When dealing with a commercial website in a regulated industry, a valid license is one of the first things you check. It proves a company is legitimate and that it meets all the standards of a properly managed business.
But what if the business has an international and not a local license? Should you become a customer, especially in a sensitive sector like online gambling? The short answer is ‘Yes’ although cautiously. Here’s why.
A Local License Could be Necessary
In many countries where online gambling is officially legal, a local license is necessary. The UK is an example. It regulates new casinos and sportsbooks through the Gambling Commission.
In Europe, Germany, France, Austria, Croatia and Denmark are some of the countries that mandate a local gambling license. In North America, the states of New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia and Pennsylvania also require licensing.
If your country requires a local license, find a locally licensed online casino. Don’t settle for just about anything, though. Look for a website that fulfills your expectations: bonuses, fast payments, game variety, all the good stuff.
If you can’t find a reliable locally licensed online casinos, consider the next option: foreign businesses. There are lots of good offshore casinos. But beware, these companies might be breaking your country’s gambling laws.
License Only Necessary for Local Casinos
As an article on this site shows, some countries have interesting online gambling laws. Take Canada as an example. Its ten provinces can license online casinos at a provincial level. But Canadians can only use local casinos based in their province.
That way, players from Quebec can’t use a casino located in British Columbia even though they’re in the same country. Surprisingly, players from both British Columbia and Quebec can use an offshore casino based in Malta, Britain or Curacao.
Canada aside, Norway, Rwanda, Ireland, Switzerland, Greece, Monaco and Armenia have similar laws. They regulate home-based operators steadfastly. But they have no issues with foreign casinos.
Any License Can Do
A significant number of countries don’t care about casino licenses. And if they do, they accept any genuine gambling permit. If you live in such a nation, you’re responsible for ensure you play at a safe online casino.
In other words, your country won’t protect you from a rogue casino. And it won’t intervene if there’s a dispute that need a third-party intervention. Examples of these countries are Nigeria, New Zealand, Brazil, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Slovakia, Mexico, Hong Kong, Japan and Malaysia.
Although Australia has elaborate gambling laws, it also belongs to the list. Sure, it requires licenses for casinos that want to set up offices in the Land Down Under. But for Aussies, playing at offshore casinos is legal.
No Gambling Laws
It’s true—most countries don’t have online gambling laws. The reason is simple. Most constitutions were drafted long before the Internet came along. As such, no one thought playing poker and slots on a handheld device would one day be possible.
With that in mind, most of these countries have well-defined land-based gambling laws. Some of them allow brick and mortal casinos. Others prohibit them. But the unifying factor is that these countries have no online gambling laws.
They include most African countries, India, Macau, Mongolia, most South American countries, and many Oceanic countries. With no gambling laws, online casinos are neither legal nor illegal. And in that case, people choose what to do.
You can join an offshore online casino that accepts players from your country. In that case, you won’t be breaking any laws. Or you can choose not to gamble online because your country does not legalize the industry. Still, you’ll be safe from any legal action.
Religious Laws Apply
Let’s cut the chase. Muslim laws prohibit gambling of all kinds. In fact, the Koran describes gambling as evil, immoral and bad for the faithful. For these reasons, nearly all Muslim countries prohibit casinos and sportsbooks.
Some Arab countries are so determined in enforcing anti-gambling laws that they block the ISP addresses of foreign gambling websites. What’s more, they also punish their citizens if apprehended gambling.
Surprisingly, jail time, fines and Internet firewalls don’t stop people in Arab nations from gambling online. Although they do it illegally, they use proxies and Virtual Private Networks to create accounts at offshore casinos.
License Provider Trust
Let’s face it. Not all gambling licenses are created equal. Some regulators act proactively to keep the online casino industry safe. Others don’t care to help players when a business they’ve licensed foes rogue.
When finding an online casino, therefore, think beyond the license. Check to see whether the license comes from a trusted regulator. In the UK, you can trust the Gambling Commission to intervene professionally in a case of a dispute with an operator.
In Europe, Gibraltar, Isle of Man or Malta host reasonably respected gambling regulators. State-based licensing authorities in the US also tend to be authoritative. But Curacao and several other Caribbean-based regulators don’t always provide help when needed.
Licensing aside, also check for a seal of approval from an independent regulator. They provide better assurance that a casino is genuine and operates fairly. The most trusted auditors are eCOGRA, Thwate, iTechLabs, and GLI.
If you’re like most people, you read reviews before you buy anything online. That shouldn’t change when finding an online casino. Sure, you want to see a license to know the business is genuine.
But you also want to receive quality services. And a license doesn’t provide an assurance of quality products. Instead, you want to read reviews from experts and players to know what they think about an operator.
In case you’re wondering, read reviews about safety, bonuses, games, payments and customer service. If a business has top-ratings on all the areas mentioned above, it’s probably safe and worth your time.
Sometimes, though, casinos might receive positive reviews for bonuses and game variety. But low ratings for customer support and payment speed. Decide what’s more important to you and choose a casino based on those factors.