explain why they have been put in place. 

Let’s take a look. 

What is the Legal Gambling age in the UK?

The Gambling Regulations UK are governed by the Gambling Act of 2005, which received royal assent on 7th April 2005. Part 4 of the Gambling Act, titled “protection of children and young persons,” contains the gambling age regulations. 

In the United Kingdom, the legal gambling age is 18 years old.

The UK Gambling Commission was also established with the act as a regulatory body of the country, providing regulation on all types of gambling – online, casinos, slot machines, arcades, as well as the National Lottery. 

The Gambling Commission’s most recent changes added additional protection against remote minor and underaged gambling, requiring all licensed gambling businesses in the UK to verify the age of their potential gamblers and punters before making a deposit or a bet. These rules lengthen the registration process in online casinos and sportsbooks, but they intend to keep minors away from gambling.

Why Are These Regulations Put into Place?

Even though most gamblers in the country are over 18, almost half of teens between the ages of 11 and 16 are said to have engaged in some kind of betting activity, the latest statistics on gambling in the UK reveal. 

These are alarming numbers regarding minors’ gambling habits and developing trends, transforming them into potential gamblers with serious additional problems, such as being unable to have a normal life or keep their jobs due to developing a gambling addiction. 

Legal Gambling Age: the UK vs. The World

When compared to the rest of the world, the legal gambling age in the United Kingdom is lower than some other countries. 

  • USA ⎯ 18-21 age ⎯ Any state has the authority to decide where players can gamble and what gambling is prohibited.
  • Canada ⎯ 18-19 age ⎯ Provincial governments conduct and manage gaming within their own province, so the legal gambling age in Canada varies from province to province. Betting on horse races is prohibited for all.
  • Australia ⎯ 18 age ⎯ Both for land-based and online operators
  • Belgium ⎯ 18-21 age ⎯ Depends on the type of the game
  • Austria ⎯ 16-18 age ⎯ 16-year-olds can take part in lotteries by some local laws
  • China ⎯ 18 age ⎯ The only legal forms of gambling are the Welfare Lottery and the Sports Lottery.

Gambling Age Legality Across different gambling types in the UK

Now that we’ve looked at the legal gambling age in the UK, let’s take a more detailed look at gambling legality across different types of activities.

  • Horse racing ⎯ People under the age of 18 are permitted on the track during a sporting event, they are not permitted in any area where betting facilities are provided.
  • The National lottery ⎯ All players of The National Lottery games must be 18 or older and physically located in the United Kingdom or the Isle of Man. 
  • Scratch cards ⎯ As part of the National Lottery, they are also available for purchase by those aged 18 and up.
  • Casino ⎯ Blackjack, slots, and roulette, among other games, can only be played at land-based casinos or online by people over the age of 18. However, no one under the age of 18 is allowed to enter a casino.
  • Poker ⎯ is another popular form of gambling that can be done both online and in person. The legal gambling age for playing poker in poker rooms in UK casinos is 18.
  • Bingo ⎯ Playing online bingo is one of UK’s favourite games, both on the ground and online. The legal age to participate in bingo is 18 years old. Young people under the age of 18 are permitted to enter bingo halls.
  • Entertaining arcades ⎯ The legal gambling age for playing arcade games is 18 years old.
  • Football pools ⎯ are legal for those aged 16 and up.
  • Sports betting ⎯ both in person and online, is available to those over the age of 18.

*Before you start gambling online, make sure you do your research and only gamble on websites that are legal in the UK.

Penalties and Consequences: What Happens if you Gamble Illegally in the UK?

Now that we’ve looked at the legal gambling age in the UK, let’s look at what happens if you gamble illegally.

  • Children and young people must not enter a casino, a betting shop, or an adult gaming centre.
  • It is illegal to invite, cause, or permit a child to take part in a lottery
  • If a player is caught gambling under the legal age of 18 years old, he will be subject to a fine of £1,000.
  • The underaged gambler will have his winnings confiscated and be banned from the gambling premises.
  • The UK Gambling Commission can impose a range of penalties on businesses that breached a licence condition, including unlimited fines and suspension/revocation of licence.
  • Committed offences can reach a fine up to £5000.
  • In extreme cases, the courts can also senten

It’s important to note that the legal gambling age in the UK is in place for a reason – to protect consumers and stop young adults from turning into gambling addicts. The country already has a very high gambling addiction rate with 2.7% of the adult population being classified as problem gamblers. 

Final Thoughts

We hope that now that you’ve learned everything there is to know about the legal gambling age in the UK and why it’s so important to follow the law.

Remember, if you suspect you may develop a gambling addiction, it is best to seek professional help.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *