Online Casino Licenses

Online casino licences is a must-have for all gambling sites on the internet.

It does not matter if the site in question is offering casino games, lottery, e-sports or betting, they all need a gaming licence to do so.

But all gaming licences are not equal.

In fact, they are far from, and we’ll explain why:

As the online casino industry is growing at a phenomenal rate and, as with any industry that is experiencing exceptional growth, there will always be unscrupulous operators who are trying to make a quick buck by manipulating the system or defrauding unsuspecting people.

Therefore, it is essential for gamblers to avoid dodgy online casinos and only play at sites that are safe, secure and trustworthy.

The best way to ensure that the online casino that you choose is safe and trustworthy is to check the licences that the casino holds.

All online casinos based across the United Kingdom must have a UK Gambling Commission licence.

However, there are other online casinos that you might frequent that operate from offshore, like Isle of Man, Curacao, Malta or Alderney, and it is important to check all casino licences before you join a site.

Here at Online.Casino we have put together a comprehensive guide to all the licences that casinos can hold.

This way it’s easy to understand what a specific licence stands for and to choose a trustworthy operator.

Online casino licences explained

Online gamblers are attracted by Welcome Bonuses and VIP Promotions but very few players take the time to check a casino’s licence. Before you get caught up in all the excitement, take a few minutes to check that you are signing up for a reputable online casino with a valid licence. Since the introduction of the 2005 Gambling Act that was amended in 2014, most of the top online casinos in the UK are licenced and controlled by the UKGC.

The Gambling Act gives the legal provision to regulate the interactive betting, such as the online sports betting, bingo and the casino games. The gambler should be of the majority age which is 18 years. The advantages of licensing this system are:

  • to ensure that all online gambling games are transparent, honest and fair.
  • prevent the exploitation and harming of vulnerable people and children (players must be over 18).
  • prevent any links between gambling and criminal activity.

Casino licences are designed to regulate the industry and protect the interests of players. To obtain a licence from the UKGC, an online casino or gambling operator must meet certain criteria, including:

  • confirmation of identity – this is to ensure that the operator who is applying for operating licence can be held accountable.
  • proof of enough finances to operate an online casino – ensuring that the casino will not go bankrupt after the players deposit their money with them.
  • proof of both the experience and the qualifications – to ascertain if the operator has the capability of running an online gambling business.
  • a clean criminal record.

What are offshore licences?

While most top casinos across the UK are licenced by the UKGC, there are sites that operate under offshore licences from countries like Malta, Curacao and Cyprus.

The Gambling Act of 2005 empowers the UK Gambling Commission in the regulation and licensing of all gambling businesses in the UK.

However, there are a number of legal exceptions that allow online casinos based in other countries to operate in the gambling industry across the UK under the regulatory framework of the UKGC. These countries and territories include;

  • Alderney
  • Antigua
  • Barbuda
  • European Economic Area countries
  • Gibraltar
  • Isle of Man
  • Tasmania

The amendments to the Gambling, Licensing and Advertising Act of 2014 further provides that online casinos based in these countries or territories should have a base element of their equipment or facilities in the UK to retain their remote licence. This gives the Gambling Commission of the UK the jurisdiction over these whitelisted casino operators.

How to know what licences a casino holds

All online casinos that operate in the UK require a UKGC licence or a valid offshore licence. If you want to know if your favourite slot or the casino you want to sign up for has a licence to operate in the UK, you simply need to look at the casino website.

Most sites display the stamp, crest or name of all their licences in the footer of the website, along with their company details and contact information.

But just because an online casino site claims to have a valid UKGC or offshore licence does not necessary mean that they are in fact licenced.

If you have any doubts about the licences a casino site holds, you can make a note of the licence number on the casino website and then look up that number on the UK Gambling Commission website (or relevant offshore regulators site).

The UKGC also has a search page where you can find any licensed casino operator and where they are based.

UKGC Licence requirements

The UKGC has the responsibility of regulating the online gambling industry and acquiring a gaming license in the UK is nor easy or cheap.

To meet all the conditions of the UKGC will take a lot of time. However, other than the time and the costs involved, casinos need to follow all the correct procedures and obtain a UKGC licence.

It is illegal for operators to run non-licensed casinos in the UK. Only the casinos licensed by the UKGC are allowed to advertise in both print media and TV.

For the operators who fail to comply with the rules set by the UKGC, there are heavy fines. UK online casino operators should pay a yearly point in consumption tax which is 15% of their total profits.

Part of this tax id used for funding programs such as gambling addiction initiatives.

As a player, you are not subjected to taxes on your casino winnings if you won from a UKGC licenced website.

1. Social responsibility

For the majority of players, betting is a fun and harmless form of entertainment.

Unfortunately; there are some people who can’t gamble responsibly or who become addicted to gambling which can destroy their lives. Therefore, it is a priority for the Gambling Commission of the UK to protect vulnerable people.

Social responsibility is an important component of the UKGC licence requirements, and it is all about protecting the interests of the players and reducing the negative impact of gambling on families and communities.

Gambling is won by chances so, any form of gambling has inherent risks but the UKGC strives to protect players by enforcing marketing and advertising guidelines and regulations, preventing underage gambling, implementing fair and transparent terms and conditions, and requiring sites to have self-exclusion options.

As of 2019, the new regulations have been enforced to do more safeguard the vulnerable players and minors. The licensed casinos in the UK are supposed to confirm the identity and the age of each new member they register before they place their initial gaming money on the site.

The UKGC constantly reviews its regulations and introduces new measures to protect players and they work closely with a number of partner organisations to implement treatment, education, harm prevention and research programmes as well as improve social responsibility in the online gambling industry.

2. Anti-money laundering

The UKGC is serious about preventing crime in the online gambling industry and forcing online casinos operating in the UK to comply with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws and legislation.

Not only do all UKGC licenced casinos have to comply with the industry laws and regulations regarding financial transactions, but the Commission is also committed to raising the standards of anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing across the casino industry and encouraging casino operators to do more to regulate themselves and protect the industry from exploitation by criminals and terrorists.

The UK Gambling Commission has formalised an agreement with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to reflect recent changes in money laundering legislation under the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (MLR 2017) and the Commission will undertake to draw the attention of online casinos to the guidelines issued by HMRC. The UKGC works tirelessly to prevent criminals from profiting from online gambling.

3. Technical standards

Any form of betting for real money has its own set of risks. It is a game of chances, however for most players, that is what makes gambling exciting.

Technology has completely changed how the game operates. It has made gambling easier for the fraudsters in this industry to defraud the gamblers and to alter the results. To safeguard the interests of gamblers, all licenced UK casinos must comply with the technical standards and requirements of the UK Gambling Commission, but these standards should not be used as the sole measure of reliability, quality or security.

There are also a number of independent assessment bodies in the gambling industry that encourage online casinos to sign up and commit to various technical standards.

Independent agencies include:

  • eCOGRA
  • GLI
  • Technical Systems Testing
  • The European Sports Security Association

The agencies above all monitor casino websites, and reports are available to the public. Sometimes you can find these reports linked in the footer of casinos.

4. Alternative dispute resolution

The UKGC dispute resolution system has been set up to protect the rights of the gamblers and requires casinos to comply certain set of rules when dealing with complaints and to settle the disputes facilitated by a sovereign third party or any ADR facilitator.

The onus is on the casino to ensure that their dispute resolution procedures and requirements for handling the disputes are fair and transparent and must give players easy to understand and accessible information on the process of filing a complaint including timescales, contact details and arrangement for referring disputes to an ADR facilitator if the casino cannot effectively resolve a dispute within eight weeks.

Online casinos need to accept complains launched by a person, through the phone or email and provide customers with written confirmation when the complaints process has reached a conclusion.

The casinos are not allowed to set up unreasonable time limits for players to launch a complaint. They must provide information on how to quicken and refer a complaint to an ADR provider. They also need to issue feedbacks from the ADR facilitators not more than 10 days late.