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Online casino regulators, the influence they have and what differs them

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Casino licenses have a clear mandate to not only protect gamblers but to ensure that casinos are run in a fair and reputable manner. While there are various casino licenses available all over the world, many of which are specific to that particular country jurisdiction, there is an unwritten hierarchy of which licences bear more weight than others.

When it comes to the regulation of gambling in each country, it goes without saying that the liberal or conservative nature of the laws speak directly to how the country will view and regulate gambling in that country.

The purpose of gambling regulatory boards

If we use the US Gaming Regulatory overview as an example, it is easier to understand the reason regulatory boards exist:

“Since the continued growth and success of gaming is dependent upon public confidence, gaming laws protect gaming consumers and the viability and integrity of the gaming industry, including the prevention of cheating and fraudulent practices.

Gaming laws may also be designed to protect and maximize state and local revenues derived through taxation and licensing fees imposed on gaming industry participants and enhance economic development and tourism.

To accomplish these public policy goals, gaming laws establish procedures to ensure that participants in the gaming industry meet certain standards of character and fitness, or suitability. In addition, gaming laws require gaming industry participants to:

  • Establish and maintain responsible accounting practices and procedures;
  • Maintain effective controls over their financial practices, including the establishment of minimum procedures for internal fiscal affairs and the safeguarding of assets and revenues;
  • Maintain systems for reliable record keeping;
  • File periodic reports with gaming regulators;
  • and Maintain strict compliance with various laws, regulations and required minimum internal controls pertaining to gaming.”

In the US, each state needs to decide on whether casinos, either online, land-based or both, will be allowed and if so, how each jurisdiction will manage the needs of the state. Off-shore casinos tend to fall in a grey area that needs specific attention as, when the law around legality is not addressed, it leaves citizens open to risk.

UK Gambling Commission

Considered to be the toughest gambling commission in the world, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) is a major player in Europe and tends to pioneer new trends when it comes to the regulation of gambling.

When it comes to the protection of the customer, the Commission has set the standard to encourage responsible gambling:

  • daily, weekly and monthly deposit limits - where players need to set their gambling budget and remain within its boundaries
  • Know Your Customer - customers need to verify their identity by sending documents through to the online casino within a certain period of time
  • Anti Money Laundering Policies - gamblers need to be prepared to prove how they fund their gameplay
  • Take a break - this gives casino players an option to request the locking of their accounts

After seeing how effectively these policies made an impact on the reduction of fraud and gambling syndicates, other online casinos incorporated some, if not all, of the above to protect their customers and businesses.

Malta Gaming Authority

Considered to be the 2nd most powerful gambling license in the world the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has positioned itself as a force to be reckoned with. After adopting all the UKGC guidelines mentioned above, the MGA works in parallel when it comes to setting trends across Europe.

The MGA license is a popular choice for off-shore casinos and is considered a trusted stamp of reputability within the iGaming landscape. The MGA license isn’t nearly as strict as UKGC in terms of taking a proactive approach from a compliance point of view though.

Curaçao Gaming Control

The 3rd most popular gambling license is by the Curaçao Gaming Control. While this regulatory board follows in the UKGC and MGA footsteps, casino operators who are looking to pay as little tax as possible opt for this license.

Where MGA requires taxation of between 0.85 and 1.25% on a sliding scale, Curaçao has a zero per cent tax on casino profits.

From a compliance perspective, Curaçao takes a more reactive approach to casinos who shirk their responsibilities.

Netherlands and Malta Gaming Authorities Collaborate

In order to assist the Netherlands Gaming Commission, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) in the creation of their regulatory framework, the MGA has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Dutch board.

This will see the two gaming regulators working together to:

  • share market data and industry best practices
  • shape policy and corporate responsibility
  • prevent the gaming space from being used as a target for money laundering and other crimes

Chairperson of the KSA, Rene Jansen shared his excitement about this collaboration and said, “I am delighted that agreements with international regulators, like the Malta Gaming Authority, are formalised and captured in Memorandums of Understanding. These MoU’s are a solid basis to share knowledge, to cooperate, and to smoothly exchange information. At the same time operators will be receiving a clear signal that [the] hands of regulators will be joined internationally.”

Given the more conservative approach of The Netherlands, there are signs that the gambling laws will lean more heavily towards the stricter side of the scale. However, only time will tell as to exactly what we can expect in the future.

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