Online Casino Licences - Everything to Know

Updated: | By: Viktor Peters
Licensed casinos

Players have thousands of options for choosing an online casino to play at. While most online casinos are safe and secure, there’s always a risk of joining one that’s not legitimate. The easiest way to confirm whether a casino is safe is by reviewing licences. You may be familiar with casino games, but licences are a different story. Don’t worry, our online gambling experts have put together all the information you need to know about casino licences. Read on to learn more.

Casino Licences Guide

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What Is a Casino Licence?

A casino licence shows the legitimacy of any online casino. It confirms government authority evaluates and regulates the site. There are several reasons why a casino licence is important.
  • Verifies games have been tested for fair play;
  • Forbids gambling crime;
  • Prevents minors from joining the casino;
  • Prohibits vulnerable players;
  • Confirms the casino operator doesn’t have a criminal background;
  • Proves the casino is financially supported;
  • Shows that the gambling site is trustworthy.
Before joining a casino, you should always check the gambling site for a valid licence. All casino licences have expiry dates, so websites have to stay up-to-date.

The Growth of the Online Casino Industry

More gambling sites are hitting the market. Not only is it easier for these organisations to launch, but also to be a profitable business. In 2021, the global revenue was estimated at $61.5 billion USD. At the time, it was predicted that it could grow by $114.4 billion USD by 2028. In 2022, the global gambling revenue grew to $63.53 billion USD and is expected to grow by over 11% annually. According to Forbes, the online gambling industry grew 13.5% from 2021 to 2022, with a revenue of $53.04 billion. It’s also estimated the gambling revenue in 2022 was approximately $420 million AUD in Australia. The industry is growing, and each year it’s expected more gambling sites to enter the scene. This has led to a growth in casino licences as well.

Reputable Online Casino Licence Providers

The best online casinos in Australia will be licenced by a top reputable authority. There are certain rules a gambling site must follow to obtain and keep a licence for a safe online gambling experience. These rules are strict. People should always check that the casino site is licenced by one of the following providers.
Licence Provider Number of Licenced Operators
Malta Gaming Authority 400+
United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) 500+
Curacao eGaming 450+
Kahnawake Gaming Commission 250+
Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland (GRAI) N/A
Most online casinos will keep the licensing information in the website’s footer. It will be displayed with other certifications. Typically, it’s recommended that players choose a gambling site licenced by local authorities. However, there aren’t any legal online gambling sites operating in Australia. Luckily, many of the websites overseas provide services to Australians.

Less Known Providers

While the licensing authorities mentioned in the table above are the most reputable in the industry, they are not the only available. Ultimately, sites will choose a licenced provider closest to them and follow the rules of the Gambling Act 2014. Some others less known but still reputable include:
  • Dutch Gaming Authority
  • Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission
  • Gibraltar Regulatory Authority
  • Alderney Gambling Control Commission
  • Estonian Tax and Customs Board
  • Antigua and Barbuda Financial Services Regulatory Commission
Keep in mind, you may come across online casinos that feature licences from other providers. If the casino hasn’t been licenced by at least one of the providers we mentioned, then we cannot guarantee it is trustworthy.

Licence from Malta Gaming Authority

One of the most well-known casino licence providers is Malta Gaming Authority. When people see a Malta licence, they feel confident the website is trustworthy. This provider has been in the industry since 2001 and currently provides licences to over 400 online casinos worldwide. Gamblers trust Malta because they are committed to creating a safer online gambling experience. On top of providing valid licences, this company will regularly check for suspicious websites and unauthorised URLs to alert players. They also feature a website section where players can inquire about help for safe gambling or lodge a complaint against an online casino. Online casinos can apply for an MGA licence directly on its official website. Applications can be found under the licence hub tab. Online casinos will need to apply for the B2C licence for remote gaming services. Once a licence application is requested, gambling organisations will need to submit the required documents, arrange a consultation, and pay the required fees (€40,000). Next, there will be an audit and system review. The casino must also fill out several forms before the licence is approved.

Licence from the United Kingdom Gambling Commission

Legal online casinos from the UK should hold a valid licence from the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC). Currently, over 500 gambling sites are licenced through this organisation. The UKGC launched in 2005 along with the Gambling Act 2005. It was created with a focus on online casinos and sportsbooks. When a site has a licence from this organisation, it guarantees that it is free of crime, games are fair, and only legal players may join. Casino services in Great Britain can apply for a licence directly online. When applying for a licence, casino organisations will be responsible for providing a business plan, credit report, proof of funding and other documents. They will also be required to pay a fee, which will be calculated at the time of the application (based on services chosen). After all the documents are submitted, a caseworker will arrange a consultation meeting.

Licence from Curacao eGaming

Most legal online gambling didn’t take place until the 2000s. However, the island of Curacao was one of the first nations to legalise online gambling. Curacao eGaming was launched in 1993. Online gambling is a huge part of Curacao’s economy, earning an estimated $1.4 to $3 billion Guilders ($1.17 to $2.5 billion AUD) annually. While the regulator doesn’t have a registered list of licenced casinos, they feature a section where people can search a gambling site’s address to confirm whether the casino holds a valid licence. The company has one of the easiest processes for obtaining a licence. Brands can apply for a B2C licence directly online. The application features a questionnaire. Once all the questions have been answered, a Curacao eGaming representative will email the brand to discuss offers suitable for the client. The brand will then be required to pay a €1,500 fee and submit the necessary documents to proceed.

Licence from Kahnawake Gaming Commission

Kahnawake Mohawk Territory is a region in southern Quebec, Canada. Gambling organisations in this region can apply for a licence, permit, or authorisation. While this Canadian organisation isn’t as well-known as other licence providers, it’s reliable. Currently, they provide licences to over 250 online casinos. Casino brands in Kahnawake Mohawk Territory can apply for a licence directly online. During the application process, the brands will need to submit several documents, such as client provider authorisation, business entity form, key person licence application, and more. They will also be required to pay up to $90,000 USD in fees if approved for a licence.

Licence from the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland (GRAI)

Irish-themed slots are very popular. However, Irish casinos are rare. If you encounter an online casino that the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland licenced, you can guarantee a safe online experience. Irish gambling laws are very strict for player protection, and all casinos with a GRAI licence take responsible gambling seriously. Currently, little information is known about the number of online casinos holding a licence through GRAI. However, any brand interested in learning how to apply for a GRAI licence will need to contact the department directly by email at GRAI@justice.ie.

Other Certifications for Gambling Sites

When looking at the footer of a gambling site, you might see other certifications along with the casino’s licence provider. While others aren’t mandatory, they provide players peace of mind about safety and trustworthiness. For example, at the gambling site PokerStars, along with a licence from Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), there are certifications for RG check, GamCare, Gordon Moody, and more. These are all independent certificate providers that review specific areas of the casino to see that it meets industry standards. Legal casinos should also have an 18+ icon as proof that verification is needed. The best online casinos will be transparent with which certificates they have. Here are some certificates common to see at legitimate online casinos.
e-Commerce Online Gambling Regulation and Assurance (eCorga) London-based company specialising in testing, inspecting, and certifying online gambling software.
European Sports Security Association Association is responsible for monitoring betting patterns through online sportsbooks. Their mission is to prevent fraud and other sports betting crimes.
GamCare A network of organisations providing support for anyone affected by problem gambling.
Responsible Gambling Check (RG Check) It ensures the online casino follows codes of practice for responsible gambling.
Gordon Moody A UK-based charity that provides residential treatment to people with gambling addiction.
International Betting Integrity Association An organisation focused on preventing betting corruption and protecting gamblers.
Gaming Laboratories International Provides lottery and iGaming testing and assessment services.
Gaming Associates Europe Accredited testing facility focused on iGaming software.
BMM North America Focused on testing and consulting services for iGaming software.

Conclusion – Online Casino Licences

You may notice more ads for different online casino sites. This is because it is easier now for casino brands to get licenced. Most reputable licence providers allow brands to start the process online. When a gambling site holds a valid licence from a government authority, customers know they will have a safe online experience. Over the past few years, the online gambling industry has risen with a revenue increase in every country where it’s legal, and it’s estimated to grow approximately 11% per year. More people are attracted to online casinos because they feature thousands of games, cool promotions, and many of them are introducing apps.
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