Understanding UK Tax Legislation for Gambling Winnings


The UK is among the most regulated markets for gambling worldwide. It also comes from the UK, one of the most respected licences granted by the UK Gambling Commission. Still, British laws on the issue can be confusing to newcomers. So, this article serves as an introductory guide for those who want to enjoy this timeless pastime safely and legally.



Gambling has been regulated in the UK since 1968, a bill from which the Gambling Act from 2005 has modernised. Simply put, gamblers don’t pay taxes on their winnings. Instead, the government taxes operators. These include online and land-based casinos, sportsbooks, lotteries, bingos, and more. Operators pay a 15% tax on their revenue, whether online, as is the case with online operators such as NetBet, or land-based casinos and betting shops.

Players can walk away with their winnings without paying a penny in taxes being due. Still, it’s advisable to keep a detailed gambling record. Recently, a First-Tier Tribunal (FTT) almost ruled that one gambler should pay a GBP 450,000 fine on the GBP 300,000 he earned. The defendant allegedly earned it during six years of profitable gambling.

Yet, the defendant failed to prove that all the money came from such activity. Although the HMRC questioned the defendant’s version, the appeal was accepted, and no fines were charged. Yet you should keep track of your winnings for such unlucky situations should they arise.


We don’t mean to fill you with endless paragraphs of Acts and bills. So, we’ve prepared a detailed FAQ section, where you’ll find useful and concise information.

Are Professional Players Taxed for Their Winnings?

No. Professional gamblers are also exempt from taxation. Still, someone playing professionally should keep an organised record of one’s activity. The HMRC can charge fines to those gamblers who fail to prove where the income came from.

What Kind of Gambling Activities Are Permitted in the UK?

UK laws on the issue are quite comprehensive, and the British player can’t complain about a lack of options. Bingo, lotteries, machine games, casinos, horse and greyhound racings, you name it. The UKGC has regulated games for all tastes.

Is It Allowed to Gamble on Offshore Platforms?

Yes. Online gambling has been allowed in the UK since the 2005 Act. Foreign operators must also pay taxes to the HMRC. In fact, the government went after foreign operators catering to British players, which were avoiding taxes. Since 2014, with the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act, foreign operators must also apply for a British licence when catering to a British clientele.

Are Gambling Laws the Same All Over the UK?

Not really, Almost all countries in the UK enjoy pretty comprehensive

laws. However, the activity isn’t regulated in Northern Ireland yet. The Acts laid by the British government are only valid in Great Britain. Still, players from Northern Ireland don’t pay taxes on their winnings.

Responsible Practises

The problem of gambling is taken very seriously in the country. That’s why part of its revenue is directed to institutions that deal with gambling addiction. Indeed, the British laws protect the gambler while taxing the operators. Thanks to the strict criteria imposed by the UKGC, players can enjoy safe gambling platforms. Still, keep the receipts of every win you make in the case you need to support your claims in court.

Evan Palmer

The author Evan Palmer

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