Most players that start on an online casino don’t care to much about licenses. Or they do check if there is a licence, but they do not care if the licence is from either Malta, Curacao, Gibraltar or the UK. A licence is a licence right? Well, unfortunately not. And once players start earning several thousand pounds, the licence suddenly gets more important. Better to tackle this in advance and avoid issues. Let us tell you why you want to play on a UK licensed Casino!
What does a Casino Licence exactly holds?
For the UK, all sites that want to operate have to apply for a licence with the Gambling Commission. The Gambling Act of 2005 states that a licence is there to:
- prevent any connection between gambling and criminal activity
- ensure games are fair and transparent
- prevent children and vulnerable people from being exploited.
To ensure these goals are met, companies that apply must follow these outlined criteria:
- confirmation of the identity of the person/company applying for the licence, to ensure accountability
- proof that the person/company has sufficient finances to run the business, so it won’t collapse after a series of big winning punters
- evidence that the person or company is honest and trustworthy
- qualifications and experience proving the person or company is capable of running a gambling business
- proof of a clear criminal record.
These are strict requirements that not everybody can meet. Might that be the reason online casinos are looking overseas for a licence? Not necessarily! There are some exceptions of online casinos to operate in the UK. These are countries from the European Economic Area (EEA) and other countries that are “whitelisted”. These countries work in close collaboration with the Gambling Commission, known as “remote” operators:
Antigua and Barbuda
Isle of Man
In 2014, the Gambling Act got further ‘tightened’. Companies that had licences elsewhere are now obliged to have at least some part of their company based in the UK. You can assume that all casinos that use a licence from a whitelisted country are meeting the requirements of being a UK Licensed Casino.
How do I know if I’m playing on a UK Licensed Casino?
Always check the footer first. Online Casinos tend to put this kind of information. You can look for a number or a stamp, crest or a name. If you want to be sure, the Gambling Commission has a search tool where you can find any company licensed. You can find if they are still in the process of applying and where exactly they are based.
What if you find other licenses?
Though you should always look for a casino that is in some way regulated by the Gambling Commission, there can be additional licenses that prove the integrity of a casino. These can be from independent games tester bodies like eCOGRA. They compare their calculation of payout percentages to what is stated by the casinos.
Als worth noting is the European Sports Security Association (ESSA), looking closely for criminal or otherwise suspicious behaviour. Last but not least, there are bodies that deal with the more problematic sides of gambling. Like GamCare, a Gambling Addiction Support Group, watching out for- and supporting people with a gambling problem.
As you might figured, the more of these licenses and certificates s casino has, the more you can be assured you are playing on a fair casino with good support, and that your money will be safe.
What are the best casino sites with a uk license?
There are many casinos with trustworthy licenses. Our list below is made of casinos of we can be 100% sure that they are trustworthy and safe to play. If you are playing on another casino, feel free to tell them we said hi!
Reliability of different UK Casino Licenses
Let’s take a closer look to the different licenses when choosing a UK online casino to play on:
-We start of with the actual first country to regulate online gambling. Through the Lotteries and Other Games Act they pioneered law and regulation and have been in the forefront of the industry ever since. Setting a standard for other countries to live up to. Malta prides themselves for being open and honest, while on the other hand being structured and strict. They do their best to protect the interest of small players as well as larger companies.
-Curacao on the other hand has had a more hands off approach, resulting in a poor reputation. Protection of players hasn’t been a priority, but (and this is a big but) since Curacao is part of the kingdom of the Netherlands in 2010. A new wind has been blowing and they are building hard to restore their reputation. Still, the direct influence of the dutch government is limited and no warranty of anything.
-The last UK licensed Casino candidate is Gibraltar. Last but by no means least. The Gibraltar Regulatory Authority holds the highest standards in player protection. They sometimes even go further than the UK standard, making multiple suggestions for improvements and raising the bar in player protection!
What is the Gambling Commission?
On their website, this institution tells us about themselves: ‘ The Gambling Commission was set up under the Gambling Act 2005 to regulate commercial gambling in Great Britain in partnership with licensing authorities. We also regulate the National Lottery under the National Lottery etc. Act 1993.’ Regulating means that they provide gambling businesses with licenses, provide the players with protection and provide society with transparantie about the gambling industry. This is how they formulate their own objectives:
- preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder, or being used to support crime
- ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way
- protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.
There are about 2500 operators active in the UK that have license, so the Gambling Commission has to prioritise. When operators fall out of line and don’t meet the requirements set by the Gambling Commission, they look for evidence and act accordingly. What they don’t do is handling customer complaints. So if you didn’t get your money at a casino, you should solve that with the casino and not with the commission. They did set out procedures that gambling operators have to follow. If they don’t, then you can complain about that.