Responsibility in Online Gambling Regulation

Understanding the commitment behind the most trusted online casino licenses and why it should matter to you.

The Most Trusted Online Casino Licenses and Why it Matters

The online gambling industry has been around far longer than any jurisdiction has been regulating it. In the early days, operators took one of two paths. They would either open an entirely upright business and rely solely on a stellar reputation to bring in customers, or they would open a website, see if it went well, and disappear with the cash if it didn’t.

There were, of course, a few that launched with every intention of taking the money and running, but for the most part, iGaming operators were trying to get off the ground successfully. And why not? There was – and still is – big money in iGaming. Unfortunately, without any proper regulation, they had no authority to answer to; therefore no good reason to ‘do the right thing’ if and when a business fell apart.

The good news is that regulation did come. Several jurisdictions began passing regulations around the turn of the century. They saw a severe need, and responded with legislation to either prohibit iGaming, or regulate the industry and protect players – and make barrels of cash in the process.

It is for this reason that we see so many small countries regulating online casinos; places like Alderney, Antigua and Barbuda, Costa Rica, Curacao, and Gibraltar, just to name a few. These are mostly island nations with limited financial resources, so when they realized they could turn a necessary regulatory service into a cash crop, they jumped on it. Some did so with the people in mind. Others did it just for the money, and it shows.

Trusted Online Casino Licenses

A responsible authority puts the online casino clients ahead of all else. The operators they supply licenses to are given a strict regiment of laws to abide by. These laws protect the players, the operators, and the jurisdiction – a trinity of defense for all involved. If an operator does not comply with these laws, the penalty hammer drops swiftly. They could suffer anything from a massive fine, to license suspension or, in the most serious cases, revocation of said license.

Online casinos that hold such a license can be trusted. These are the operators that entered the market with good intentions, and were so determined to succeed in those intentions that they worked hard (and paid extra) to acquire a respectable license.

Best of all, any operator that is licensed by a reputable authority is required to segregate player funds. This means that every deposit is put in a separate bank account from the operator’s business funds. Therefore, if the business falls apart, all players will get their money back.

Licensing jurisdictions that fall into this category include (but are not limited to):

  • Alderney
  • Gibraltar
  • Isle of Man
  • Malta
  • The United Kingdom

If you’re moderately educated in geography, you’ll realize these are all located in Europe. There’s a reason for that. The European Union holds its member states to supremely high standards of governance. In fact, any European nation that regulates iGaming is one that can be trusted. The UK is actually the strictest of them all, setting a high bar for all others to follow.

Unsafe Online Gambling Licenses

On the opposite end of that spectrum, there are licensing jurisdictions that don’t care what their licensees do. They can accept any players, whether they reside in a country that prohibits iGaming or not. They can supply uncertified and ultimately unfair software. They can accept deposits, then refuse to pay withdrawals on whatever false grounds they make up. Many of them are only bound to abide by two laws – pay your fees to maintain the license, and do not accept players from the country in which you are licensed.

Wait, what? Yes, you read that right. An irresponsible licensing authority will not allow its operators to accept players from within their own border. This should present a wildly-waving red flag for any player. If their own citizens cannot access the website, there has to be a reason; in this case, because the site’s themselves cannot be trusted, as they aren’t bound to uphold any decent business practice laws.

Some of the jurisdictions on this list are worse than others. Costa Rica is perhaps the worst, requiring nothing but a license payment and refusal to accept Costa Rican players (as detailed above). Curacao and Kahnawake aren’t as bad, but their governments do not prevent licensees to operate in illegal markets. That might be okay with the players who live in those illegal markets, knowing the operator could be shut down at any moment, but if you live in a legal jurisdiction like Canada, depositing at such a website is just asking for trouble.

Irresponsible licensing authorities that fall into this category include (but are not limited to):

  • Belize
  • Costa Rica
  • Curacao
  • Kahnawake
  • Panama

An operator that is licensed in one of the above jurisdictions may be a perfectly trusted online casino, but the fact is, they don’t have to be. The law does not require them to do the right thing. Now that you know the difference between licensing jurisdictions, you can do the right thing too, avoiding any necessary risk.

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