Having a UK license is mandatory for any online casino accepting players from the UK as of 2014. But it wasn’t always like this. From 2005 to 2014, any online casino that possessed a valid online gambling license was allowed to welcome players from the United Kingdom. This was no longer adequate to satisfy the market, despite the fact that several of these licensing jurisdictions are well regarded.
Gambling Permits for the Internet
It is common for legitimate internet casinos to have a license issued by one of the previously “Whitelisted” jurisdictions. These are still relied upon for acceptance all around the world. A casino’s legitimacy and history may be gleaned from its licensing.
This article will examine the origins of these standard licensing jurisdictions, the standing of each, and the benefits and drawbacks of a casino holding a license from each. This is yet another great method for selecting the greatest online casino from among the many available.
If you’re a player on the lookout for a trustworthy real money casino but aren’t sure which country’s license is most important, this article will point you in the right direction, both legally and in terms of quality.
MGA Licensed Online Casinos in Malta
Malta is a tiny island nation in the Mediterranean Sea, about 50 miles south of Italy. Its population is less than half a million, and its landmass is less than 120 square miles. Despite their “smallness,” they proposed several novel approaches to internet gaming that were quite innovative. Because of this forethought, the “Lotteries and Other Games Act” was approved in 2001, a full four years before the United Kingdom enacted its first law addressing internet gambling.
The goal statement of the Malta Gaming Authority captures the spirit of this stringent piece of industry regulation:
The Authority’s stated mission is “to competently regulate the various sections of the gaming industry that fall under the Authority by ensuring gaming is fair and transparent to the players, preventing crime, corruption, and money laundering, and protecting minor and vulnerable players.”
In 2004, the nation issued updated rules called “Remote Gaming Regulations.” As a result, Malta established the first iGaming regulations within the European Union. You can see the respect and admiration that these early providers of online gaming have earned from the above.
Today, a quick look at the numbers is all it takes to show this significant impact in the sector. There are more than 300 gambling-related businesses headquartered in Malta. The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has approved more than 500 gaming licenses and provides employment for more than 8,000 people in the gaming sector.
In addition to being home to over 10% of the world’s gaming firms, Malta’s whole GDP (Gross Domestic Product) benefits from the gaming sector by more than 10%. In 2015, Malta-based enterprises’ GGR (Gross Gaming Revenue) reached a record high of €13.27 billion. Because to the government’s hard work in passing laws, Malta now collects more than €50 million in annual taxes.
The island nation of Malta is home to a thriving industry that includes many different types of businesses in its affiliate and operator networks. If you have any doubts about a company’s licensing status, you may check with the MGA’s up-to-date and dynamic online database. Play Zee Casino and Platinum Play are two of the most reputable examples of Malta-licensed online casinos.
Malta tops our list because of its prominence and its status as a center in the sector as a result of hosting the annual SiGMA conference.
Airport code for Gibraltar is “GRA.”
Located at the southernmost edge of Spain, Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory. Despite being ruled by the British since 1713, the country’s citizens really began making waves in the iGaming industry much before their Anglo contemporaries. In 1998, Gibraltar started issuing licenses for virtual casinos. Gibraltar’s authority was formalized in 2005, when the UK began to regulate the business. The Government of Gibraltar (GRA) is responsible for regulating businesses in the territory.
Obtaining a UKGC license was once different from obtaining a Gibraltar license. The region provided licenses to firms at reduced rates, with no value-added tax, and with access to a skilled labor supply. Over twelve percent of Gibraltar’s population once had industrial jobs. With a total population of roughly 35,000, this equates to about 4,200 industrially active Gibraltarians. These astounding numbers show what can be accomplished when visionary nations like Malta seize the industry’s potential early on.
The UK government realized in 2014 that it was missing out on significant tax income due to the present arrangement, despite the solidity of the Gibraltar regulatory environment and the reputation it acquired in the sector. For operators serving clients in the United Kingdom, the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act of 2014 mandated that they get a UK license and pay tax where their customers live rather than in their country of origin. This resulted in a dispute with Gibraltar and the return of hundreds of millions of pounds to the UK.
Despite heavy lobbying by the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association (GBGA), the amendments were approved. If a casino has a license issued by Gibraltar, you may be certain that it is a legitimate operation. Online gambling establishments like 888 Casino and Party Casino may boast a Gibraltar license.
The AGCC of Alderney
You’d be mistaken if you assumed the size of these “iGaming License Jurisdictions” wouldn’t decrease further. There are just about 2,000 people living on this little northernmost Channel Island, which is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey. Comparatively, the population of Malta (nearly 450 thousand) makes Gibraltar (35 thousand) look tiny.
In order to regulate its booming iGaming business, Alderney established the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) in May of 2000. The website describes its business model as follows:
“The Commission, which consists of the Chairman and three members, regulates eGambling on behalf of the States of Alderney and is independent and non-political. The Commission is committed to using a regulatory and supervisory strategy that is at the cutting edge of global best practices.
Alderney, being yet another British protectorate that is decades ahead of the curve, was naturally appealing to international industry. Business taxes in the Channel Islands are among the lowest in the world, and obtaining a license has never been too expensive. Alderney’s internet server and data capabilities are a further benefit. Due to its massive bandwidth, Alderney was formerly responsible for more of Europe’s whitelisted casino traffic than any other European country.
Some of the biggest names in the online gambling industry have operations on Alderney or use the island as a licensing hub. Irish icons like Paddy Power and the Karamba casino are among these. A license from Alderney, a highly regarded regulatory authority, is not something easily obtained by such high-profile businesses.
Since 2014, when the Whitelist scheme was abolished, Alderney has been feeling the effects of the need that UK-facing companies get a UK license. But many of the industry’s most recognizable names continue to rely on them. It has one of the newest licensing systems available today. It offers a straightforward, two-tier licensing system, with Tier 1 covering “Business to Customer” transactions and Tier 2 covering “Business to Business” transactions. The former refers to platform administration and the latter to client engagement and financial management. Applying for either one or both will satisfy ALL of your company’s requirements. Simple.
Commission for the Oversight of Gambling on the Isle of Man.
British rule extends to the Isle of Man, an island off the coast of Ireland and northwest England. But it’s not a part of Britain either. Because of this, the banking sector and the gaming industry have both boomed. Corporations pay no tax, there is no capital gains tax, no inheritance tax, no stamp fee, and the highest marginal income tax rate is only 20%. Definitely attractive.
The Online Gambling Registration Act (OGRA) was passed in 2001 on the Isle of Man. The Isle of Man GSC (Gambling Supervision Commission), established in 1963, drafted the relevant laws. The Gambling Supervision Commission issues licenses to organizations seeking to provide gambling services such as online casinos, sportsbooks, bingo, lotteries, live dealer casinos, and more after OGRA has been enacted.
The two major developers, platform providers, and game creators in the industry, Playtech and Microgaming, have been attracted to this thriving company and iGaming environment. The Isle of Man is home to two companies of great global impact.
The Isle of Man does not generally license any internet casinos. As a result, its licenses are not as robust as those issued by countries on the Whitelist.
The Gaming Authority of Curaçao
Curacao is another small, idyllic island that has been at the forefront of the burgeoning online gaming market. The beautiful Caribbean island of Curaçao, historically a part of the Netherlands Antilles but now a sovereign colony, began issuing licenses to operate online casinos in 1993. In 1996, the Curacao eGaming organization was founded, and from then on, this method grew increasingly commonplace. The Curacao eGaming website summarizes its illustrious history as follows:
When it comes to licensed e-gaming service providers, Curacao is among the oldest and most politically stable. Since 1996, we have been honored to work with some of the industry’s most prestigious eGaming operators and service suppliers.
The island of Curacao, and especially its capital of Willemstad, is a lively destination, with azure waters and brightly colored colonial Dutch style buildings. Their iGaming legislation reflects the laid-back, freewheeling attitude of the country as a whole. The country’s permission proved attractive to pioneers in online gambling due to its low tax rates (2% corporate tax, 0% sales tax, and 0% VAT). Much of the nation’s regulatory success, though, would ultimately contribute to its failure.
Even if some of these overseas operators weren’t completely convincing, Curacao eGaming was hesitant to turn down the influx of international business. The government has a laid-back approach to licensing and regulation, requiring just proof of financial stability and an independent audit before issuing a permit to a business. Once an operator obtains a license on Curacao, the government is known for staying out of it.
The sector has been a huge windfall for the country, with online gaming contributing more to the economy than tourism does. and Curacao is a beautiful island destination. The legality of the island’s iGaming industry has been called into question even by the Dutch authorities. They could step in and settle this, but that would be against their stated stance.
The result of such inadequate control is a license that has little weight on the international stage. As far as the UK Gambling Commission is concerned, it was never a whitelisted jurisdiction. That implies that Curacao has never provided convincing evidence that it is free of corruption, fair, strong, financially stable, or any other form of criminal activity.
The negative image Curacao has been gaining in the business world isn’t helping with online reviews. The general opinion is that if an online casino only has a Curacao license, you should go elsewhere. These gambling establishments have notoriously bad customer service and regularly come under fire for allegedly refusing to pay out winnings. Whether or not these casinos want to cheat their customers, this is an inevitable result of not being subject to the same rigorous laws as other casinos.
A representative from an online casino, for instance, recently reached out to Inside Casino, asking if we would be interested in helping to market their brand. As previously indicated, starting in 2014 only casinos that hold a valid UK gambling license will be able to welcome players from the UK. With only a Curacao license, the casino claims to “have no problem getting onboard players from the UK.” Further, they said, “we don’t have UK license because it is hard and expensive to get it.”
It’s true that there are strict requirements to meet in order to qualify for a UK license. However, the message here is clear: this particular casino wouldn’t meet the requirements for a license. They also acknowledged to engaging in some questionable and maybe unlawful activity.
Take with a grain of salt any proof of an operating Curacao online casino licence like this one (see below).