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Updated on: 11 August 2016

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While binary options was originally invented in the USA, it’s also extremely popular in the United Kingdom. People living in the UK however are wondering if financial betting actually legal or not in the country. This is a legitimate question considering that binary betting involves real money.

The answer is that yes, financial trading are at this moment legal in the United Kingdom and there are many UK licensed binary options brokers available for traders. On this page we’ll discuss the regulation of binary options in the UK.

Below this paragraph you will also find a list of binary options brokers licensed in the UK. In some cases, the listed brokers might have a license issued by another European country than the UK but only those companies are listed that have their offshore licenses officially validated in the United Kingdom.



Is Binary Options Trading Legal in the United Kingdom?

Yes, binary trading is at this moment legal and regulated in the United Kingdom. This means that traders are legally able to trade financial instruments online at UK licensed binary options brokers. This also means that brokers are allowed to accept UK traders obviously.

The United Kingdom was one of the first European countries to legalize financial betting. This was because the UK has always been one of the primary countries when it came to forex trading in the past. Forex trading is very similar to binary trading, so UK authorities decided to legalize online trading as well.

At this moment financial service providers wishing to accept the registration of UK traders will have two choices. The first choice is to apply for a UK binary options trading license. The second option is to apply for a license in another European country that has a licensing system compatible with that of the UK.

Both of these kinds of brokers are allowed to offer legal binary betting in the United Kingdom. Traders are naturally also allowed to trade at both kinds of brokers. What traders should however not do (while it’s not illegal per se) is to trade at brokers not licensed anywhere.

Brokers licensed in other European countries

At this moment the binary options laws of the United Kingdom are more or less the same to those of other European countries. This is because European Union regulations require member states to implement laws that can be applied in all member states.

So, if a financial service provider that is licensed in the UK wants to offer its services in Germany, it can freely do so because that broker operates under European Union laws, which are compatible with German laws as well. This is also the case for brokers licensed in other European countries than the United Kingdom. For example, if a broker is licensed in Cyprus then that broker is legally allowed to operate in the United Kingdom as well, because the online trading laws and regulations of Cyprus are more of less the same as the ones of the UK.

So, all legal European binary options brokers are implicitly also legal UK binary options brokers. If you live in the United Kingdom, then trading at an Italian broker is from a legal and safety perspective exactly the same as trading at a UK licensed binary options broker.

However, you should not trade at brokers that are not licensed in any place. It is not illegal to trade at such brokers; this is not the issue. The issue is that brokers that are not licensed at all are not safe and should not be trusted.

UK Binary Options Regulations

There are at this moment multiple government agencies in the United Kingdom that regulate financial betting. These agencies closely watch the online trading market and the activity of the brokers that are licensed in the UK or whose other European licenses were approved in the UK.

The UK Financial Service Authority

Traditionally it has been the UK FSA that regulated binary options. However, in April 2013 the UK Government decided to disband the FSA and create two new authorities. In the past, the FSA was responsible for both the creation of new regulations and the enforcement of these regulations.

The FCA and the FPC

When in April 2013 the UK Government disbanded the Financial Service Authority it established two new organizations in its place. These are the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Financial Policy Committee (FPC).

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is tasked with the development of new regulations and rules that will have to be followed by United Kingdom binary options brokers. The Financial Policy Committee (FPC) will make sure that the binary options brokers licensed in the UK will follow these rules.

What the government basically did was to divide the tasks of the former FSA into two. The government felt that if the creation of new regulations and the enforcement of these regulations will be done by two separate agencies, then the UK financial service market could be regulated much better.

Binary Options Brokers Licensed in the UK

As explained above, there are really two types of binary trading brokers legal in the United Kingdom. The first types are those that actually have a license issued by UK authorities. The second are those that have licenses issued by a different European country, which are valid in the United Kingdom too.

There is really no difference between these two types of licenses. Licenses issued by other European Union countries are as valid as UK licenses because both licenses function under European Union laws and regulations.

But as we said, the only thing you should avoid is registering at brokers that are neither licensed in the United Kingdom nor in any other European Union countries. These brokers are not safe and are highly likely a scam.

As said initially on this page, above you will be able to find a toplist of legal United Kingdom binary trading brokers. Some of these brokers have real UK licenses and some of them have other European Union licenses that are officially accepted by the United Kingdom.

Check out these legit UK binary options brokers if you want to stay safe and only trade at 100% legal brokers. Also, we recommend you check out our additional online trading articles and strategy guides to learn how to win in financial betting.

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Fred Spanner
Fred Spanner

Traderskings – have an Offices in London, Amsterdam, Dubai & now Cyprus possibly US ?. Are they regulated ? as they say they are ? in 1. UK. ? 2. Cyprus ? are they to be trusted ? are they really licenced at all ? Licenced in anyway at all ? Licenced in any country? Are they allowed to keep / retain funds from there clients ? If they say to you, if you invest up to or over $100k USD your not under any Tradersking rules from that point on! and you believe them, & then invest, then they… Read more »

Stacey Zuckerman
Stacey Zuckerman

I must warn you all check out the Binary Option Company you are trading with. Over two weeks ago I made a deposit with PlusOptions (£500,1). When I realized it was like gambling and I was not dealing in real stock as I was told. I asked for my deposit back, I did not do a trade with them, because it is not for me. I must not find out what license they operate under. Since I started asking for my money back, I have not had any reply to my emails. No a good sign at all.