The Internet’s a big place and with thousands of casino sites available at the click of a button, many players think they can simply choose any online casino and begin playing. But, as we’ll discuss in this post, that’s not actually the case. While the idea of a ‘global licensing body’ sounds simple enough on the outset, in reality, each part of the world has its own gambling regulators, and online casinos are subject to what’s known as a ‘licensing jurisdiction’ when operating.

This basically ensures the casino is acting ethically and is treating their players fairly. It also gives players a route to go down when things go wrong. In this post, we’re going to cover some of the main licensing jurisdictions.

United Kingdom

The UK has one of the toughest licensing requirements in the world and with a strong aim on keeping players safe from shady, unethical gaming operators, all casinos that offer real-money gaming to players from the UK MUST have a license from the UK Gambling Commission. This was introduced in 2014, and means any casino – whether UK based on or not – must meet a strict criteria issued by the Gambling Commission, which includes things like Responsible Gambling measures, player fund-protection and regular independent reviews of game-fairness.

Malta

Malta is the ‘online casino hub’ of today’s Internet, thanks to generous tax laws and loosened gambling regulations. That said, the Maltese government still ensures casinos operating from the district are licensed correctly, and all Malta-based casinos must have a license from the Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA) in order to provide games.

Gibraltar

Gibraltar is another ‘player’ when it comes to housing casino companies, and since the introduction of its gambling license program in 1998, many reputable online casino brands have chosen to base their operations in the region, again, thanks to generous tax laws, as well as the flexibility of licensing.

Alderney

Perhaps one of the most well-known of regulators, as well as the most commonly-used, Alderney uses the Alderney Gaming Control Commission (AGCC) to delivery licenses to operators, and they are known in the industry for employing very strict rules and regulations when it comes to awarding licenses – something that helps to ensure casinos that do have a license from the AGCC act fairly.

Curacao

A less well-known name, Curacao was once a part of the Netherland Antilles, although now, it’s classified as its own independent country. Another haven for gambling-related companies, Curacao begun its casino licensing regulation back in 1996, and this saw the formation of the e-Gaming Licensing Authority – the regulator responsible for issuing licenses to companies operating from Curacao.

Kahnawake

Kahnawake is an Indian state in Canada, and is a commonly seen name in online casino websites offering services worldwide, particularly to players outside of Europe (although Kahnawake-licensed casinos do offer European players service, when applicable). The Indian reserve is one of the most established providers of licenses, and licenses are delivered by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, which was founded in 1988. The Commission works closely with other Gaming authorities around the world to ensure companies keep their obligations. The commission is well-known amongst casino operators for their high fees with a minimum of £30,000 required just to

Isle of Man

The Isle of Man is a popular hub for gambling operators to make ‘base’ and the Gambling Supervision Commission is the regulatory body set up by authorities to ensure companies based on the Island are regulated and licensed correctly. Like the United Kingdom’s Gambling Commission, the Gambling Supervision Commission employs very strict regulation when it comes to license-holders, and all new prospects go through a thorough and tight-knit application process to ensure they are following the rules and regulations before they are awarded a license.

Checking a License is Valid

That’s most of the main licensing jurisdictions, as well as the regulators within each, and if you are playing at a casino that benefits from a license from one of the above, you’ll generally be in safe hands. A casino has to go through fairly rigorous checks before they are granted a license, and as long as you ensure a casino’s license is valid and up-to-date, you can rest assured that you’ll be treated fairly and paid out quickly.

Remember to always check the license of a casino manually (by going to the license-givers website, and checking the casino yourself) before playing. For more details on casino licenses, and the regulators that issue it, make sure to check out the full reviews found beneath each sub-section above.

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Disclaimer: Please note that the legality of gambling online varies between countries and it is your responsibility to verify that your actions are legal in the country you reside. Please play responsibly - if you feel you may have a problem and need advice please visit Gamble Aware (UK) or Gamblers Anonymous.