What is betting?

“Betting” is defined in the Gambling Act 2005 as making or accepting a bet on the outcome of a race, competition, event or process, something occurring or not occurring, or whether anything is or is not true. A transaction may still be a bet even if the event has already occurred, or one party to the bet already knows the outcome.

Can a competition fall into the definition of betting?

Yes, prize competitions can be regulated as betting. If a person is required to pay to enter and tries to guess an outcome, the competition could still be regulated. This applies even if there is no traditional betting “stake” paid to enter.

What is pool betting?

“Pool betting” is a particular type of betting where winnings are based on the amount staked by those participating and divided amongst the winners.

What is a betting intermediary?

A “betting intermediary” provides a service allowing others to bet with each other, often called a betting exchange.

Is spread betting regulated in the same way?

Certain regulated financial activities, such as spread betting or binary options, do not fall within the legal definition of betting and are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority rather than the Gambling Commission.

I have lost money betting. What can I do?

Licensed gambling operators must have procedures in place to handle customer complaints. If a complaint cannot be resolved with the operator, the customer is able to refer the matter to an independent alternative disputes resolution entity (ADR) free of charge, in order to rule on the dispute.

If you think you have been treated unfairly by a gambling operator, you can check whether the operator is licensed by the Gambling Commission using its public register service.

This will allow you to search the brand of the licensee to find out the name of the operator. A complaint should then be raised with the operator in the first instance.

How do I find out more about betting law?

The laws around betting are complex with many pitfalls. You should always obtain detailed legal advice about your specific situation before proceeding. Please contact Richard Williams using the details below for further advice.

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This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice relating to your particular circumstances. Please note that the law may have changed since the date of this article.