Licensed Casinos

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The phrase, no shoes, no shirt, no service, rings true for many businesses around the world, except for the online gaming industry. A U.K. study shows that 1.6 billion of the world’s population gamble in some way, shape or form, primarily due to the laid back dress code and the effortless accessibility. The study also demonstrated that an additional 4.2 billion gamble at least once a year, resulting in £5.3 billion in revenue for the online gambling space alone.

While it is evident that tens of millions of people worldwide derive enjoyment and some kind of satisfaction from playing slots and table games at a virtual casino with a gaming license, non-gamblers often fail to see the appeal of online gaming. The answer is simply the opportunity to win real money—from a few hundred to several million.

In this article, we will explore the fascinating world of licensed casinos. We will walk you through the perks of opting for legal gambling and the laws that regulate gambling activities. We will also answer a few FAQs and provide you with an in-depth analysis of licensed casinos.

Top Licensed Casinos in 2021

Everything You Need to Know About Licensed Casinos

Ever since online gambling gained traction in the nineties, the industry has shown no signs of slowing down. Today, hundreds of online casinos offer punters the chance to win real money using just a computer or mobile phone. Digital banks have also hopped onto the train, offering easy ways to deposit money and withdraw winnings. To be part of this world, the first thing you need to understand is that online gambling is legally shunned in many regions. Therefore before you embark on a gambling spree, it is in your best interest to choose a site with a casino gaming license.

What Is a Licensed Casino?

A licensed casino refers to any online casino company that has a permit to legally provide gaming services relating to poker, sports betting, bingo, lotto, and other gaming solutions. For an online casino to be recognized as a legitimate gaming provider, it needs a license to assure gamers of its legitimacy and integrity. This is particularly important, especially on the internet, where scams, hacking, and identity theft reign supreme.

The hallmark of a licensed casino is that it abides by the regulations of its licenser. For example, a casino that is licensed by a gaming authority in the U.K. must abide by the regulations of that region, irrespective of the country it is headquartered in. It also means that the casino will pay an annual licensing fee and allow its gaming software and operations to be inspected by the gaming authority.

For an online casino to obtain a license, the gaming authority considers several factors. This may include the company’s history, the background and leadership of the CEO and other key players, and previous collaborations and ventures. In brief, documented failures, user complaints, and negative press may affect a casino’s effort to obtain or renew a license.

Why Should One Choose a Licensed Casino?

There are many casinos on the internet, but the only thing that sets a fake casino site from a real casino site is the license for gaming. And since licenses are not just handed out to anyone, it makes sense to always opt for a licensed casino whether you are a frequent player or an occasional one. By choosing a licensed casino, you can guarantee two things, fair play and the opportunity to withdraw your earnings seamlessly. An unlicensed casino does not offer the above because their goal is to scam and make money off unsuspecting players.

Another great reason to opt for licensed casinos is that they are not standalone entities that can change the rules on a whim. They are regulated by a gaming authority and must maintain transparency at all times or face severe consequences. Thus, a licensed casino will not risk closure or have its license rebU.K.ed by cheating players. Licensed casinos cannot skip out and abscond players’ funds. So, choosing a licensed casino also means that you will have the peace of mind and confidence that your money will be safe, especially if you like to play big with the hopes of winning more money.

How to Pick the Best Licensed Online Casino?

To choose an online casino, you have to understand that not all licensed casinos are built the same. They vary in the games they offer, in-house rules, payment options, and offers. So, here is a quick way to choose the best-licensed casino that can meet up your gambling needs. Start with a gaming license background check. Since the hallmark of a licensed casino is transparency, a quick Google search will show you the regulatory agency that issued their license. You will find their contact information, jurisdiction, and other relevant information.

Next, check the casino site for their deposit options and payment methods. You should find credit and debit card processors like MasterCard, Visa, Laser, and Switch. E-wallets such as Paypal, Neteller, Skrill, Pay by Phone, PayNearMe, and Payoneer are also often available. Similarly, some casinos allow crypto deposits. So, if you use Bitcoin, DogeCoin, Ripple, or Ethereum, you should be able to make deposits without hassle.

The best-licensed casino should also make withdrawals effortless. Your payments should be processed within 24 to 48 hours. Even though most online casinos allow multiple withdrawals in a week, you should still confirm with the casino and ascertain if there are any limits on withdrawals.

Online Gambling Laws and Regulations Around the World

Every country has a different take on online casinos. While some have banned gambling entirely, others monitor it closely, allowing only specific games under strict conditions. Due to the immense complexity shrouding online gambling, it is no longer enough to only check for a gaming license when choosing an online casino. There are many things to consider, including state laws, federal laws, and the protection of gamblers’ rights in place. This is because some laws can only be applied at the state level and not nationwide, affecting a favorable resolution in light of any legal action you may bring against the casino.

USA

In the United States, gambling laws tend to be a bit complex, making it a bit difficult to determine the entity in charge of regulating licensed casinos. On a state level, individual states have their legislation, but since federal gambling laws have many loopholes, the legitimacy of an online gaming site can easily be contested. So, while gambling may be permitted in one state, the federal gaming commission may try to confiscate the assets of a licensed casino in another state due to poorly federal laws that can be translated inversely.

But the complexity does not end there. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) makes it illegal for a casino operator to accept money from a player. However, the UIGEA does not preclude players from making deposits into their online casino account. Another bill, the Restoration Of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), outlaws all forms of online sports betting, except online gambling. If it is accepted, all forms of online gambling will be banned completely.

Currently, only three states permit online gambling, Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware. To partake, you need to be 21 years old or older. The age limit also applies to gambling in a land-based casino. In New Jersey and Delaware, punters can only place sports bets or play other games at online casinos that have been licensed by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. Anything else is illegal. Likewise, in Nevada, the Nevada Gaming Commission allows players to legally indulge in sports betting at casino sites regulated by the commission. While it is not set in stone, Nevada is expected to legalize all online gambling, making it possible for casino operators to accept players across the country.

Canada

The legality of online gaming in Canada is a bit muddied, but the bottom line is that no laws are preventing Canadian punters from joining international online casinos, as long as the operator accepts international players. Per the laws regarding gambling, it is illegal to operate an online casino, sports betting centers, or land-based casinos in Canada. However, it is not illegal to access an offshore online casino within the country. Interestingly, Kahnawake, a region southwest of Montréal, houses most offshore gambling servers.

Established in 1996, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission is the regulatory body that authorizes licenses and controls gambling within the Mohawk territory. The commission has authority over all land-based casinos, sports betting websites, and online casinos in the region. To date, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission has licensed over 50 casino companies that operate over 250 gambling websites collectively.

To play in an online casino in Canada, simply pick an offshore operator licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission and create an account. Regarding withdrawals and deposits, operators offer many options, including Citadel, which is inexpensive and encrypted. MasterCard is also highly secure for making deposits but does not allow withdrawals.

You can also opt for Instadebit, which allows you to make instant withdrawals; Interac, for transferring money from your bank account directly into your casino account; and PaySafeCard, if you prefer to use a prepaid card. Even though the majority of online casinos accept Visa, some websites prefer wire transfer instead.

We should note that when completing payments, you may encounter problems since the online casinos are located outside the country. In Canada, operators are required to limit gambling access to people with gambling addiction and refuse service to those under 21 years. To ensure transparency and fair play, the operator must also register an office within Kahnawake, guarantee the safety of punters’ private information, pass an independent audit, and have high-quality software.

Australia and New Zealand

In New Zealand, online gambling, which is referred to as Remote Interactive Gambling, is regulated by the Gambling Act 2003. According to the law, if you use a communicative device such as a phone, tablet, laptop, or computer to deposit money into a casino account and win a prize, you have engaged in illegal gambling. Due to this law, the country does not issue gambling licenses to casino operators looking to open an online casino.

While this is true, the Remote Interactive Gambling law does not prohibit gambling via an offshore site. Thus, it is not illegal for a person in New Zealand to play at an online casino owned and regulated by foreign operators. Until the law is amended, gambling at a reputable, offshore, licensed casino is legal. Unlike Canada, New Zealand does not regulate online gambling at all. So, as a punter, you must be careful when choosing an offshore casino. Ensure that your preferred casino is licensed by a verifiable gaming authority.

The legality of online gambling in Australia is less complicated than in New Zealand. In 2001, the Interactive Gambling Act made it illegal for an online casino operator to offer gambling solutions to anyone living in Australia. The law only pushed punters to seek offshore online casinos, causing the country to lose revenue.

Consequently, to regulate online gambling and drive revenue back to the country, a license for gaming was given to online casino operators. Today, it is legal to play online casino games, bingo, poker, and sports betting at licensed online casinos. The legal minimum age to gamble at an online gambling site is 18 years. The same rings true for land-based casinos. When you choose a site, you may be required to send in some form of identification for fraud and identity theft prevention purposes.

The United Kingdom

When it comes to regulating gambling, the U.K. is unmatched because all forms of online gambling and betting are legal. For an online casino to be licensed, it must meet the requirements of the U.K. Gambling Commission. In 2005, the U.K. Gambling Commission established the Gambling Act, which offered unparalleled protection to punters. The Gambling Act runs on three pillars—legality, fairness, and protection. It seeks to prevent gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, ensure that every online game is earmarked by fairness, and protect children and the vulnerable from being negatively impacted by gambling.

Since there are no difficulties with finding an online casino, players are often met with a plethora of online gambling sites, all promising a wonderful experience. To choose the best U.K. casino with a license, start by checking the casino software. If it was designed by leading casino developers in the U.K., such as Playtech or Microgaming, you are in the right place. These software providers offer functional interfaces that are highly intuitive and easy to use. Best of all, they are approved by the U.K. Gambling Commission.

The game selection is another area to explore. Most online casinos offer multiple games by differing software providers for inclusive purposes. Thus, the best U.K. casino offers a wide range of games, including table games, video poker variants, and specialty games. The online site you select must be optimized for mobile play. This is very important because you do not want to limit your gambling activities to a laptop or desktop computer. In most cases, licensed U.K. casinos have an app on IOS and Android platforms that punters can download onto tablets and smartphones.

Lastly, check out the payment options available before registering an account. You want to choose an online casino that offers a variety of payment options to make deposits and withdrawals easy. In the U.K., the most common methods include bank transfer, credit cards, debit cards, Bitcoin, Skrill, and Neteller.

Europe

There is no specific legislation regulating and authorizing gambling activities on the continent. EU countries have the autonomy to navigate the gambling scene however they please, as long as they comply with the fundamental freedoms established under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). This flexibility has allowed most EU countries to offer a wide range of online gambling solutions, with some nations allowing all of the games and others only a selected few, including poker, casino games, and betting. Similarly, the laws regarding licensing differ from country to country.

In some European countries, state-controlled monopolistic regimes exist, with a public operator or a private operator receiving the exclusive right to offer online gambling services. Other European countries, on the other hand, license multiple casino companies as long as they meet their requirement, allowing more than one online casino to operate. Europe is home to the following online gambling jurisdictions that approve gambling websites for legal operations, as well as regulating their licensees: Isle of Man, Malta, Alderney, and Gibraltar.

World's Most Important Online Gambling Jurisdictions

If you are curious about how to get a gaming license, the first place to start is by choosing a gambling jurisdiction. This may be a gaming authority located within or outside of your location.

So, what are gambling jurisdictions? They are regions in various parts of the world tasked with overseeing and licensing online casinos, gaming software vendors, and online gambling sites. For an online casino to be deemed legal, it must receive a license from a licensing authority such as the Alderney Gambling Control Commission, the Curaçao eGaming Licensing Authority, or the U.K. Gambling Commission.

In this section, we will explore the organizations in the most renowned gambling jurisdictions that oversee and regulate licensed casinos.

Alderney

The Alderney jurisdiction is known for having a robust online gambling scene and being one of the leading offshore licensing authorities white-listed by the U.K. Gambling Commission to issue licenses to a gambling website looking to offer their services to U.K. residents.

In Alderney, an independent and non-political body known as the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) regulates all online gambling activities. AGCC issues two types of online gambling licenses. The first is the Category 1 license, suitable for casino companies looking to offer online gambling services directly to punters. The second is the Category 2 license, ideal for Business to Business operators such as software vendors.

Antigua and Barbuda

Previously only famous for offshore banking due to the 1982 International Business Corporations Act, Antigua, and Barbuda has quickly become a popular jurisdiction for online gambling. It is important to note that the island was one of the very first gambling jurisdictions to issue licenses for online casino companies.

The licensing authority responsible for overseeing and regulating all gambling activities in Antigua and Barbuda is the Directorate of Offshore Gaming. The regulatory body issues two types of gaming licenses: one for interactive gaming and the other for interactive wagering. It also ensures that its licensees offer fair gameplay and adhere to all requirements.

Curaçao

As one of its central industries, online gambling contributes to the annual revenue of the country. Curaçao began issuing licenses to casino companies for gaming and betting purposes in 1996 and has steadily carved a name for itself as a leading gambling jurisdiction.

All online gambling activities are regulated by the Curaçao e-Gaming Licensing Authority. The regulatory body’s primary goal is to ensure that their offshore licensees abide by their code of conduct and meet all licensing requirements. The e-Gaming Licensing Authority issues class A gaming license and are very inclusive, offering licenses to small startups looking to venture into the world of online gambling. It also has the most comprehensive gaming authority on the market, offering its members hosting, IT infrastructure, and customer support.

Belize

Similar to Antigua and Barbuda, Belize was an early issuer of gambling licenses for online wagering. The Belize Computer Licensing Board is responsible for controlling and regulating online gambling activities. The licensing authority was set up in 1996, and changes to its requirements over the years, including a significant reduction in fees, have made the Belize jurisdiction appealing to online casino operators.

According to Belize online gaming regulations, any entity looking to conduct an online gaming business in Belize must be licensed by the Gaming Control Board. It is vital to note that a condition for receiving a license is agreeing not to receive bets from any resident within Belize. The Gaming Control Board will not, under any circumstances, grant an online gaming license to anyone who has been convicted of a crime within the last three years in Belize or other countries.

Gibraltar

The Gibraltar Licensing Authority investigates the eligibility and suitability of applicants, and issues online gaming licenses to casino operators who meet their strict requirements. For consideration, operators must have a proven track record of fair play and transparency in gambling, as well as be of good financial standing and have a relevant business plan.

The gaming authority offers seven licenses: a remote gambling license, a pool promoter’s license, a gaming operator’s license, a lottery promoter’s license, a betting intermediary’s license, a gaming machine license, and a bookmaker’s license. Once an online casino operator is approved, they are bound by the code of practice issued by the commission.

Malta

In Malta, the Remote Gaming Regulations 2004, which is a subsidiary of The Lotteries & Gaming Authority (LGA), offers four types of licenses to operators—Class 1 for online lotteries, casino-type games, and skill games; Class 2 for spread betting, pool betting and fixed odds betting; Class 3 covers betting exchanges and peer to peer gaming; and Class 4 licenses is for software vendors.

Online gambling operators can apply for multiple licenses, which are renewed every five years, as long as they are in good financial standing and have a solid gambling history. The indisputable fact is that many operators flock to Malta to seek to license, making the region the largest and top online gambling jurisdiction in the world.

Isle of Man

Often misconstrued to be part of the United Kingdom jurisdiction, Isle of Man is a self-governing jurisdiction that is no stranger to the gambling scene. Its government introduced the Online Gambling Regulation Act (OGRA) of 2001 to protect punters from unscrupulous casino operators while offering a stable environment with fair and respected regulatory practices to said operators. Under OGRA, the Gambling Supervision Commission body regulates all online and land-based casinos. It also monitors licensees, ensures that punters’ funds are safe, among other things.

U.K.

It is no secret that online gambling in the United Kingdom is well regulated. U.K. based and offshore casinos are free to offer their services to U.K. residents as long as they are licensed by the Gambling Commission. Online casino operators must meet strict gaming license requirements, including adhering to the terms of the Gambling Act of 2005. The Gambling Commission issues three types of licenses to online gambling companies: an operating license, a personal management license, and a personal functional license. Apart from high taxes, operators in the U.K. enjoy liberal laws.

Nevada

The Nevada Gambling License is the regulatory body that makes it possible for online casino companies and software vendors to operate legally in Nevada. The gambling scene is tightly regulated, with the Nevada Gaming Control Board ensuring that all licensees abide by legislations such as: Know Your Customer Policies, National Anti-Money Laundering Regulations, Counter-Terrorism Financing Regulations, and Unusual Transactions Act. Operators must also agree to complete audit trails and make their internal logs available to third party auditors. Lastly, licensees can only offer their services to residents of Nevada who are 21 years or older.

New Jersey

In New Jersey, the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) is responsible for authorizing and regulating online and land-based casinos. Only those that meet the strictest requirements are issued a license to operate in the state. Online gambling was legalized in 2013, and at this time, three types of licenses available to operators: Enterprise License and Casino Service Industry. The DGE keeps the New Jersey casino scene free of rigged games and organized crime and ensures that licensees operate with transparency and fairness.

Licensed Casinos FAQ

Let us explore a few frequently asked questions about licensed casinos. Hopefully, we will answer your burning questions.

📌  How Do I Know if an Online Casino is Licensed?
The easiest way is to google the casino. If it is a legitimate enterprise, you will see their jurisdiction and the name, location, and contact information of their licensing authority. For the most part, a licensed online casino wears that badge of honor proudly on their website, usually in the About Us section or the bottom of the homepage.
📌  How to Determine the Credibility of Online Casino Software?
Check for the logo of a leading software developer and an indication that the site was tested by a credible software testing facility. Where present and legitimate, you can trace these organizations back to their websites and learn more about their work with online casino operators.
📌  How Old Should I Be to Gamble Online?
The answer varies, depending on your local gambling laws. In some regions, you need to be 18 years or older. In others, 21 years or older to legally play at licensed casinos.
📌  Why Is It Important to Play in a Licensed Casino?
The reasons are many, including protecting your personal and banking information, enjoying fair play, getting the opportunity to win real money, and working with legitimate companies who will not swindle you out of your money.
📌  What Are Different Licensing Authorities?
The most popular licensing authorities are:

  • Alderney – Alderney Gaming Control Commission
  • Antigua and Barbuda – Antigua Directorate of Offshore Gambling
  • Belize – Belize Computer Wagering License Board
  • Curacao – Curacao e-Gaming Licensing Authority
  • Gibraltar – Gibraltar Regulatory Authority
  • Isle of Man – Gambling Supervision Commission
  • Kahnawake – Kahnawake Gaming Commission
  • Malta – Malta Lottery and Gaming Authority
  • Panama – Panama Gaming Control Board
  • U.K. Gambling Commission – U.K. Gambling Commission License
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