Casino Licenses

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No one has a clear idea of ​​how many online casinos there are on the Internet. Even experts in the industry estimate that this number varies between 3,000 and 4,000. However, no matter how many casino sites there are in total, it is possible to divide them into two basic categories: licensed and unlicensed. This may seem like a simple distinction at first glance, but it’s far more important than one might think. How safe, fair, and even profitable your online gambling experience will be determined by the license of online casinos.

11 licenses

Although online gambling licenses are so important, it is difficult to find objective and up-to-date information about them. Most guides circumvent this topic in a few sentences and give no information about what casino licenses actually do. We have prepared this guide to make up for this deficiency. Below, you can find answers to every question you wonder about the online casino licenses in 2021. We will tell you what they are and why they are important.

Online Casino Licence

What Is an Electronic Gaming License?

Let’s start with the basics and first talk about what a license is. When the first online casino site was launched in the 1990s, players showed almost no interest. At the time, making an online payment was a pretty radical idea, and sending real money to a site to play games was an idea that people were quite sceptical of.

Microgaming, the founder of the first online casino in the world, came up with the idea of ​​licensing to solve this problem. What it wanted to do was simple: Microgaming wanted to show players that it was authorized and regulated by a government agency to prove its trustworthiness. In this regard, the license would actually replace some form of official permit. But there was one problem. At that time, even the legality of land-based gambling was a matter of debate, and neither America nor any country in Europe was interested in granting such a license. Because doing so would mean recognizing the legality of online gambling.

However, an island nation showed interest in this idea and contacted Microgaming. This country was Curacao, and eGaming Curacao made history as the first official agency to give a license to an online casino site. As online gambling began to become more popular and legal, other countries began to set up similar agencies. Their purpose was to monitor, control, and audit the gambling activity in that country.

E licence for Casinos

Today, online casino licenses still act as an official permit, meaning that casinos are regulated by the government. In other words, an official authority knows who owns the casino, checks how fair it is, and resolves player complaints when necessary. ​​A license offers all this and more. We will talk about these benefits in more detail below.

The Importance of Online Casino Licenses

Let’s imagine you’ve been playing in an unlicensed online casino for years, and there have never been any problems. Once, you made a deposit of 10,000 EUR, but it never arrived in your balance. Customer service said the problem would be resolved within 24 hours. When you tried to enter the site the next day, you saw that such a site no longer exists. What would you do?

We can increase these examples. If you are playing at an unlicensed casino, you can never be sure how fair the games are. It is unclear whether you will be able to withdraw when you win – the operator can refuse your withdrawal request by making an excuse. There is nothing you can do against these problems because there is no agency that supervises the casino. You even have no idea who the owners are. The operator can close the casino at any time and reopen it under a different name after a few weeks.

Hence, a casino license protects the player above all else. Licensed casinos must regularly report on their financial activities, prove their games are fair and show a bank deposit for their company. Even if they go bankrupt one day, it is possible to cover the losses of the players with this bank guarantee. Let’s put it simply like this. There is a casino controlled by the government on the one hand, and an underground gambling den controlled by the mafia on the other. Which one do you feel safer in?

Importance of casino licence

Casino licenses are important not only for players but also for countries. This is because:

  • Through the licensing agency, the government can control and supervise gambling. More importantly, it can tax these activities. Casino taxes play an important role in the income of countries that made gambling legal.
  • The state also allows investment in its country through casino licenses. The requirement for most licenses is that the operator establishes a business in the respective country and opens a bank account.
  • Casino licenses even allow crime rates to drop. Throughout history, making gambling illegal has never worked, and people have continued to play in places controlled by criminal organizations. Legality also ensures that these criminal organizations are eliminated.

How Can You Check the License of an Online Casino?

Now you know why casino licenses are important. So, how do you control them? In other words, how do you know if an online casino is licensed? This is actually quite an easy process as licensed casinos have to display this information on every page of their website. License information is always at the bottom of the pages and is indicated by the logo of the licensing agency. When you click on this logo, the agency’s official website opens, and detailed information about the license is displayed. So, to check the license:

Check Casino Licence

  • Look at the bottom of any page on the casino site.
  • You should see the logo of the licensing institution. For example, Malta Gaming Authority licenses are indicated by the MGA, and UK licenses by the Gambling Commission logo. If you do not see such a logo, or if the license information is provided only in text, you should be suspicious.
  • Make sure to click on this logo. It may be only an image. If the license is genuine, clicking on the logo will open the official website of the licensor in a new tab. Check if the information on this new tab is the same as the website or not.

Benefits of Online Casino Licenses for Players

The main advantage of a licensed casino is credibility. A gambling operator that is regulated and certified is an indication that the games are fair. In addition, these documents are proof that they are legitimate businesses and not crooks.

Some of the common gambler advantages are the following:

  • Fairness of games. The results of online casino games (no matter what game it is) are determined by the RNG (random number generator) software – this is what makes them fair. In other words, even the person programming that game does not know what the outcome will be. You can never be sure how fair the games are in unlicensed rogue casinos. If the operator makes a change in RTP (return to player) rates, for example, it is not possible to notice it. You cannot rely on game developers too, as there are even casinos that obtain these games pirated and modify them as they wish. However, licensed casinos must prove that they use the RNG system and are regularly audited for this. In other words, you can be sure the games are fair.
  • Withdrawal guarantee. A rogue casino can refuse your withdrawal request for any reason, and there is nothing you can do in this regard. Rogue casinos can add anything they wish to the terms and conditions of use. We have even seen conditions stating that “the deposited money cannot be withdrawn until it is wagered at least ten times.” Whereas, licensed casinos must fulfil your withdrawal request unless they can prove that you are cheating (or laundering money). Otherwise, they face very severe penalties – even the famous Caesars casino has been fined £13 million for not meeting its legal obligations.
  • Consumer protection. If you run into a problem at a licensed casino and cannot resolve it with the operator, there is an authority you can contact. Each licensing agency deals with customer complaints differently. For example, UKGC solves the problem through mediator companies. MGA, on the other hand, examines the complaints directly. As a result of the investigation, it is possible to even cancel the license of the casino: TripleBet lost its license in 2020 for this reason.
  • Safe and secure personal and financial information. The laws and regulations that bind all the businesses in the respective country also bind licensed casinos. In this context, they have to take the necessary precautions for their websites to be safe and use the member information in a way that pays attention to privacy. In other words, you also get security and privacy. Part of the licensing and regulation requirement is to have a system that is protected from hacking – all your data is encrypted and secure.
  • You can self-exclude yourself. Licensed casinos are obliged to offer self-exclusion services to their members. It means, you can set limits for your playing time, and money you can lose, and the casino must comply with these personal limits. Otherwise, it will face very heavy sanctions.

Types of Online Casino Licenses

Every operator who wants to accept players from a certain country or region must obtain a license from the relevant agency of that country. For example, if you want to accept British players into your online casino, you must have a UKGC license. Even if you accept British players without this license, they will not be able to send you money (or you will be able to send money to them) because only UKGC licensed operators are allowed to make a transfer in the UK banking system. Some licenses are valid only for the country in which they were issued, while others may cover multiple countries. In this context, it is possible to list the most common online gambling licenses as follows:

Types of Casino Licences

Malta

There are four different types of licenses: games against the casino whose outcome is determined depending on RNG or skill, games not played against the casino but the operator still gets a commission and controlled skill games. It is possible to obtain both B2C and B2B licenses. The license application can be made online from start to finish. Click for more information.

Curacao

There are two types of licenses, master and sub. Master licenses are valid for 5 years, and all sub-licenses depend on them. Sub-licenses are valid for 3 months. There are only 4 master licenses (license no 1668, 365, 5536, 8048) and new ones are no longer issued. These license holders can license other operators. This is why you always see the same license numbers in most casinos.

Gibraltar

Gibraltar enforces UK laws on gambling licenses and a Gibraltar licensed casino can also accept players from the UK. However, many operators prefer to obtain a UKGC license, as some of the conditions are more severe (for example, a fairness report is required from one of 11 different auditors). Click for more information.

Kahnawake

This is the name of the Mohawk territory in Canada, and it has its own local laws. Gambling is allowed in this region and four different types of licenses are available. You can check this page for more information & the types of these licenses.

Alderney

Two types of licenses are available, B2B and B2C. Both have two sub-categories, based on whether the license holder is located in Alderney or not. If an operator wishes to provide third-party services to a license holder, it must get a Core Services Associate Certificate (CSAC) too. More info available here.

Isle of Man

Four different types of licenses are available. Online casinos and bookmakers must obtain the OGRA license or get a sub-license of it. It is possible to get a license for exotic gambling too, such as fantasy football and pool betting. More info available here.

Antigua and Barbuda

You can get a license for interactive gaming (online casinos) or interactive wagering (bookmaker). All of the applicants are verified by the English authorities too. However, there is no need to open a business in the country – only a local bank account is required.

Cyprus

Class A certificates are for bookmakers and Class B certificates are for online casinos. The capital of the operator must be at least 550,000 EUR and National Betting Authority (NBA) is the agency in charge. More info available here.

Cost of Online Casino Licenses

There is a different license cost for each jurisdiction. The gambling house also has to pay taxes from all its winnings. As you can see, legitimate casinos are real businesses that pay tens of thousands of dollars just to be able to operate. And we are just talking about fees; we are not yet discussing the game systems and software that the operator has to pay for. When it comes to licenses, there are three things you need to know:

  • First, the operator pays an application fee. This is non-refundable, even if the application gets rejected.
  • If the application is accepted, the operator starts to pay a fee for it. Usually, this is an annual fee but each license is different: It can be shorter or longer.
  • Speaking of which, licenses are not infinite: They are given for a certain period of time.

The table below shows everything you need to know about the requirements and cost of every casino license.

License Requirements Documents Time Price
Malta The company must be located in the country, the minimum authorized capital is up to 100,000 Euro. Business plan
Site policies
Proof of origin of funds
Resumes
Certificates of games
From 6 months From 25,000 Euro
UKGC Depends on the type of games. Local bank account + bank guarantee is needed. Business plan
Certificates of games
Software information
From 6 months From 9,000 Euro
Curacao Both the company and servers must be located in the country. Business plan
Description of games
RNG certificate
From 3 months From 14,900 Euro
Gibraltar Experience in the iGaming industry, another license to operate in other jurisdictions, a bank account in Gibraltar Copy of the current license
Financial documents
Letters of reputation
Gibraltar bank account
From 1 year From 40,000 Euro
Kahnawake Both the company and servers must be located in the region Business plan
RNG certificates
From 4 months From 25,000 USD
Alderney The operator must open a business in Alderney Business plan
Game descriptions
RNG certificates
RTP values
AML policy
From 1 year Starts from 17,500 Euro, up to 400,000 Euro for renewal
Isle of Man Two local directors, a company and bank account in the country Business plan
Game descriptions
RNG certificate
From 6 months From 34,900 USD
Antigua and Barbuda Two types of licenses, one for the casino, another for sports betting, no special requirement is needed Business plan
Site policies
Proof of origin of funds
Resume
From 3 months From 25,000 Euro
Cyprus Depends on the type of games. A local bank account + bank guarantee (550,000 EUR) is needed. Business plan
Resumes
Certificates of games
From 1 year From 30,000 Euro

What Should You Do If You Have an Issue with a Licensed Casino?

First of all, you should contact the customer service of the casino. In order to apply to the licensing agency, the casino must not be able to solve your problem. If you cannot resolve your problem with the operator, it is possible to apply online to the respective agency. After this application, the agency will either direct you to a mediator or initiate an investigation within itself. Both the players and the licensee can sue in court against the results of the investigation.

Casinos with No License Required

There are a lot of casinos in the world today, and almost all of them are licensed. Licensing is always considered crucial when it comes to proving to the world that a casino is legit, especially because players’ money is in play.

However, there’s another cluster of casinos that have existed in the online gambling industry for a while – social casinos. These types of gaming sites offer gambling services to players without the need to have a gambling license to show for. In fact, that’s why they are referred to as “social” casinos. But why is this so? Well, today’s post will answer all your questions and more.

Types of Online Social Games

Today, all online gambling games that don’t require real money are called social gambling games. However, unlike free-to-play casino games in demo mode, there’s no real money variant incorporated in the game. They are very similar to any other casino games, from the rules to the gameplay. Some of the most popular online social games are:

  • Blackjack,
  • Roulette,
  • Poker Games,
  • Slot Machines,
  • Video poker,
  • Keno,
  • Solitaire,
  • Bingo,
  • Lottery.

Currency in Social Gambling Games

Because you don’t wager any real money, you will be paying with chips instead. The chip is the standard currency in the social gaming world, and they don’t have real-life value. So, before you play, you will receive these chips and use them to bet on various kinds of games within the casino that offered you the chips.

You cannot use these chips to trade for anything. Some land-based casinos, however, allow you to exchange these coins for free food, dinner or drinks. Yet, some social casino games have in-app purchases, just like regular apps, to buy the in-game chips or unlock levels.

Differences Between Licensed Casinos and Social Casinos

To understand why social casinos are different from the usual online casinos, let’s go through some of the most common variations:

Regulations
Free social casinos are not regulated. For the case of an online casino, we all know the drill – it has to be regulated to operate.

Safety and Security
In Social casino apps, especially those that don’t have in-app purchases, there’s not much security or safety going on. That’s is because there isn’t any real money involved that could be at risk. Standard online casinos, on the other hand, have to operate with a certain degree of safety.

Profit
In a real money casino, the money you win is what totals up to be your profit. This is not possible in a social casino because even if you earn lots of chips, you won’t be able to convert them to real money. These chips have no tangible value in the real world.

Keep It Legal, Play at Licensed Online Casinos

Social casinos are just for entertainment, but they are also a grand gateway to take you to the real deal. They are remarkably exciting, and given that you cannot lose your money by any means, they are an excellent option for players who are just looking for the gambling thrill without any extra expenditure.

Government organizations were put in place to protect the consumers like you and me. If you ever have a doubt whether a casino is legit or not, call the online Casino support & feedback. Take down notes on what they say and do your due diligence in researching if the company is duly registered and licensed. Play safely & be gamble aware.

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