Best casinos with a UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) licence
Casinos with a UKGC licence are sought by both Canadian and UK players. Among many players in Canada and the US, the UK Gambling Commission is often considered the most reputable gaming authority in the world and it’s fair to say they’ve earned themselves the credits along the way. To make casinos meet their objectives, the UKGC scans all online operators to the very last detail, which has given them quite a reputation not only in the UK, but all across Europe and even in North America.
Canadian players who sign up at a UKGC online casino can rest assured that they’re joining a fair and secure gambling website. Before we move on and tell you what the UKGC is all about, we’ll give you our latest top list of online casinos with this reputed licence. Make sure to check back every now and then as this guide is regularly updated.
UK Gambling Commission: for both UK and non-UK players
The United Kingdom Gambling Commission, often referred to as the UKGC, is one of the world’s leading licencing bodies that regulates gambling not only in the UK but also on a global scale. The UKGC was established under the Gambling Act 2005 with the objective of regulating both gambling and the National Lottery (that is under the 1993 National Lottery Act) and its main goal has never changed: preventing gambling into turning to a source of crime or any illegal action. The Gambling Commission is also there to ensure all gambling activities are performed fairly and openly, with the users’ best interest in mind. The policy and actions of the UKGC are intended to protect underage players and other vulnerable people from experiencing any harm from online gambling related activities.
What to expect from a UKGC casino?
Before an online operator gets a licence from the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, it must go through a strict process patented by the authority. The process of both obtaining and maintaining a licence by this gambling body is rather complex. Applying for a licence consists of the verification of the gaming activity an online operator wishes to offer, the financial position, its ownership, competence, amongst other things. To meet these requirements, online operators have to follow strict rules of conduct that involve:
- The protection of people from gambling-related harm.
- Commitment to fair and open gambling.
- Performing frequent checks to prevent money laundering and organised crime.
- Compliance with the technical software standards.
- Complaints handling and alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
The UKGC offers three types of licences of which the online operating licence being the most important for Canadian players looking for an online casino (the other two being land based oriented). The UKGC is considered one of the best licencing bodies in the world that has managed to live up to its mission of upholding a fair and legal gambling environment for players ever since it was founded in 2005. As an online casino’s experience is also affected by the overall performance of a website, with a UKGC casino, you should be able to count on:
- A prestigious licence that sets out strict requirements for the online operator.
- A safe and encrypted gambling platform.
- Rapid and responsive customer support.
- Industry-approved software solutions.
- Random and fair game results.
The rules imposed by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission apply to websites operating in the UK, however, it’s not required for an applicant to be actually based in the United Kingdom — which makes these websites available for users from other countries as well. The main requirement for obtaining a licence is that players from the UK can gamble online in a fair and safe manner and that the applicant is not based in a country that is blacklisted. This means that casinos that work with a licence issued by the UKGC are situated in a developed country and hold a strong licence.
Are UKGC casinos considered safe?
Yes, we dare to say that all casinos that hold a licence by the UK Gambling Commission can be considered safe. The UKGC is considered one of the most reputable gaming authorities in the world and has various key areas of focus, including:
- Player Protection: making sure that licence holders cooperate with measures that are meant to protect players with gambling behaviour that is deemed risky.
- Fair Gambling: making sure that licence holders work with software solutions delivered by licenced software providers.
- Transparent Marketing: making sure that licence holders offer fair and transparent advertisements and other promos.
- Protection of Player Funds: making sure that licence holders keep customer funds segregated from their own business and operating funds.
- Player Identification: making sure that licence holders put sufficient steps in place to check the identity of online users, including the visitor’s age.
- Cash Handling: making sure that licence holders take steps to prevent money laundering. Online safe and legal payment technology can be used.
- Customer Support: making sure that licence holders have the right systems in place to log customer complaints, answer questions and resolve other issues.
Online operators that hold a UKGC licence must meet the rules put down by the Gambling Commission at all times, which includes maintaining honest and transparent communication after acquiring the licence. If these rules aren’t met, the operator will risk having its licence revoked as well as further investigation or even prosecution.
Our selection of UKGC casinos: checked and hand picked
The online casinos listed by Vernons will give you the best possible experience as they work with a licence by the UKGC and are accessible for users that are based in Canada.
All of the online casinos included on our page have been tested and approved by our highly skilled team of casino professionals. A strong licence is a good indicator for a website’s overall performance, but there are more criterions to take into account. For more information please have a look at our detailed casino reviews, but rest assured as we evaluate our recommended casinos based on a wide range of performance metrics:
- Owner: without a reputable owner, the casino would’ve never gotten the licence, but in order to know more about the company behind the casino we also make sure to double check the casino’s ownership. We consider this extra important in case of new online casinos that are still working on their brand reputation.
- Games: the UKGC makes sure the operator works with reliable providers and other suppliers, but Vernons breaks down the operator’s portfolio and sees how well they perform in terms of their game assortment.
- User friendliness: the website will need to offer a safe platform for players, but its user friendliness is also an important factor for a casino. We make sure to evaluate an operator’s website functionality as one of the most important performance metrics. Apart from needing to be safe, it needs to be easy to use as well.
- Promos: the UKGC makes sure to assess the promos offered by a casino in terms of their fairness and so do we. The difference here is that Vernons takes a further look at the feasibility for Canadian users as we’re focused on the market in Canada. This guarantees the availability of casino deals, such as welcome packages for players that are based in Canada, and saves them a lot of work.
- Banking: the UKGC licence is available for both UK and non-UK users which means that a lot of international banking methods are available. Although this includes a lot of e-wallets and traditional banking solutions such as a bank transfer, a lot of Canadian based players would prefer to use Interac or other more Canada oriented solutions. Vernons makes sure to check Canada specific banking methods.
UKGC Licence vs other licences
As the UK Gambling Commission was founded upon passing the Remote Gambling Bill in 2005, they have turned out to become one of the world’s leading gambling authorities. This is why a lot of players prefer to stick to casinos that work with these licences, even if there are other licences available in their own country of residence. This is something that applies to the Canadian market as well which is why there are a lot of casinos that have turned their attention to North-American while using their UKGC licence. This is rather logical if you ask us as the UKGC has a lot more authority and experience when compared with gabling associations in North America where the market has opened in recent years.
UKGC licence compared to other licences
This explains that the UKGC is clearly not the only licensing body on the market, but it is undoubtedly one of the best and some would even say the very best. For users in the UK, casinos with a UKGC licence should be their only option if you ask us. Needless to say, for this particular group of players, the gambling commission is a local regulator that will always do its utmost to protect players from its own country of operation. Licences are granted and audited by a governmental body that sticks to the law in the UK. As such, addressing any inconvenience is a lot easier for players based in the UK. For players based in other countries this is somewhat more difficult in terms of taking legal action, but luckily websites are strictly audited meaning the number of escalated issues is a lot lower too. Licensing bodies such as the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) are also considered highly competent while the same can be said about most other European options such as the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association (GBGA), and the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission.
Less reputable casino licences
Licences offered by gaming authorities that are based outside of Europe are generally considered a lot less favourable which certainly holds for Curaçao. This licence is used a lot by online casinos that prefer to buy their permission via a shortcut instead of earning it. The authority based in Curaçao isn’t government owned, but rather a private company selling private licences. This also means that there aren’t any relevant tests, checks, audits, or whatever you want to call it, which clearly negatively affects the overall reliability of the licence. We’re not saying that every casino that holds a Curaçao licence is dodgy, but it requires some extra attention at least. The advantage of a licence issued on this Caribbean island is that it allows operators to accept deposits and withdrawals in crypto. This is why most casinos that want to use crypto prefer to apply for a Curaçao licence.
Pros and cons of UKGC casinos
We have tried to be as transparent as possible about all the pros and cons of a UKGC licence and some of the other licences, and our guess is that you should have a clear idea by now about all the advantages and disadvantages that come with this well known gambling permission. Resumed this would give us the following pros and cons:
- Highly prestigious licence: one of the best in the world.
- Only the very best casinos obtain a UKGC licence
- UKGC casinos offer promos to Canadian users as well.
- Most UKGC casinos are accessible in Canada.
- Casinos don’t have to be located in the United Kingdom to apply for a licence.
- Recognised licence in many jurisdictions: both for UK and non-UK players.
- Excellent, but still not Canadian.
- Casinos with a UKGC-licence don’t accept credit cards.
- Bonus buy features not allowed.
FAQ UKGC casinos
Are casinos with a UKGC licence safe?
Yes, if an online casino has managed to obtain a UKGC licence we definitely believe this casino is brought to you by a strong organisation. If not, the UKGC would never hand out the licence. Any UKGC licence is therefore generally considered safe and secure.
What are the best UKGC casinos in Canada?
There are a lot of international casinos that work with a UKGC licence, but the best ones are clearly the websites that are available for Canadian users. Vernon includes a list of the very best options for Canadian players.
Are casinos with a licence from the UK available in Canada?
Yes, although the licence isn’t officially issued by a Canadian authority, most websites are available to North American players, including Canadian users. All the casino websites you’ll find listed at Vernons are available in Canada.
Do casinos with a UKGC licence offer promos for Canadian users?
Yes, they do. Vernons has included a list of valid promos for Canadian players. This includes a welcome package, reload bonuses, free spins, and other types of promos. We frequently update this top list, so make sure to check out our latest casino picks.