When you use one of the many new online casinos, you will usually see a section regarding licences and other legal disclaimers. The Casino Veteran always tells other punters to make sure they are using a legitimate website. It can be quite complicated to work out exactly what the different registrations and regulatory bodies are and therefore how much protection they offer, so here’s the Casino Veteran’s explanation of the basics that you need to know to ensure that you are gambling in a safe and secure online environment.
The world of online gambling has exploded in popularity in recent years, and there are many ways that you can place a bet or try your hand at a wager of some kind. From casinos through to national lotteries, sports betting, bet exchanges, bingo games and real-time poker, the list is seemingly endless and getting bigger all the time.
To make matters more complicated, some activities are covered by certain licences and authorities, while others may need the regulation of a different body or set of laws. The upshot is that if you don’t take the time to check that your preferred site is legitimate in the first place, then you really can’t complain if things go wrong further down the line.
Online casinos are regulated and licensed to serve users that live in certain regions or different legal jurisdictions across the world. In the UK, the regulator is the UK Gambling Commission, which was established under the Gambling Act 2005 and given full powers two years later.
The Gambling Act 2005 covers the whole of England, Wales and Scotland. It aims to prevent gambling from becoming a source of disorder or crime, to ensure that it is conducted in an open and fair manner, and to protect children or other vulnerable people from being exploited or harmed by gambling
The UK Gambling Commission oversees betting, arcades, casinos, bingo, slot machines, lotteries and online gambling within the UK’s territory. However, online gamblers in the UK can also use casinos located outside of the country if they are regulated by Malta, Curaçao or Gibraltar and are still licensed by the UK Gambling Commission.
Overseas Gaming licence
As the Casino Veteran knows, checking that an online casino has the proper licence is perhaps the most important thing to do when choosing where to gamble online. In the best-case scenario, accountability is needed for both the players and the casinos in order to provide a safe and secure virtual environment.
While Malta and Gibraltar both provide legitimate licences for overseas sites that are safe to use under UK Gambling Commission guidelines, perhaps the most common name that you will come across when looking at legal notices is that of Curaçao.
Curaçao gaming license explained
Curaçao is part of the Netherlands Antilles and used to be subject to Netherlands Antilles legislation. Since Curaçao gained its status as a country in its own right, it is now a separate jurisdiction operating under terms laid down by its own government and the legislation it passes. Occupying the Antilles islands in the Caribbean, legal gambling services within the country are subject to regulation and a licence to operate. Curaçao gambling laws require the Ministry of Justice to issue master licences to companies, which then act in a regulatory role and issue their own sub-licences to gambling operators. Curaçao eGaming is one of four master gaming licence holders and manages online gaming services such as casino table games, live gambling, sports betting and poker.
Curacao E-gaming licensing requirements
The Curaçao E-gaming Licensing Authority deals with many new online casinos that want to apply for a licence. Each one must meet certain criteria, including:
- A minimum age requirement of 18
- Responsible gaming requirements
- Verification of residence or location
Location of users
Some say that it’s easy to get around any online registration requirements by using proxies and VPN systems, and this can help if you want to use the best no deposit bonus offers available. The truth is that most internet users are not particularly tech-savvy and really don’t want the hassle of setting up complex processes simply to place a bet or spend some time on their hobby.Any operator using the Curaçao Gaming Licence can accept players from any country that the sub-licence agreement does not explicitly prohibit. These blacklisted countries include Aruba, Belize, Bonaire, Curaçao, France, the Netherlands, Saba, Sint Eustatius, Saint Martin and the US.For UK players, it is simple and straightforward to use a company site that uses the Curaçao Gaming licence. Anyone that registers with one can simply expect to provide proof of age and residence and set up their account with their preferred method of online payment. Ideally, deposit limits, online time limits and self-exclusion options should also be included.
Many gambling operators choose Curaçao as their online home because of favourable tax laws, as well as the swift and inexpensive issuing of licences. Curaçao levies a charge of 2% on net profits, and the licensing fees can be negotiated with the government. Another attraction for operators is the simplicity of the gambling laws, which means that only one licence is needed for any type of gambling under the one umbrella organisation.
Taken together, this can mean that smaller and less established online casinos may choose to base their operations in Curaçao, so it is important for UK gamblers to make an educated choice on which sites to use.
The UK Gambling Commission ensures that all the online casinos that it licences are trustworthy by closely analysing applicants, verifying identities and checking their financial history. Integrity and competence are slightly more vague areas in terms of strict checks, but essentially the UK regime ensures that an operator is legitimate and offers a very low risk to consumers.
For those sites licensed by an overseas authority, even one that is approved by the UK Gambling Commission, the checks and balances are set at a lower bar, so it is ultimately up to the customer to make an informed decision as to the trustworthiness of the online casino they want to use.
Some say that the Casino Veteran is famous for minding his Ps and Qs at the table. Others know that it’s the T&Cs on the best online casinos’ websites that he really pays attention to!