Online Casinos and Their Licensing

With the online casino market growing rapidly in different parts of the world, strict licensing is becoming more important every day. Like any other multi-billion dollar industry, the market attracts both reputable and questionable companies. Only solid regulations can help to keep online casino brands in check and protect players.

Fortunately, there are already many trustworthy gambling regulators and authorities around the world. Since they’re mostly backed by governments, they’re usually named after the country or territory where they exist. Their rules and regulations may slightly vary, but they all work around the clock to keep online gambling in their jurisdiction safe and fair.

So far, their policies and monitoring activities have helped to keep the iGaming market sane. Players in jurisdictions with top regulators enjoy gambling in safe and secure online environments. Continue reading to learn about the best casino licenses and how they work.

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Most Common Types of Licenses

When it comes to online gambling regulation and licensing, Europe currently leads the way. Many European countries and regions have government-authorized bodies overseeing online casinos. Nevertheless, there are still many other non-European regulators respected around the world. This section introduces the most common types of online casino licenses today.

Curacao eGaming License

Established over 25 years ago, the Curacao eGaming Authority is one of the most popular regulators today. The authority issues offshore gaming licenses, which allow operators to offer their services to players in various gaming jurisdictions. It is commonly used by online casinos operating in unregulated markets, especially outside Europe.

One of the things that make the Curacao gambling license popular is the ease of acquisition and affordability. Another one is its “one license policy”, which means that Curacao-licensed online casinos can also offer other forms of gambling without having to obtain a different permit.

Malta Gambling License

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is another popular regulator that issues offshore licenses. Although it is not as old as Curacao eGaming, the Malta iGaming license is the most trusted offshore online casino license. MGA-authorized online casino sites are popular across Europe and many other continents.

Malta online casino sites that wish to offer other forms of gambling must acquire the licenses separately. Furthermore, the regulations, licensing process, and player protection policies at casinos licensed in Malta are stricter. It also takes players’ complaints seriously and provides excellent mediation.

UK Gambling License

For any online casino to operate in the United Kingdom, it must hold a UK gaming license. The British Gambling Commission (UKGC) is responsible for awarding licenses and regulating online casinos. Its regulations are mostly focused on protecting players in the UK, but some of its licensed casinos also accept players from other jurisdictions.

In terms of reputation and trustworthiness, the UKGC is the closest to the MGA. However, it has stricter regulations and player protection policies. For example, in the UK, you must verify your account with the necessary documents before you can play any casino game. On the other hand, MGA casinos only request verification before withdrawal.

Gibraltar Gambling License

In Gibraltar, online casinos are supervised by the Gambling Commissioner (GGC). Although not as popular as the first three regulators, the GGC has a high level of trust in the industry. It issues both remote and non-remote licenses to gambling operators.

The Gibraltar gambling license and yearly renewal fees are also costly, compared to Curacao. However, it has very strict rules and player protection policies. It also pays attention to player-casino disputes and responds quickly.

Isle of Man Gambling License

The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission is responsible for licensing and regulating casinos on the Island. Its license is known as the OGRA license and operators have to follow very stringent procedures to secure it. Casinos with the OGRA license are required to have their servers located on the Island.

The commission focuses on protecting users with its solid policies. It also offers easy dispute resolution through the IOM official website. While the license cost is high, it is still lower than that of the GGC.

Why Casino Licenses Are Essential

The license held by a casino determines the laws it follows. Online casinos that operate without licenses do not answer to any authority and are most likely not following any fair gaming policies.

As noted earlier, casino regulators do more than just licensing operators. They supervise the licensees to ensure that they stick to the laws in the gaming jurisdiction and protect their players. They also identify casino sites that violate their policies and help players get what they deserve.

For iGaming brands, operating with a license is also necessary. It gives the casino site credibility and makes players feel secure. Furthermore, players in the jurisdiction where the casino is licensed can also enjoy playing games legally. Those in other countries that allow online gambling without unregulated markets can also experience safe gaming at sites with remote licensees.

What it Takes For An Online Casino to Obtain a License

Many gambling regulators subject potential licensees to many background checks to verify their reputation. While the specific process may slightly vary, iGaming authorities always want to ensure that gambling companies with their license are reputable.

They scrutinize the applicant’s financial background, criminal background, and their business practices. Licenses are issued only to applicants who meet their requirements.

Here’s a summary of the general casino license acquisition process:

  1. Pay the license application fee.
  2. Fill in all the necessary forms.
  3. Submit the required personal documents. These usually include identity documents of owners/managers of the brand, bank reference letters, criminal records, utility bills, and others.
  4. Provide company documents such as business plans, RNG certificates, software agreements, and many others.
  5. Wait for approval from the gambling commission.

The approval timeframe varies from one regulator to the other. Curacao eGaming is the fastest among the top iGaming authorities.

Instead of applying directly, many casino brands go through white-label software companies to get their licenses. These software companies understand the requirements better and help to speed up license acquisition. Some casinos also function with the B2C license of white-label companies.

Other Global Jurisdictions Offering Online Casino Licenses

Apart from the already featured gambling commissions, there are many other iGaming regulators in the world. Some of these gambling authorities only cater to their countries while some others cater to specific regions in a country. For example, in the US, gambling is regulated by state governments. As a result, there are many regulators in the country covering only their specific states.

Only a few other regulators provide licenses for global players. Here are some of them:

  • Kahnawake Gaming Commission
  • Lithuania Gaming Control Authority
  • Alderney Gambling Control Commission
  • Estonian Income Tax and Customs Board
  • Panama Ministry of Economy and Finance
  • Antigua and Barbuda Directorate of Offshore Gaming

Pros and Cons of Playing at Casinos with Multiple Licenses

Top online casinos that operate with multiple licenses are the best. Players in various jurisdictions can access such casinos without legal barriers. Furthermore, you may be able to play with such casino accounts when you travel out of your country.

For example, if a UK-based player travels to another European country, they may be able to access UKGC-licensed casinos that also have an MGA license. Even though it may require reaching customer service sometimes, it eliminates the need to open a different account.

Casinos with multiple licenses can also offer huge local jackpot games. Such sites have a large player base and this makes the jackpot prizes bigger. You stand a better chance of winning bigger prizes on such platforms.

Nevertheless, there are some drawbacks to playing at casinos with multiple licenses. Due to the conflicting requirements or policies that jurisdictions may have, the casino may not be able to customize its services to different regions. That means players will not get the same offers or services. You may not get the same bonus as some regions or may have limited games available to you.

Using the same casino when you travel out of the jurisdiction may also be difficult as some platforms have different versions of their sites for various locations. If you access such sites, the offerings available to you in the previous locations may be unavailable. This is less likely at casinos with just one license.

Regardless of the difficulties, playing at a casino with a license from your local jurisdiction is the best. You get the protection of the local authority if there are any issues and you can also play without fear of breaking any law. It’ll also be easy to get your winnings in your local currency.

Casinos Facing Licensing Issues

When casino operators violate the terms or policies of their regulators, they risk being sanctioned or having their license revoked. The extent of the punishment is determined by the severity of the licensing breach. The sanctions may be limited to general warnings, suspensions, or fines.

For instance, the MGA suspended an operator “Green Father Online Limited” on August 7, 2023. The operator was banned for offering gaming services but mandated to give registered players access to their accounts and funds. However, the suspension was lifted less than two weeks later after an appeal and necessary actions taken by the operator.

Casinos that breach the policies frequently have higher chances of getting their licenses revoked. iGaming regulators like the UKGC and MGA publish sanctions on their official websites.

Future of Online Casino Licensing

In recent times, many countries and territories are beginning to acknowledge the potential of the online gambling market. As a result, they are developing regulations to protect residents and also reap the maximum economic benefits of the industry.

These new regulators draw inspiration from established jurisdictions like the UK, Malta, and Curacao. They make their policies friendly to operators and safe for players at the same time.

An example is Ontario, where the legal iGaming market kicked on in April 2022. Since then, the Canadian province has registered several gambling brands and has over 64 online casinos running legally.

Just like Ontario, many more countries and regions around the world are expected to create their iGaming regulations in the coming months and years. This might reduce the need for offshore licensing but may lead to increased costs and complexity for operators. For players, it will ensure better protection and safety.

Furthermore, iGaming authorities are expected to adapt to technological advancements such as cryptocurrencies. Many top crypto casinos already operate in different jurisdictions and a few traditional casinos are accepting cryptos. Nevertheless, this may just be the beginning of a broader trend. As the acceptance of cryptocurrencies grows globally, regulators will likely permit more traditional casinos to embrace them.

Conclusion

The importance of playing at licensed online casinos cannot be overemphasized. Only regulated casinos can offer you safety and fair gambling. Playing on unlicensed platforms exposes you to the risks of losing your private information and losing funds to fraudsters. Worse still, you may be breaking the law of your country and get into legal trouble.

But what if a fraudulent casino claims to be licensed? Thankfully, top iGaming regulators make it easy for players to verify casinos licensed by them. You can visit the iGaming authority’s website and search through their list of casinos. In addition, you can always check our site for honest casino reviews before playing on any platform.

Always take your time to pick reputable, licensed, and safe casinos. Fortunately, you don’t have to look too far. You can simply scroll through our complete list of licensed online casinos and choose one.

While playing at licensed gambling sites is important, it doesn’t end there. You must also make up your mind to gamble responsibly only. Play casino games with only funds that you can afford to lose. Also, do your best to stick to your gambling budget at all times and never play under pressure. We wish you the best of luck in your gambling adventure.

Which Bitcoin casino license is the best?

Typically, the best license for you is the one issued by the government-approved authority in the region or country where you reside. Such gambling authorities make sure that their policies protect those living in their jurisdictions.

If your nation or state does not regulate online gambling, you may consider casinos with other licenses. Verify that the license allows the casino to accept players from your location and that it offers some form of protection. In these cases, offshore licenses are the best.

However, due to its endorsement of cryptocurrency payments, the Curacao gambling license is the best for Bitcoin casinos at the moment.

What if I play at unlicensed crypto casinos?

Playing at iGaming sites without licenses is risky. Such casinos may not be guided by fair gaming policies and cannot be checked by gambling authorities. They may also offer rigged games and may not protect your data. We recommend playing only on licensed platforms.

Is it legal to play at crypto casinos that are not licensed in my country?

The answer to this depends on the laws of the nation you reside in. While many countries are open to crypto casinos, a few prohibit the operation of all online casinos. Take a moment to check the regulations in your country before you start playing.

How do I report a casino to its regulator?

The complaints procedure varies from one regulator to the other. Generally, you simply have to visit the regulator’s official website and find the complaints section, then follow the instructions there. Also, you may find the complaints procedure or the details of an ADR organization on the casino website.

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