A Closer Look at Online Gambling Jurisdictions: Regulations and Licenses
Your safety must be of the utmost importance when gambling online. So, looking for an online casino, the first thing to take into account is a license.
The gambling entertainment industry is subject to laws and regulations. It is a must for gambling sites to have a license to provide legal and safe services. What’s more, a licensed online casino is much better perceived by players who want to place bets in a safe and trustworthy place.
The license proves that an online casino has been checked by the regulatory authorities and meets the standards and requirements in the field of online gambling. What’s more, the presence of a license from a well-established government body confirms the fairness of games, guarantees legality, improves reputation, and helps to win players’ loyalty.
Let’s delve deeper and discover more about gambling jurisdictions types and their importance, as well as learn about the top 5 iGaming regulatory bodies.
Why Casino Licenses Are So Important?
Online gambling has become one of the most popular forms of entertainment all around the world. Thousands of online casinos appear annually, bringing even more mind-blowing experiences to players. Nevertheless, the fact that every online casino is 100% safe is far from the truth.
Inexperienced gamblers may come across illegal and suspicious gambling sites. To distinguish a reliable online casino from a dangerous one, online casinos tend to have licenses issued exclusively by reputable authorities to ensure 100% fairness and transparency of a gambling site. Although obtaining a license is a mandatory process for any online casino, some gambling sites are still unregulated, which causes them to face legal problems.
Simply put, licenses are incredibly important to confirm the legality, fairness, and security of a gambling site.
Licensed online casinos guarantee their games are 100% random and RNGs are unbiased. What’s more, reputable software providers only cooperate with licensed gambling sites. That’s why authorized online casinos have on their offer high-quality games from top-tier suppliers, such as Microgaming, NetEnt, Playtech, etc.
As soon as an online casino gets a license, it ensures that any payments you make are 100% safe and handled well. Thus, the presence of a license increases the probability of making deposits of players and playing for a long time. What’s more, having a gambling license helps to attract high rollers. Gamblers who deposit a lot are unlikely to get involved with unlicensed online casinos, because of no security guarantees. Also, globally popular payment systems, such as Visa or Mastercard, only cooperate with licensed gambling sites. So, having a license is crucial to allow players to deposit or withdraw using safe payment options.
Where to Check an Online Casino For a License?
Before registering in an online casino, you should carefully check for a license. It is not a complicated process and you can check the casino’s license in plenty of ways:
- At the bottom of the home page. Trustworthy online casinos always try to gain gamblers’ trust, so they link a license at the bottom of the casino’s home. If there is no link or logo, it is more likely an online casino is not licensed. Also, information about the license can be requested from customer support;
- Check the licensing commission’s website. Each iGaming regulating authority has a website, which lists all regulated online casinos. To check the licence, you need to look for a particular online casino. Be careful, because licenses are not always issued specifically for the name of the online casino, but may be issued for the company.
- Check out reviews. Probably, the easiest way to discover about the online casino’s license is to read reviews wherein you can find any information about the gambling site as well. Nevertheless, it sometimes happens that online casino reviews are fake to boost the popularity of particular gambling sites. So, the best way is to check the license of the online casino yourself.
Types of Gambling Jurisdictions
We normally distinguish between two types of gambling jurisdictions – internal and international.
International licenses are also known as offshore licenses. This type of gambling license is perfect for larger market coverage. Also, online casinos that can’t work due to gambling restrictions in their countries can be registered abroad and hold offshore licenses to operate honestly and transparently.
Internal gambling licenses are country-specific and allow online casinos to legally operate within the borders of one specific country. Examples of internally regulated gambling markets are Spain, the United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Belgium, Estonia, Portugal, Mexico, Romania, and many others.
When choosing a jurisdiction, the key factors to consider are gambling laws, reputation, taxes, costs, licensing requirements, complexity and duration of the testing, and so on. Take a look at a short overview of the most popular gambling regulators and their requirements below.
5 Leading iGaming Licensing Authorities
Wondering about where particular gambling sites get their licenses from?
Well, multiple iGaming jurisdiction bodies issue licenses to online casinos. We have researched the top 5 licensing authorities with impeccable reputations, world recognition, and a high level of safety. So, when looking for an online casino and checking its license you would be able to recognize a trustworthy gambling site. Look below!
A license from the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is highly valued by operators but can be difficult to obtain. The Malta license is recognized and respected all around the world and it is considered a guarantee of quality and legitimacy.
Nevertheless, obtaining a license from MGA is a complicated and time-consuming process. An online casino must verify its good reputation, provide a copy of the personal profiles of shareholders and audited accounts, as well as show the business plan. Moreover, Malta Gaming Authority rigorously audits the casino’s software to ensure 100% fairness and proper work of RNGs.
The application fee for a new license is €2,330. Once an online casino has got a license, there is a fee of €8,500 annually. For the first six months, gaming taxes are €4,660 per month and €7,000 per month then. Generally, an application for an MGA license includes substantial legal expenses during the whole process.
The primary advantages of MGA include worldwide recognition, 4 types of permits, and access to the European market.
- Globally respected reputation
- Multiple license types
- Access to Europe markets Cons:
- Very lengthy application process
- High compliance complexity
- Relatively high costs.
Gibraltar is one of the most recognizable gambling regulators all around the world. Gibraltar Regulatory Authority (GRA) has been providing its services since 1998, which means it is a long-established and respectful jurisdiction. Having a GRA license means that the particular online casino meets the strict requirements and standards of the regulator. It is quite challenging to become eligible for a license from Gibraltar because of the rigorous licensing process.
First of all, applicants must provide a 2-3 page business plan, which includes a company’s experience and background. In addition, gambling operators must provide a copy of shareholders, ownership, and personnel details. Application processing may take up to several months due to comprehensive and rigorous testing.
The key advantages of a GRA license are reliable administration, low taxes, and an impeccable reputation.
- Long track record since 1998
- Low tax rates Cons:
- Similarly exhaustive application.
No wonder Curacao (Netherlands Antilles) is one of the most well-established and popular jurisdictions for iGaming. For gambling operators, Curacao licenses are affordable and time-effective solutions. This gambling regulatory body doesn’t require casino operators to keep servers on their territory but to regularly back up the database on their physical server located in Curacao.
The Curacao Gaming Authority tax laws are very favorable for casino operators compared to other gambling regulators. That’s why many gambling operators choose the jurisdiction of Curacao to ensure their services are 100% fair, safe, and transparent. Total costs, including company registration and the purchase of a gambling license paid to the Curaçao regulator, are about $14,000 for the first year and then $10,000 annually.
The advantages for licensees are quite significant:
- Low tax rates;
- Straightforward licensing system;
- Coverage of all types of online casino activities;
- Faster application turnaround times;
- Less brand recognition than Malta/Gibraltar.
Antigua and Barbuda
The license from Antigua and Barbuda is a respectful sign, but also extremely expensive. To apply for its license, you must pay a $15,000 non-refundable fee and $100,000 for its Interactive gaming license. On top of that, to renew a license at the end of the year, you must pay another $5,000. What’s more, an online casino should have a reserve of $100,000 to start operating.
The application process takes at least 3 months. Although Antigua and Barbuda’s license is quite expensive, it ensures an online casino is a 100% safe spot to gamble on.
- Very prestigious globally Cons:
- Extremely high licensing costs
- Strict financial reserve requirements.
Isle of Man
The Isle of Man is another well-established regulatory body that only issues licenses to online casinos of the highest quality and reliability. Hence, it is a widely popular jurisdiction among gambling operators. Although the Isle of Man is attractive with its liberal legislation and competitive tax policy, the application process there can be quite time-consuming and exhausting.
The application fee is around £5,000 (with £1,000 non-refundable). The license from the Isle of Man must be paid £35,000 annually. Depending on the casino’s turnover, the taxes vary between 0.1 to 1.5%. To be eligible for the license from the Isle of Man, an online casino must prove its fairness and transparency, be reputable and provide fair services. The main thing about this jurisdiction is the obligation of the gambling operator to be registered in the Isle of Man and place its servers on its territory.
Only trustworthy online casinos that are 100% compliant with global gambling standards, offer high-quality services, and fulfill regulatory requirements can get a license from the Isle of Man.
- Respected international reputation
- Attractive tax incentives Cons:
- Mandatory local servers
- Long application process.
How Getting Licensed Protects Player Interests
Getting a proper license is crucial for protecting the interests of players in the gaming world. Licensing ensures that gaming operators and platforms adhere to a strict set of standards and regulations that prioritize fairness, security, and the safeguarding of player data.
One of the primary ways licensing protects players is by vetting the ownership and operations of gaming companies. Regulatory bodies thoroughly investigate the background and finances of owners and key personnel to ensure they have no links to criminal activities or other concerning associations. They also review the operational procedures, systems, and controls that companies have in place to verify they are robust, secure, and follow industry best practices.
Licensing also helps uphold game integrity. Gaming companies must demonstrate that their software and games are fair, random, and have not been manipulated in any way. Regulators examine things like random number generators, payout percentages, and the overall math and programming behind games. Rigorous audits and testing are performed by independent third parties to guarantee games are operating correctly and providing true odds.
Data protection for players is another key area addressed by licensing. Companies must adhere to stringent security protocols and data privacy regulations. Player information, transactions, and communications must be properly encrypted, and special procedures must be followed for storage and handling of sensitive data. Strong identity verification and anti-money laundering mechanisms are also required.
Licensed platforms have formal dispute resolution processes in place that allow players to file grievances or complaints. There are clear procedures for investigating issues, and if wrongdoing by the operator is uncovered, they can face penalties like fines, license suspension, or revocation. Having these protections gives players confidence they have proper recourse if problems arise.
Overall, the licensing and regulation of gaming companies is essential for maintaining a fair, secure, and cheat-free environment for players. It reduces the potential risks of fraud, theft, manipulation, or exposure of personal information. While no system is perfect, proper licensing is a vital safeguard that protects player interests and upholds the integrity of the entire gaming ecosystem.
The Bottom Line
Licensing of the gaming business was created to protect players and support the principles of fair play, and the licensing body is obliged to make sure that the particular online casino meets all the requirements. The application process can be confusing and long, but it guarantees high-quality services, 100% security, unbiased RNGs and protection of personal data.
To summarize, we hope you got a clear idea of what gambling jurisdictions are and which are the best 5 licensing authorities in the world.