Gambling at Home: A Guide to Obeying Laws and Maintaining Relationships

Here in the United Kingdom, online gambling is available to anyone of legal age who wants to try their luck.

So, online gambling makes it possible to enjoy the thrill of real risk — and perhaps win real money — any time and anywhere an Internet connection is available. With the constant availability of online gambling, though, the potential for addiction has become greater than ever. Few forms of entertainment could provide more fun than a hand of online poker or a few spins of online roulette wheel — in moderation. If you’d like to gamble online safely, allow us to give you a few pointers.

UK Laws for Online Gambling

In general, online gambling is legal for all people in the UK aged 18 or older pursuant to the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1963. However, all casinos — even those located outside the UK — must apply for licenses from the UK Gambling Commission. In short, it is the responsibility of the Gambling Commission to ensure that casinos conduct games fairly and have no connections to organized crime. More importantly, a license from the Gambling Commission ensures that a casino pays taxes as it should. Pursuant to the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising Act) of 2014, even overseas casinos must pay a 15 percent tax on revenue from UK gamblers. The benefit for you is that gambling winnings in the UK are tax-free.

In short, to gamble online legally in the UK, you must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older.
  • Gamble at a casino with a license from the UK Gambling Commission.
  • Provide proof of your identity to the casino if asked.

Why do online casinos require proof of identify from UK gamblers? According to the Money Laundering Regulations of 2007, casinos must exercise due diligence in verifying the identities of all gamblers to mitigate the risk of gamblers laundering money through false identities. So, if you’re asked to provide a copy of your driving licence before making a deposit with an online casino, don’t fret — it’s the law.

Maintaining Healthy Relationships When Gambling Online

The potential for addictive behavior exists in all forms of gambling. However, many forms of gambling require leaving the home and that’s a bit of a limiting factor. An online casino is always open and ready to take your bets, though. For some, the compulsion to try “just one more bet” during a losing streak is simply too strong to resist.

The signs of possible gambling addiction include:

  • Hiding your habit from your family or lying about the amount of money that you spend
  • Betting more than you can afford to lose
  • Spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about gambling when you have more pressing tasks
  • Avoiding friends and family or lashing out when someone suggests that you may have a gambling problem

Gambling, whether online or otherwise, has the potential to cause lasting damage to your relationships with family and friends. Here, we’d like to provide some advice that can help you recognize the signs of unhealthy gambling before it goes too far.

Difficulty Living in the Moment

Do your friends and family notice a certain disconnect when speaking to you — even about serious topics? Do you find yourself unable to fully enjoy time with loved ones because you’d rather be gambling online? If you have trouble deriving full enjoyment from the daily activities that used to give you pleasure before you discovered online gambling, try to reverse that behavior by remembering that online gambling isn’t your real life — it’s just a diversion. You probably don’t avoid your loved ones when you watch movies or play video games. There’s no reason to avoid them when gambling online.

Asking Loved Ones to Cover Your Debts

Have you ever created a financial bind for yourself by gambling more than you could afford to lose? If you have ever accrued so much debt from gambling that you were unable to pay your personal expenses — or needed just a “bit more money” to get to your next winning streak — then you have spent an unhealthy amount on gambling. If you feel the need to ask your family or friends for a loan to cover your debts, you risk compounding the problem by straining your personal relationships. According to a 2013 BBC survey [1], 18 percent of Britons feel as though they have “serious financial issues.” If nearly one out of every five people you know can’t afford to loan money to you, how do you think they would feel if you asked them to help you out? It is possible to find a place for online gambling within a healthy entertainment budget. If you wouldn’t feel comfortable spending a certain amount of money on attending a football match or viewing a film, though, you shouldn’t spend it on gambling, either.

Feeling Angry When Asked to Return Loans

Have you ever borrowed money from a friend or family member and felt angry when asked to return it — even if you no longer needed the money except to fund future gambling? If your online gambling habits have ever gone so far that you felt it necessary to seek a loan — and earned enough money to repay the loan — you’re very fortunate. After all, gambling wouldn’t be called “gambling” if the odds weren’t against you. Don’t compound the problem and risk straining your relationship further by holding back the money you owe. Repay the loan and stop gambling until you can truly afford the potential losses.

Feeling the Need to Perform for Audiences

Have you ever gambled online in front of family or friends and felt uncontrollable anger because you experienced a losing streak? Perhaps those feelings led you to continue placing bets even though you couldn’t truly afford to do so. Although you shouldn’t hide your online gambling from loved ones, it’s important to recognize the seeds of compulsive behaviour and stop them before major problems result. If you’ve taken a loss in front of friends, shrug it off and move on to another activity. Considering the odds, the same thing would have probably happened to any of them.


  1. Nine Million in ‘serious’ Debt across the UK.” BBC News. BBC, 27 Nov. 2013. Web.