Report No. 276
A. Gambling & Betting In Different Jurisdictions
1. United Kingdom
6.2 Initially governed by the Public Gambling Act, 1845, today, the United Kingdom's gambling and betting industry is governed by the United Kingdom Gambling Act, 2005. Section 3 thereof defines gambling, to be inclusive of "gaming", "betting" and "lottery". Section 6 of the Act explains 'gaming' as playing a game of chance for prize.
It defines a 'game of chance' to include a game, which involves an element of chance and skill; or a game involving an element of chance that can be eliminated by superlative skill but does not include a sport. The Secretary of State may, by regulation, provide that a specified activity can be treated as a 'game of chance' for the purposes of this section.
6.3 Betting has been defined under Section 9 of the Act as accepting a bet on the outcome of a race, competition or other event or process, the likelihood of anything occurring or not occurring or whether anything is or is not true. The actual outcome of the bet is of no significance whatsoever. This broad definition also includes betting on sports within its ambit.
6.4 The Act regulates gambling and betting practices in the country and aims to protect "children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling."123. To achieve this objective, the Act covers a wide range of practices associated with betting and gambling, such as paying an individual to deliberately lose a game and to profit from a bet placed on the result of the game124. Section 50 of the Act allows persons above the age of eighteen to take part in all gambling activities while persons above the age of 16 are allowed to play the lotteries and private or non-commercial betting and gambling.
6.5 Under Section 20 of the 2005 Act, a body corporate called the "Gambling Commission", is constituted, which regulates gambling and betting activities through licensed operators. These operators act as betting intermediaries providing related services. The operators also have to pay a Remote Gaming Duty to finance the working of the Commission.
6.6 The 2005 Act allows for imposing limits on stakes, fees, winnings or prizes. Recently, the Minister for Sport and Civil Society, announced a reduction on the upper limit of stakes on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals from £100 to £2. In order to cover any negative impact on the public finances by such reduction, and to protect funding for vital public services, this change will be linked to an increase in Remote Gaming Duty, paid by online gaming operators, in the relevant Budget125.
6.7 Betting in the sport of cricket is regulated in the United Kingdom by the England and Wales Cricket Board Rules126 along with the 2005 Act.
6.8 Britain's Gambling Industry is one of the largest in the world and continues to increase in size. It generated a Gross Gambling Yield of £13.8 billion between October 2015 and September 2016. Online gambling generated a gross gambling yield of £4.5 billion that amounts to 33% of total gambling in Britain.
This implies that online gambling is the largest gambling sector in Britain. Over the same period, the National Lottery generated £3.4 billion, of which £3.3 billion was generated by the high-street betting sector and £1 billion by traditional casinos. Between April 2016 and March 2017, the National Lottery contributed £1.6 billion towards social causes127. In 2016, a total of £208 million was raised for social causes through large society lotteries, recording a 10.5% increase over the previous year128.