Any real money online betting site to be considered legal must hold a valid gambling license. Today many countries have their own gambling commission or regulatory body that decide various aspects of online betting for their jurisdiction.
Although the details and specifics of the rules and regulation vary with jurisdictions, there are a few common things that all regulatory bodies ensure. This includes issuing of licenses, ensure fair play and transparency, prohibit under-age gambling, prevent crime in gambling, and promote responsible gaming.
Below we’ll look at the major online gambling jurisdictions and their regulators.
Malta Gaming Authority
Malta may be a tiny Mediterranean island, but it is the powerhouse of the online gambling world. Not only are a vast majority of the online gambling companies headquartered in Malta, but its Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is also the major licensing authority for most casinos operating in Europe.
Formed way back in 2001 under the provisions of the Gaming Act, MGA has constantly kept up with the times with frequent updates and improvements to its gambling rules and regulations. An MGA granted license is considered prestigious as the requirements to grant a license are tough, and the fees high.
MGA provides licenses not only to gambling operators, but to casino software vendors as well. Major gaming providers such as NetEnt, Microgaming, and Evolution Gaming hold MGA licenses for their games. SOme of the top casinos with an MGA licenses are Mr Green Casino, LeoVegas Casino and Unibet Casino.
UK Gambling Commission
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) regulates the UK gambling industry, both offline and online. It’s both considered the strictest and the most prestigious regulatory authority the world over. UK’s Gambling Act of 2005 empowers the UKGC to regulate Britain’s gambling market within its borders. Any operator that wishes to server the Britisher punters legally must hold a license issued by the UKGC.
The UKGC issues separate licenses for Casino Games, Bingo, Gaming Software, Gaming Machines, Sports Betting and Lotteries. Needless to say, obtaining a UKGC license is no walk in the park and only the best and the most stable companies of high integrity are able to obtain a UK gambling license.
The UKGC is entrusted with the following tasks:
- Ensure crime-free gambling in the UK
- Makes sure that online casinos and betting sites offer a fair gambling experience
- Protects vulnerable gamblers and prevents underage gambling
The Curacao e-Gaming Licensing Authority is one of the oldest gambling regulatory authority, having been established in 1996. The tiny Caribbean island has been a preferred choice of many operators when it comes to obtaining a gambling license, as well establishing their gambling operations.
There are several reasons for Curaçao’s popularity as a regulated gambling jurisdiction. The prime ones being that getting a Curaçao license is relatively easy, low-cost, and quick. The authority issues a common license for all forms of interactive eGaming including Casinos, Sports Betting, Lottery, Games of Skill and Chance. Lack of market restrictions, lower taxes and fewer stipulations mean that many gambling operators who are not able to obtain a gambling license elsewhere but want to be a license holder end up with a Curaçao license.
Even if a Curaçao e-Gaming license is not the gold standard in the gambling world, it is a better proposition to play in a Curaçao licensed online casino than one without any license at all.
Gibraltar Gambling Commission
The Gibraltar Gambling Commission or the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority, as it is sometimes called, has been offering gambling licences since 1998. Set up under Gibraltar’s Gambling Act 2005, it is regarded as one of the best and most prestigious gambling commissions in the world.
The licensing criteria set by the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority is strict, and only operators with the best of reputation and stable financial standing are able to obtain a Gibraltar Gambling license. The Commission also actively safeguards the players’ interests and has various advertising guidelines, customer privacy and data protection rules, anti money laundering standards set in place.