If you live in the United Kingdom and you’re an avid poker player, you’re sitting pretty. UK poker players have access to some of the best online poker sites in the industry and there is a thriving land-based poker room scene. These online sites and land-based poker rooms offer a huge variety of table limits as well as an excellent array of the types of poker available to play. It’s never been better to be a UK poker player than it is now and that’s thanks to the UK’s laws regarding gambling and the onus that these laws place on gambling establishments to provide a safe and fair environment in which players can indulge in their favorite games.
A Little History
Poker has long been considered the king of card games. Players have been perfecting their poker faces for generations. Cards have been dealt and bets have been placed on tables throughout the world and this once back-alley game has become a billion-pound industry. Nowadays, professional poker players can take part in prestigious tournaments in the hope of winning millions and those at the top of their game are revered and hero worshipped by legions of fans. Amateur poker players can perfect their skills at any number of online poker sites and many of these sites offer free-play games, so newbies can learn the ropes of the game without spending any of their hard-earned pennies.
Gambling on games of skill was first made legal in the UK in the 1960s. It was during this time that small-fry betting shops began to spring up on local high streets, followed quickly by land-based casinos. In 2005, the 1968 Gaming Act was updated to allow for much larger casino entertainment establishments on par with the casino venues of Las Vegas. The year 2014 saw stricter laws in place that ensured no casino, online or land-based, could operate without a licence from the UK Gambling Commission.
A license from the UKGC is a guarantee that a casino adheres to a strict set of regulations that pertain to player safety and gaming fairness. For poker players, this means they can play their favorite games safe in the knowledge that any winnings that come their way will end up in their hands. It also means that when playing online, their personal and financial data will be protected by state-of-the-art security measures and that the RNG games are truly random and fair. It also means that if UK players are playing on the UK version of any online poker site they can still play against players from around the world, but all their transactions will be filtered through a UK based site.
Casino Sites for UK Poker Players
We’ve stated that all UK gambling sites are licensed and regulated by the UKGC, but every now and then a rogue casino might slip through the cracks. In order to ensure that you’re playing poker at a reputable site, it’s imperative that you check each casino site for the UKGC logo. We recommend utilizing the services of a good review site to find the best and most trustworthy UK casino sites. This is the idea behind CasinoPilot, a casino-related portal that sifts through all the top casino sites in UK out there in order to compile lists of recommendations.
They only recommend poker sites with all the licensing and security measures in place; they look for the best bonuses and promotions; they check that there are plenty of excellent payment methods and they pay close attention to whether the games on offer cut the mustard. If a casino has made it onto their list of the best poker sites, you can be sure that you’re in for a great ride. All that’s left for you to do is make sure you’re at the top of your game.
The Tax Situation
A major bonus for UK poker players is the fact that, thanks to the latest gaming laws, they don’t have to pay any taxes on their winnings. In the early days, bookies were expected to pay around 9 percent on their player’s winnings. Bookies offset this by charging players a tax on their bets or keeping back a portion of their winnings. In 2001, the tax situation was changed and betting UK casino sites are now required to pay 15% on their gross profits. The change was a boon to players because it meant they could no longer be charged a tax by the UK casino and they do not have to pay tax on their winnings. Even professional poker players that play poker for a living are not required to pay tax.
The Online Bonanza
As previously mentioned, there are plenty of ways for poker players to get in on a game. The rise of online UK poker sites has made it easy and convenient for players to quench their poker thirst at any time of the day or night. UK online casinos offer secure payment options for players to make deposits and withdrawals, which means it’s also extremely easy to place online bets. We particularly appreciate the fact that casinos online offer betting limits to suit a vast range of budgets. Beginners can get to grips with a number of RNG poker variations without breaking the bank and poker pros can live it large as high roller VIP’s.
Online sites in the UK also offer live casino games. Live casino poker games offer players the opportunity to experience a land-based casino atmosphere from the comfort of their own homes. Well-known and trusted software companies, such as Evolution Gaming and NetEnt, produce these live casino games from high-tech studios using state-if-the-art equipment. The poker tables are set up just as they would be at a land-based casino. The real-life dealers are professionally trained super-hosts; they talk directly to players through the camera and players can interact using the specially designed software. The games are filmed from multiple angles using HD cameras and the whole shebang is live streamed in real-time.