Why do people make such a big deal about online casino licencing?
Mainly as they provide a certain level of security for you – so it’s always worth checking that the casino of your choice actually has a licence. Un-licenced casinos crop up more than you’d think, and they could potentially ‘run away’ with your money. Online Gambling licences exist to aid in regulating the online gaming industry and going some way to ensuring a safe environment for players whilst playing at online casinos and similar destinations.
By having a licence, the casino is agreeing to abide by the standards set out by that licence provider. For example, if the licence provider states that player deposits and balances must be kept in an Escrow type of an account, they must do so. This would mean that the funds are held in a secure location, not the casinos bank account. Meaning that the funds are not theirs until you have actually lost, or a tangible outcome has occurred with your cash.
There are many licences an operator can hold, and it largely depends on which territories an operator wishes to operate in that often dictates which licence they should hold. For example at the time of writing, due to new legislation in the United Kingdom, all online gambling operators must hold a licence via the UK Gambling Commission if they wish to operate and actively market to UK customers, including their existing base. For those who chose not to continue and apply for UK licence, such operators were required to close players accounts they held that were based in the UK, and to cease operations in the UK market.
The online gaming landscape in the United Kingdom is rapidly changing due to this change, and for good or bad, player security is often at the forefront of the regulators minds.
The operators (online casinos / betting venues), we list on site are all fully licensed. We will not consider for a second promoting any brands which do not hold a full licence, as this presents a large risk to you.
Why does a gambling licence matter?
If you sign up with Casino XYZ (meant as an example name, so hopefully a casino doesn’t start soon with that name!), and they have no licence, and they refuse to pay out your winnings you have won legitimately, then you have no one fighting your corner. The worst you could do is mount your own legal challenge by financing this yourself. Would it really be worth it over €100 Euros?
If though, Casino XYZ does hold a licence, then you can lodge a complaint with the licence issuer and they will usually launch an independent investigation to get to the bottom of the matter. The licence issuer has the power to revoke an operators licence if they have reason to believe they are in serious breach of the terms it was issued under.
How do I know what licence to look out for?
You don’t have to go into a huge amount of detail, but we’ll briefly describe some of the types and providers below for you:
Licence Provider Names
Lotteries and Gaming Association of Malta (LGA) – This at the time of writing is a UK whitelisted licence and generally carries a category of Class 1. The classes indicate the type of licence and the level of betting exposure. Typically a class 1, at the discretion of the online casino operator, can carry bets exceeding £1million (or currency equivalent). Currently holders of this licence are permitted to actively advertise in the United Kingdom as it is a UK whitelisted licence.
Types of online casino operators that carry this licence include Betfair and Mr Green.
UK Gambling Commission – A highly sought after licence and an often hard to obtain licence. There are many conditions operators must meet to obtain this licence. With the new UK laws which will be brought into effect from 01st October 2014, any online casino operator that wishes to accept players in the United Kingdom, must hold a UK licence. Essentially this means that at the point of consumption, the operator will be bound and legally obliged to pay UK tax.
This doesn’t affect you, the player. Yet you can rest assured that if your online casino carries a UK licence, your cash and personal information are pretty secure.
An operator that carries a UK Gambling Commission licence is also permitted to actively advertise within the region of the United Kingdom. The chances are you will see these brands advertising on UK television channels and the like.
Types of operators that carry this licence include Ladbrokes and William Hill.
Isle of Man Gaming Licence – A UK whitelisted licence, and a popular licence to be held by Asian bookmakers.
Types of operators that carry this licence include 188BET and SBOBet.
What if a casino has more than one licence?
This is perfectly normal, and you will often come across this.
An operator may want to licence their online casino product for instance to UK customers, but not necessarily want to target the UK for their sports betting. In such a case, they would need to apply for a UK Gambling Commission licence for their online casino provision, but simply apply for another licence for the casino.
This would mean that players in the UK wanting to use their sports betting product would be presented with a message telling them that the sports betting is not available to them in their region – or it just simply will not be visible.
Please note: We are not offering legal advice, we are simply providing our take on what we feel online gambling licences provide. For the facts on each licence please visit the respective licensor website.