Amidst the lights and the glamour of online casinos, it can often be easy to overlook casino licenses. But, in fact, this should be one of the first things we all look at. After all, it’s best to be sure that your money is safe before you start betting.
There are many places from which online casinos can obtain their licenses from. They’re usually licensed in the UK, along with another familiar jurisdiction like Alderney or Isle of Man.
To give you the vital facts about what these licenses entail, have a read below.
What is a casino license?
In the UK, every gambling site is regulated by the UK Gambling Commission. And before they’re even allowed to operate, they need to apply for a licence. According to the Gambling Act 2005, the purpose of the licensing system is to:
- prevent any connection between gambling and criminal activity.
- ensure games are fair and transparent.
- prevent children and vulnerable people from being exploited.
How do casinos obtain a license?
Obtaining a license involves a lot more than just filling out a form. To be awarded a license, a gambling company must meet the suitability criteria outlined by the UK Gambling Commission. This includes:
confirmation of the identity of the person/company applying for the licence, to ensure accountability.
proof that the person/company has sufficient finances to run the business, so it won’t collapse after a series of big winning punters.
evidence that the person or company is honest and trustworthy.
qualifications and experience proving the person or company is capable of running a gambling business.
proof of a clear criminal record.
Why are some online casinos licenses overseas?
It’s important to note that it is possible for online casinos to obtain licenses from abroad. While the Gambling Act of 2005 gives power to the UK Gambling Commission to license and regulate gambling businesses, there are some legal exceptions. Put simply, this means that some operators from the European Economic Area (EEA) and others on a ‘white list’ can operate in the UK. Of course, this is all still under the regulatory framework of the UK Gambling Commission.
Some of these ‘remote operators’ include:
- EEA countries
- Antique and Barbuda
- Isle of Man
Most online casinos will display where they are licensed in the website footer; this is usually in the form of a crest, a stamp or a name. Alternatively, you can search via the UK Gambling Commission to find out where any licensed company is based.
In theory, it shouldn’t cause too many issues for an online casino to be based abroad. However, the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 stated that, in order to retain their remote licence, territories must base an element of their equipment or their facilities in Great Britain.
What other certificates are there?
On top of the license from the UK Gambling Commission, there’s also a number of other certificates casinos can obtain in order to commit to various standards.
These are some to look out for:
- The European Sports Security Association (ESSA).
This monitors betting patterns for suspicious behaviour.
- Independent Games Taster Bodies
These are companies such as eCOGRA and Gaming Laboratories Internation which calculate payout percentages.
- Gambling Addiction Support Groups
Places like GamCare, which support those with a gambling problem.
- Local Betting Associations and Voluntary Regulatory Bodies of Various Territories
For instance, see Gibraltar’s GBGA which promotes best practice amongst its members.