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UK vs. USA Gambling Regulation: a Comparison

There are big differences between the US gambling regulations and the UK and its regulations. The betting industry within the UK is regulated and has clear laws in place by the government. If you compare this to the US, where each state has its own set of rules and regulations. In the UK, gambling is perfectly legal on all types of gambling activities by the government. It started in the UK back in 2005 when legislation was put in place. The UK Gambling Commission is the regulator that licenses operators in the country. 

If we compare this to the US, where every state has its own rules and regulations regarding gambling activities, it is much different. Two states that regulate gambling in their prospective states are Colorado and New Jersey. The Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission controls gambling in the state of Colorado. In New Jersey, it’s the Division of Gaming Enforcement. Both of these work like the UKGC, creating a fair industry that is safe and regulated. Both the UK and the US will award gambling licenses to those operators who are trustworthy and transparent.  

Responsible Gambling Practices

With regards to the UK, there are strong clear responsible gambling regulations in place. These regulations are there to protect every player from any gambling-related problem. If you were to take the risk and use casinos not licensed in the UK, these features will not be in place for your well-being. The UK Gambling Commission requires every operator to implement measures such as self-exclusion, age verification, deposit limits, and time-outs. Every operator is required to offer research, treatment, and education to problem gamblers through the GambleAware program. 

Responsible gambling in the US varies in every jurisdiction and state. Some states have added self-exclusion measures and problem gambling helplines; it all depends on which jurisdiction you are gambling from. As online gambling increases and more US online casinos operate, there will be a big emphasis on responsible gambling measures. This will then assist gamblers affected by problem gambling.

Approach to Online Gambling 

In the UK the gambling industry is well respected and well-established over the years. The UK Gambling Commission controls and oversees all online gambling operators in the country. They must ensure that all the operators provide a fair playing field for everyone. Online betting is available for every player who is a UK resident. There are different types of gambling activities available including casino games, sports betting and poker. 

In the US, gambling rules and regulations differ depending on the state in which you are living. Several states have legalised online gambling and sports betting, while others still ban them from operating. There is still a debate at the federal level about online gambling. Through the Wire Act and UIGEA, the state has an impact on interstate online gambling transactions. Gamblers can use some states for their gambling requirements, while other states have strict laws or constitutional prohibitions. 

Sports Betting 

This is the most popular form of gambling in the UK, with millions of bettors placing bets every month. There is a long history of sports betting online and within betting shops, often referred to as bookmakers in the United Kingdom. Through the UK Gambling Commission, all operators are regulated. This means bettors can rest assured that these businesses are following compliance and are following responsible gambling laws. 

In the US, there have been some big changes over the last decade in the sports betting industry. From 2018 each state in the US gained the power to legalise and regulate sports betting. This was taken away from the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). Since this change has come into effect, many states in the country have legalized sports betting. Bettors can place bets in retail sportsbooks or online sites. It is important to understand the rules of the state you are betting in, as each state operates with different policies. 

Differences Between the UK and the US

There are lots of differences between the US model and the UK model, especially when it comes to gambling safety. These come down to several factors, but most importantly, the gambling regulatory bodies in both countries. A good example of the differences is GamStop, which is a UK initiative that is very popular within the UK. Both the UK and the US are at the forefront of regulating online gambling content and making it safe for players to enjoy. The UK Gambling Commission is well known for being strict and making sure every operator is professional. The US is still learning the ropes in many ways and has a lot of scope to learn. 

It is important that whichever country you are using to gamble, you know the rules. As you have seen in the US the regulations from state to state can change dramatically. With so much money available to states through the taxation of gambling, it is just a matter of time before other states get involved. This is a billion-dollar industry and an extremely popular pastime. 


Both countries offer different approaches when it comes to regulatory frameworks. The UK version is more centralised which means that the UKGC oversees all forms of gambling. It also prioritises consumer protection and responsible gambling. While in the US the industry is decentralised with states offering different controls and regulations. There is little doubt that both countries take gambling seriously. They both understand the protective measures required for a safe, transparent industry.