How to start an online casino in the UK is a question frequently asked by casino operators already working for other markets, as well as by those who are completely new to the industry. The United Kingdom online gaming market is known to be one of the world’s largest markets, and thus one of the most attractive and profitable for remote gaming service providers. However, entering this market represents quite a challenge because of the rigid internal regulation and rules one has to observe in order to operate legally and have an opportunity to promote services among UK players. Let’s have a look at some key facts to be considered while getting started with an online casino in Great Britain.
According to the Gambling industry statistics April 2013 – March 2016 Report of the UK Gambling Commission, remote gambling services provided to local clients (online casinos included) made total GGR of £4,47 bn from April 2015 to March 2016, which is 33% of the total gaming industry GGR. Online casinos generated 57.5%, and remote betting 35.1% of the total GGR, thus making a total of 92.6% of the remote gaming revenue. The remaining share belongs to bingo, betting exchange and pool betting.
The number of active player accounts across all online gaming platforms within the described period reached a handsome 22.87m, and 24.65m new accounts were registered. Remote operators held funds equal to £607.04m within these accounts.
Online gaming services provided to customers in Great Britain are regulated by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). From 1 November 2014, online casinos need to obtain a remote license from the UKGC in order to be able to accept players from the UK and promote themselves on the local market. Getting a UK remote license is also important if you are planning to cooperate with large game content providers, such as Microgaming and NetEnt, because they are only providing their games to licensed operators to be further spread among UK customers.
In order to obtain a UK remote gaming license, you need to submit an application to the UK Gambling Commission and provide all necessary supporting documents. Before making so, it is important to learn the strict technical standards and security requirements to make sure that your casino platform meets all of those. The license is usually granted within 16 weeks from the moment of application. It is highly advisable to consult a local lawyer to make the application procedure quicker and smoother.
It should also be noted that casinos which target other parts of the world except UK shall take care of a gambling license from another reputable jurisdiction, such as Malta or Curacao, because the UK license only permits operation on the local market.
As mentioned above, the UK Gambling Commission pays special attention to technical parameters and security standards of a casino applying for a license. Those cover information on player accounts, financial transactions, game rules and the probability of winning; auto-play functionality and time-critical events; certified RNG and clear definition of game results; possibility of interrupted gambling; setting money limits; responsible gambling information; time limits and reality checks, etc.
Thus, when choosing a software provider for the operation, it is necessary to make sure that the online casino platform you are going to use meets all of the UKGC requirements. For example, we at SoftSwiss have paid attention to learning the specific UK standards and adapted our platform accordingly to make sure our software is 100% ready for UK remote license application.
UK players are no exclusion among other gamblers, preferring slots to other types of casino games. Gross gaming revenue generated by slots in April 2013 – March 2016 made £1,751.55m, which is 68.1% of total online casino GGR. The second place was taken by table games with £400.79m and 15.6% of the GGR, and the third one went to the card games with £188.83m and 7.3% of the GGR. As far as game content developers are concerned, there are no specific preferences here with various vendors competing for players’ attention. UK players simply enjoy high-quality games with top-notch design from famous providers. The bigger the choice of games, the more potential the casino has to succeed.
Currency and payment systems
The currency in a casino operating on the UK market should be GBP. UK players prefer to use their credit cards for all financial transactions, but other payment methods are also used, so having a standard choice of Skrill, Neteller, bank transfers, etc. is also a must. Good news is that the UK Gambling Commission has officially acknowledged Bitcoin as a payment alternative, so running an online casino which accepts Bitcoin is a nice competitive advantage.
Marketing and promotion
While many countries prohibit or limit advertising of online gaming, the UK is open for all types of promotion including ads in the Internet (e.g. Google Ads), television, radio and print media. The only requirement, again, is that the casino holds a UK remote gaming license.
All in all, launching an online casino in the UK requires certain preparation and legal work, but is worth it because of the great potential and development opportunities. With the trusted partners on your side, you can take your share of this attractive market and include UK customers into your player portfolio. SoftSwiss is eager to share knowledge on related matters and provide complete technical and software support.