Online Gambling Regulators and Licensing Bodies
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Kahnawake has subsequently taken steps to legitimize their licenses, so sites that operate on Kahnawake licensure are looking more reputable. There is now a customer dispute center, with the goal of connecting players with issues to staff at the relevant gambling sites.
However, changes to the legal landscape in the US and Canada have led to a drastic reduction in the number of sites depending on the Kahnawake Gaming Commission for licenses, as the European market takes over.
Gambling businesses were drawn to Costa Rica in the early days of the online gambling industry because the country lacked laws governing the practice.
Costa Rican licensure is suspect, in part because there is no governing body to enforce regulations, and as far as we can tell, there are no regulations to be enforced.
What these operators hold is a Costa Rican data processing license. Gibraltar is a self-governed dependency of the British Crown, one of the few remaining territories of the old British Empire.
While Gibraltar depends on the British government in matters of foreign policy, Gibraltar gets to write and enforce most of their own laws.
Their tax laws are unique in that they allow for the issuing of gambling licenses, and the country has done so going back to Gibraltar is among the best-reviewed and most-respected such bodies in the world.
The Belize Computer Wagering Licensing Board has all authority to review applications and issue licenses. Belize is not one of the better-reviewed licensing bodies, seemingly more concerned with profits than enforcing strict gaming regulations.
The main requirement for a site to earn a Belize license is that it must promise not to offer online gambling to citizens of Belize.
Once a protectorate of the Netherlands, Curacao is now an independent country. Curacao has been licensing online gambling sites since before its independence, dating back to the mids.
Technically, Curacao issues two kinds of gaming licenses. For those reasons, Curacao is one of the most popular licensing bodies in the world, with hundreds of member sites.
The Isle of Man began issuing gaming licenses in , and is now a respected authority in the industry. The Isle of Man is a powerful regulatory body that holds sway in the online gaming industry.
Part of the UK, this little island now employs more people in the gaming industry than any other, outside of general tourism. All operators looking to earn a license from the Isle of Man undergo a tough vetting process to ensure compliance before a site is even granted the right to operate.
Sites are required to demonstrate true randomness and fairness in their software and algorithms multiple times a year.
Malta is a little-known island nation in the Mediterranean, a hidden paradise that most Maltese hope would rather stay that way. Most Microgaming sites hold a license from Malta, as part of a special deal between Microgaming and the Maltese government.
Cyprus Cyprus is a relatively-new licensing body. In , the Cypriot government voted to allow the licensure of online bingo and skill game sites.
In , the government agreed to test out a new licensing program for online casino and poker play, issuing a single license on a test basis. Few details are yet known, since the first license was issued as part of a pilot program.
Not all licensing bodies are created equal. What Do Licensing Authorities Do? Interactive gambling Interactive betting. Much like their counterparts in Nevada, this level of experience with large-scale operations has made the DGE a model for many other regulators across the globe.
Since , Panama has been offering licenses to companies wishing to offer regulated online gambling to customers both within the country and throughout the world.
With strong requirements for operators when it comes to areas like software testing and money-laundering policies, firms licensed in Panama are typically considered trustworthy by players; meanwhile, low fees and a stable government with good relations in both North and South America make this a desirable base of operations for operators as well.
It regulates most forms of betting in the United Kingdom, with the exception of sports betting, which is handled separately.
As part of its duties, the UKGC oversees remote betting, which includes the licensing of online gaming sites. While a license from the UKGC has always been prestigious, such a designation has become even more important since the passage of the Gambling Licensing and Advertising Bill.
That legislation not only introduced a point-of-consumption tax for remote betting in the UK, but it also required any company that wanted to take bets from UK customers to obtain a license with the UKGC.
This has been a controversial change: When France approved the regulation of Internet gambling in , the country also established the Autorite de regulation des jeux en ligne, better known as ARJEL, to oversee the new industry.
ARJEL now issues licenses that specifically allow companies to legally offer their web-based games in France, one of the largest betting markets in Europe.
In addition, the ring-fenced regulation of France has hurt its Internet poker market, as players on licensed sites in the country cannot compete against opponents in other nations.
French online casinos remain a legal grey area with the government slow to allow operators to offer real money online casino games in the country.
The AAMS was the result of Italian efforts to modernize their laws in order to comply with European Commission rules that dictated how member nations should treat operators from other countries in the EU.
Today, the AAMS issues licenses for remote gaming in a number of different areas, ranging from casino games to poker, sports betting, horse racing wagering, and bingo.
In order to apply for a license, companies must prove that they have managed games on a large scale in Europe, be based in an EU country, and be able to establish that they can function in a stable and secure way.
The licenses issued by the AAMS are only meant to allow for legal operation in the Italian market , which is ring-fenced and does not allow for competitive play against players outside the country.
In , Spain became the latest major European nation to create a regulated online gambling market that would be self-contained, with players unable to compete or interact with international competitors.
That means the Spanish Commission is relatively new to the iGaming market, but they have so far seemed supportive of growing the industry in the country.
However, like its neighbors, the segregated nature of these licenses have limited the size and scope of the sites that operate under the Commission, though there has been occasional buzz about interest in combining player pools for poker between the regulators in Spain, Italy, and France.
Beyond that, this market also features high taxes on revenues, a common thread among many regulatory bodies in continental Europe.
In the s, the isle of Gibraltar situated just of the coast of southern Spain became an unlikely hub for the online betting industry. More than 30 companies boast offices in Gibraltar, and it is easy to see why reputable gaming firms are happy to be headquartered here.
Additionally, licensed operators are allowed to accept players from jurisdictions around the world, though officials do have the right to block certain locations to comply with anti-money laundering efforts or for other legal or political reasons.
For instance, many firms based in Gibraltar have sued the UKGC over their point-of-consumption tax, which would impose much higher levies on them then what they currently pay to the local government.
Gambling Supervision Commission Isle of Man: Since , the Gambling Supervision Commission has dealt with the licensing and regulation of all betting operations on the Isle of Man — a role that now includes online gaming.
It has chosen to regulate Internet firms in a manner similar to that of Gibraltar, offering long-term licenses and low tax rates to create a very friendly environment for operators.
Internet casino companies headquartered here are required to keep player funds in a separate account from operating cash, an important rule that all but ensures that player account balances can always be recovered even if a website fails.
This is also a popular location for operators who want to offer sites to customers around the world. The Commission does not restrict where each site owner can offer real money play, though they may occasionally ask operators for a legal explanation about why they believe they can target customers in certain markets.
Located in the Mediterranean Sea, Malta is likely more often thought of by people — if they think of it at all — as an exotic tourism destination than as a hub for online casinos.
But the Malta Gaming Authority oversees a great number of operators, all of whom are happy to take advantage of a relatively generous tax scheme, friendly local financial institutions, and the ability to use their license to take bets from virtually anywhere in the world.
The name change came about in after significant changes to the organization were made in the wake of controversies about how the LGA had handled problems at several poker and casino sites, most notably the Everleaf Network.
While those incidents hurt player confidence in the LGA, Maltese authorities have worked to rebuild that trust over the past year, and the MGA remains one of the premiere regulatory bodies in Europe for firms that want to service the worldwide market.
Alderney Gambling Control Commission: Established in , the AGCC is yet another of the commissions based in the British Isles that have worked to attract operators to their shores with promises of a very business-friendly climate.
The AGCC has a generally good reputation with players, though they did receive some criticism in when they initially failed to respond to growing concerns about payment issues at Full Tilt Poker in the months after Black Friday.
Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands situated between France and England, and joined the list of islands in the region offering licensing to online gambling operations when it created the Jersey Gaming Commission in The Commission offers licenses to a variety of firms related to the industry, including operators, software providers, and testing labs.
While Jersey has yet to become one of the major settings for iGaming companies to set up their operations, a favourable tax rate and a lack of restrictions on where licensed operators may offer their products could make this yet another attractive choice for those looking to set up shop in Europe.
While online betting is legal in Belgium, the Belgian Gambling Commission keeps a rather tight lid on exactly who is allowed to offer such games. This regulator has become most famous for its extensive blacklist of groups that cannot offer Internet betting in the country, a list that now includes more than different websites.
Those companies that do obtain Belgian licenses can only offer their games to customers within the country on exclusive websites that are only accessible in Belgium.
While high tax rates have scared off some operators, others are willing to put up with the many hoops involved in order to gain access to this small but lucrative European market.
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