Online casinos are licensed and regulated to serve individuals that live in certain regions or jurisdictions worldwide. The UK is one of the areas of the world where online gambling is quite popular and entirely legal. The UK Gambling Commission is the main regulator, however, UK players may also place wagers at casinos located outside of the UK regulated by Malta, Curaçao or Gibraltar, provided, of course, that they are still licensed by the UK Gambling Commission.
Checking to be sure that an online casino has the proper casino license is perhaps the most important aspect a player can consider when choosing where to play. Licensed casinos are regulated by a federal body which offers protection to players from criminal activity and ensures fairness as well as responsible gaming. Accountability for both players and online casinos is required for a safe environment in which to play online.
The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA)
This island nation located in the Mediterranean licenses software providers such as Microgaming as well as online casinos via its Gaming Authority. Malta has a thorough list of requirements that an online casino must meet to be licensed including: age limitations, responsible gambling stipulations and player location verification. There are 4 classes of licensing available: Class I Remote Gaming License, Class II Remote Betting License, Class III Promotional License for Remote Gaming and Class IV Business to Business Platform License. Currently, the MGA licenses over 100 casinos.
Players that register with an online casino licensed by the MGA must be of legal age to gamble (18 years old for the UK). Verification of identity and location is required, so expect to provide documentation proving both when registering. Also, expect that certain Deposit, Bet and Loss Limits will be imposed as online casinos are also required to promote responsible gambling in order to maintain licensing. Self-exclusion options may also apply that can be either temporary (weekly, monthy) or permanent.
The UK Gambling Commission
The UK Gambling Commission ensures that all online casinos that are licensed in the UK are trustworthy and free of criminal activity. Its goal is to protect players in every aspect of online gaming. In pursuit of that goal, it closely analyzes prospective applicants verifying identity, financial history, integrity, competence/experience and criminal background. Once an applicant has been thoroughly vetted, the online casino must then meet licensing requirements including age, responsible gambling and location verification requirements.
Players that visit an online casino licensed by the UK Gambling Commission must be at least 18 years of age and provide proof of residence and identity upon registration. Responsible gambling services and outreaches should be provided including (but not limited to) deposit limits, time limits and self-exclusion options.
There are several types of licenses tailored to differing casino gaming that may be required for an online casino to apply for. These include: Casino Operating License, Bingo Operating License, General Betting License, Lottery Operating License and Pool Operating License.
The Curaçao E-gaming Licensing Authority
This independent country licenses and regulates through its Curaçao E-gaming Licensing Authority. Online casinos that wish to apply for the Master License offered by this country must meet certain requirements such as a minimum age requirement of 18, responsible gaming requirements, and verification of residence/location. Online casinos that have obtained a Master License may also include other entities by way of a Sublicense.
Players that register with an online casino licensed by Curaçao can expect to provide proof of age and residence upon registration as well as enjoy optional responsible gaming limitations. A variety of virtual casino games may be available for play including lottery, sports, table games, slots and games of chance.
Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association
This self-governed jurisdiction falls within the bounds of Great Britain. So, while Gibraltar creates and enforces its own laws, is very UK friendly supporting online casinos that accept UK players such as: bet 365, BetVictor, Ladbrokes and Coral. Gibraltar requires that online casinos verify age, identity and location of all players as well as obtain a Remote License and promote responsible gambling. To ensure responsible gambling, Gibraltar requires that online casinos offer self-exclusion options as well as set personal account limits on deposits, losses, wagers and time spent gambling.
There are several licenses issued by Gibraltar that allow casinos (online and otherwise) to offer certain aspects of casino gaming including: Bookmaker License, Betting Intermediary License, Lottery License, Gaming Machine License, Remote Gambling License, Gaming Operator License and Pool License.
The Kahnawake Gaming Commission
The Kahnawake Gaming Commission is a US based licensing and regulating authority that governs both land-based and interactive (online) casino gaming. The Commission has been regulating online gambling since July 8, 1999 which makes it one of the first successful online gambling regulators worldwide. It regulates several online casino sites accessible to players in the US and around the world including: Manhattan Slots, Aladdin’s Gold and Club World.
The Kahnawake Gaming Commission imposes regulations on ‘interactive’ gaming such as: responsible gambling, fairness of casino games, prevention of crime, enforcement of the age requirement of 18 and personal information protection.