UK Poker Sites

UK Poker Sites

Many British citizens love poker but can't get away to a casino as often as they'd like to. For these people, online poker can be a great way to play for real money without having to go to a physical facility. Digital poker is becoming increasingly popular, and there are many different sites that will allow you to get in on the action if you're a citizen of the United Kingdom.

Like residents of any other country, though, Britons are often unclear about the laws and practices that apply to their use of online gambling services. Matters like general legality, payment processing, age requirements and the applicability of taxes often leave people scratching their heads. If you've been looking for information about playing online poker in the United Kingdom and the laws that are applicable to it, you're not alone. Here's what all British citizens who are interested in online poker need to know before opening an account with a poker site.

Can You Legally Play Online Poker in the UK

Although there are many common misconceptions about the legalities of playing poker online, the practice is entirely legal in the United Kingdom. UK poker sites are subject to Britain's considerable gaming regulations and laws, a fact which actually makes them some of the best poker platforms in the world from a player's perspective. Because they are fully regulated and must operate under government licensing requirements, poker websites in the UK are safer and more reliable than in many other parts of the world. Even better is the fact that most major poker platforms in the UK are extensions of real casino businesses that have been operating legally for decades. If you want to play poker online, the United Kingdom is easily one of the best countries in the world to live in.

How Does the UK Apply Regulations to Poker Websites?

In order to obtain a license to operate in the UK, online poker platforms must undergo extensive testing and demonstrate their ability to comply with a slew of fairness and business practice guidelines. UK gaming authorities sometimes conduct random checks to ensure that platforms are held to high quality standards. There are also critical security and financial laws in place to ensure that the money players use to fund their accounts is kept safe for them.

Even under a strict regulatory regime, there will always be mistakes and even good faith disputes between parties. For this reason, British law requires all gambling service providers to retain the services of an ADR, or alternative dispute resolution entity. Players who have disputes with service providers can refer their complaints to the relevant ADR for an unbiased third-party review to which the provider will be bound. This provides yet another layer of safety for Britons who use online poker platforms and other forms of digital gambling. In the event that a player is not satisfied with an ADR's decision, he or she still has the option to take the service provider to court to resolve the dispute.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Play Poker in the UK?

As is the case in most countries, British law places certain age restrictions on who is eligible to participate in gambling. To play poker online in the United Kingdom, you need to be at least 18 years of age. This age restriction is lower than those applied by many other countries. In the United States, for example, the minimum age to participate in gambling is 21.

How Do Laws Treat Third-party Payment Providers?

In countries with murky or vague laws about online gaming, players often have trouble moving money into their accounts because third-party payment providers are unwilling to risk potential legal liabilities for facilitating transfers of gambling funds. Online poker sites in the UK, however, face no such issues with payment providers. Because online gambling is completely legal and well-regulated in the United Kingdom, payment providers don't face any potential repercussions for helping players or platforms move money.

This situation actually provides immense convenience to online poker players. In the absence of concerned payment providers, players can move money quickly and easily, in much the same way they would conduct any other digital transaction. If you have a credit or debit card, you can quickly deposit funds into an online gaming account and begin using it for betting within only a few minutes. Compared to countries where unclear legal standing makes it difficult for players to fund their accounts, the UK is an extremely convenient place to open an online poker account.

Is Mobile Poker Legal in the United Kingdom?

Unsurprisingly, British law allows not only online gaming, but also app-based gaming. If you want to access poker sites on the go, you can easily play online poker from your smartphone or tablet without running afoul of any UK legal codes. This makes it easy to play poker for entertainment wherever you may find yourself.

Do You Have to Pay Taxes on Poker Winnings in the UK?

The United Kingdom is an extremely rare case when it comes to taxes on poker winnings and income from gambling more generally. Players are not required to pay taxes on their winnings, thanks to a change in British tax law made in 2001. This law avoids a form of double taxation and prevents any EU citizen from having to pay taxes on gambling earnings in the UK. It should be noted, however, that no solid information has yet come forward about how Brexit will affect this situation, so the tax regime in the United Kingdom could change in the next few years with respect to gambling earnings. For the moment, though, there is no major push afoot to tax poker or other gambling winnings in the UK.

That is not to say, however, that gambling is not taxed in the UK. Rather than the players, the casinos, betting parlors and platforms that facilitate various forms of gambling are the ones that pay taxes on the activity. These establishments are required to pay taxes on their profits from providing gaming services, but these taxes do not affect players who win money from them. In this way, the gaming industry can contribute to the British tax base without incurring the massive complications that would arise from having players report all of their winnings and losses as itemized lists at the end of every tax year.

Keep in mind that you may be subject to a special tax situation. If you are a non-UK citizen using a UK poker site or a dual citizen, other taxes may be applicable to you. Always be sure to look into the tax laws of all jurisdictions you're subject to, since overlapping tax codes could result in payment complications.

Other Information About Online Poker and Gambling in the UK

The United Kingdom has one of the most vibrant communities of gambling enthusiasts anywhere in the world. According to the UK Gambling Commission, some 48 percent of British adults participate in recreational gambling. Of those, about 17 percent did at least some of their betting online, a fact that is a testament to Britain's progressive laws in the area of gambling. The gambling industry in the UK brings in approximately £4.5 billion per year, providing the country with a large tax base of both online and offline gambling providers.

Poker, though now a favorite of British gambling enthusiasts, was introduced to Britain only in the second half of the 19th century. Through the late 19th and early 20th centuries, poker remained somewhat underplayed in Britain, as more traditional card games were still favored by most citizens. In the later 20th century, however, the game began to take on a fresh appeal, and many Britons began enjoying it in casinos. Since then, the advent of online poker in the UK has made the game even more popular, and more British citizens are enjoying it today than ever before.

The UK is home to several leading poker sites. Among the most popular UK poker sites are PartyPoker and 888Poker, both of which are among the largest online poker platforms in the entire world. Aside from British citizens, many international poker players prefer to play on UK-licensed sites that also cater to players in other countries. This fact reflects the general level of trust that the UK's gambling regulations have cultivated among players from around the world.

Whether you're a beginning gambler who wants to give online poker a try or an experienced player who is looking for a more convenient option than a physical casino, there are few better countries to be based in than the United Kingdom. From its stringent and consumer-oriented regulatory regime to its extremely favorable tax laws, the UK is quite friendly to those who play poker and other games of chance online. If you've been considering online poker, start looking at poker website reviews to find a platform that's right for you, and you can be set up with a functioning poker account in practically no time.