Online casinos, mobile versions included, can specialize in different games of chance such as roulette, keno, poker or other card games, baccarat, virtual slot machines, and so on. Different regulations apply to online casinos in different countries. Some countries prohibit them pointblank, others impose tough limitations on them, still others allow online casinos to operate freely, and in some countries, the casinos can legally work on the national territory. Where online casinos are allowed, they need to obtain licenses to start operations. The licenser can be a national or an international institution. The license will confirm that the online casino is legal. A license can be obtained only if certain requirements are satisfied. Unlicensed online casinos will face large fines and their owners may even go to jail in some countries.
The license carries a unique number, the name of the licenser (the organization that has issued the license), the web address of the online casino, and the expiration date. Every time the license is renewed, the online casino has to undergo inspections.
When applying for a license, the online casino operator has to demonstrate having reliable software as well.
If you play at an online casino, you may be wondering if its operations are legal (because not all online casinos are legal). A legal online casino will be monitored by the authorities of the country where it is licensed. The monitoring is important because it guarantees that the games will be fair and the players will be legally protected.
Jurisdictions that issue licenses to online casinos
While some national Governments prohibit online casinos as we have mentioned above, there are many countries that do not have anything against this type of business and that give licenses to online casino operators. The following five jurisdictions are most popular with business people who launch online casinos: Curacao, Costa Rica, Gibraltar, Malta, and Great Britain.
The important point to make a note of is the difference in the levels of trust that each national license deserves. Each of the abovementioned countries monitors online casinos more or less closely. The most trustworthy licenses are issued by Great Britain, Malta, and Gibraltar while the least trustworthy licenses can be obtained in Curacao and Costa Rica. The latter two jurisdictions practice little control over online casinos and issue licenses without too much ado. This explains the large number of online casinos licensed in these countries.
With tougher control, the applicant for the license will have to undergo serious inspections. Besides, the operator’s activities are monitored on a regular basis. In this way, the authorities ensure fairness and transparency of the online casino operations.
How you can verify the online casino license
There are three ways of verifying that the online casino has a license (and it is a trustworthy one):
he licenser’s website at the bottom of their homepage. If you see the link, you can click on it and check the license details. You have to be aware, though, that there are fraudsters who will leave a link to a fake website, which can put you in trouble. If you find no link to the licenser’s website at the online casino home page, you should contact the administration and request the license information.
ou can also log on to the licenser’s website by searching for it on the Internet. A reputable licenser will have a list of licensees (the online casinos that have acquired licenses from the organization) and you can see if the online casino of interest to you is on this list or not. You have to bear in mind, however, that some licenses are issued in the name of the operator company, not in the name of the online casino proper. That is to say, the official name of the company holding the license may be different from the name under which the online casino sells its services.
reliable method of ensuring that the online casino has a trustworthy license but it may take quite some time: the licenser is not obliged to answer personal questions of this sort and you may wait for a reply for a long while.
Curacao issues the largest number of gambling licenses. In comparison to other jurisdictions, the Curacao license is the least expensive one, the applicant has to meet minimum requirements, the online casino will pay zero in profit tax, and casino operations are not going to be monitored by the authorities at all. These factors make a great number of online casino operators apply for Curacao licenses. There are four licensers in the country and three of them have websites where you can find the lists of their licensees. The fourth licenser does not have such a list on the web and you will have to contact the organization directly in order to find out if a certain online casino is licensed by them or not.
Costa Rica licenses
A Costa Rican gambling license deserves almost as little trust as the one issue in Curacao does. You can hardly find an online list of licensees and have to inquire directly about a certain online casino. The control over online casinos licensed in Costa Rica is weak and the authorities require very few reports from the casino operations. This is true for random number generator reports in particular. The initial requirements to applicants for gambling licenses are a bit tougher in Costa Rica in comparison to Curacao but they are not tough enough to sieve away unreliable online casino operators.
Gibraltar is much more trustworthy than Curacao and Costa Rica as far as gambling licenses are concerned. The organization that issues licenses to online casinos in the country has a long history and a spotless reputation. Casinos registered in Gibraltar have never cheated on the players.
The requirements that the applicant for a gambling license has to meet in Gibraltar are rather strict: the prospective online casino operator shall have a clear business plan, sufficient capital to guarantee payments of the players’ gains, and reliable software.
You can find a list of all licensed online casinos in Gibraltar at the official website of the licenser.
A gambling license issued in Malta is deemed reputable and reliable. The licenser imposes strict requirements on online casino operators and wants them to submit exhaustive reports on their financial activities on a regular basis. Besides, it closely monitors the issues related to fairness and players’ rights protection.
You can find a list of all online casinos licensed in Malta at the official website of the licenser. Besides, you can rest assured that an online casino registered in this country will put the link to the licenser’s website at the bottom of the home page without any hesitation.
Great Britain licenses
Great Britain issues the most prestigious gambling licenses in the world. The gambling authorities of the country closely monitor all online casinos that are licensed there making sure that they play by the rules. If the player’s rights have been violated, he or she can file a complaint to the authorities and the Gambling Committee will initiate an investigation concerning the online casino activities.
It is also easy to verify that a certain casino has a license from the British authorities. Simply log on to the licenser’s website and enter the name of the company or the casino’s web address into the search box. In addition to the license information, you can also learn if any accusations of players’ rights violations have ever been filed against a certain online casino operator.
Besides the five countries mentioned above, other national states and territories such as Denmark, Monaco, Belgium, Isle of Man, and others issue gambling licenses. But the numbers of the licenses that they issue to online casinos are small compared to those issued in the countries that we have discussed. At the same time, verifying that a certain casino has a license from one of these states is easy too. Again, you have to log on to the licenser’s website and see if the particular online casino is on the list of licensed organizations.
If an inline casino has a trustworthy license it means that it operates in accordance with the rules, pays the taxes, uses reliable software, and is fair to the customers. At the same time, in the cases of Curacao and Costa Rica, the licenses issued in these jurisdictions do not guarantee these things. Even if the online casino holds a license from one of these countries, it can still play with loaded dice by interfering in the work of the random number generator, for example. You had better avoid online casinos licensed in these jurisdictions and use the services of more reliable casinos holding British or Maltese licenses.
How can I verify that the online casino has a license if there is no link to the licenser’s website at the casino’s home page?
In this case, you can contact the casino’s customer support. Honest operators will be quick to reply to you and send you a scan copy of the license or give you a link to the licenser. With this link, you can contact the licenser and make sure that the casino does have a license.
If the online casino has a license, does it mean that it cannot possibly cheat?
Not necessarily. Gambling licenses issued by different national states have different levels of trustworthiness. Licenses issued in Great Britain, Gibraltar or Malta, for example, make the online casino highly reliable. Gambling authorities in these countries monitor the online casino operations and the player can always file a complaint if he or she has been treated unfairly by the casino operator. On the other hand, licenses issued in Curacao or Costa Rica should have a low level of trust. These countries give licenses to online casinos fast and practice little control over the operators. You had better avoid online casinos holding licenses from these countries, as they do not guarantee safe and fair play.
I enter the name of the online casino into the search box at the licenser’s website and it cannot be found. Does it mean that the casino has no license?
Not necessarily. The name of the company holding the license can be different from the name of the online casino. You can try entering the casino’s web address into the search box: this may help.