Kahnawake

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission was founded in 1996 to coincide with the time that the Kahnawake Gaming Law game into place, and their powers came into place in July, 1999.

About the Kahnawake Gaming Commission

The Gaming Commission was set up to reside over gambling activity in the Canadian territory of Kahnawake, as well as regulating online casinos around the world. Interestingly, the Commission is unlike many countries, whereby the Government enshrine in law the powers of the gambling regulation. Instead, the Kahnawake Commission created the Kahnawake Gaming Law themselves and took it upon themselves to operate as the regulator. In most other countries, this would be a laughable decision that would hold zero value in legal proceedings, but the Territory of Kahnawake, and its businesses, are protected by what are known as "Aboriginal Rights", which is a set of rules and laws that were challenged in 2007 when a casino who was refused a license took the Commission to the Quebec Superior Court.

Their fees are relatively high with an initial fee of $25,000 payable for each initial application an operator makes and a further $5,000 for each key person. There is also an annual fee for casinos to pay, if they wish to remain licensed. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission also become well-known for their handling of the Ultimate Bet poker scandal. Prior to 2009 for a number of years, owners and ‘high-up-players’ within the Ultimate Bet Poker franchise had been using special software in order to see other player’s hole-cards (the two cards they are dealt, that are meant to be private), in order to gain an extremely-high advantage.

Ultimate Bet then used players and bots to play against these players, cheating them out of money, and continually winning, until finally, players begun to notice irregularities with behaviour from the cheating players at which point a lengthy investigation was conducted. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission fined Ultimate Bet $1,500,000, as well as demanding that over $22,000,000 be returned to players – a turning point for gambling online in North America, and one that led to the USA’s ‘Black Friday’.

Casinos Regulated by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission currently offer licenses to over 50 different online gaming operators with these operators running upwards of 250 websites combined. Kahnawake-regulated casinos are seen less-frequently in Europe (and almost never in the United Kingdom), and they generally cater to American, Asian and Australasian companies.

Rules, Regulations, and Provisos of a Kahnawake Gaming Commission License

While the license requirements aren’t as strict as that of – for example – the UK’s, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission still instil rigorous checks on any online casino that makes an application for a license with terms, such as Responsible Gambling measures, independently-verified software and games, and a thorough complaints procedure, all requiring to meet expectations before a license is handed out.

Complaints Procedure

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission is much like other regulators in that it advises players to exhaust all other avenues of contact before lodging an official complaint with them. That said, if things don’t get anywhere, and need the Commission to fully-investigate, they will do so, provided the player can show they have tried to negotiate with the casino first.

Checking a License is Valid

Players can view license details directly on the Kahnawake Gaming Commission’s website, and all casinos licensed by the Commission must display notice on their homepage, and all other website pages (excluding those that feature games in ‘full screen mode’ that are licensed by the Commission).

Contact Details

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission has – what some call a ‘dated’ website, and with their website footer displaying a copyright notice that’s 3 years out of date, it’s not the most confident-looking website in the world.

That said, they do offer contact details (albeit in the form of a PO Box address), which can be found below:

  • Address: PO Box 1799, Old Malone Highway, Kahnawake Mohawk Territory, Quebec, J0L 1B0, Canada
  • Fax: +1 450 635 1139

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