For an online casino to legally operate in certain countries/regions, they must also be licensed by the main governing body/gaming commission/licensing authority and regulator that oversees all online gambling activities in that region.


In other words, online casino operators must obtain the necessary licenses to comply with local and international online gambling laws if they want to direct their business towards a certain market.

Here is a closer look at why online casino licensing and regulation is important. It will also discuss some of its complexities and the legal frameworks and regulatory standards that vary somewhat from one country to another.

Why should online casinos be licensed?

When a business owner applies for and then obtains the correct license to open an online casino that's legally permitted to accept real cash wagers from residents of certain countries, it means they are trustworthy.

However, the regulatory standards vary worldwide, meaning that some licensing authorities and gaming commissions have much higher standards than others. Therefore, it's always best to find out where an online casino is licensed before signing up.

The worst online casinos that must be avoided at all costs are those without a license. These sites operate outside of the law, and their games will no doubt come from unlicensed software providers.

They are otherwise known as unlicensed, rogue, fake, or scam casinos, but fortunately, there aren't too many of them, and they are usually easy to spot.

Which gaming commissions/licensing authorities have the highest standards?

The other important thing to remember is that the safest and most secure online casinos in the world, like those currently featured on the iGaming review site, are the ones that are typically licensed by just a handful of mid to top-tier licensing authorities.

They have strict vetting processes and impose tight controls over their licensees. They also carry out extensive background checks and thorough investigations before issuing an operator with a license to open an online gambling site.

They have the best legal frameworks and regulatory practices in place to protect everyone involved, from the players to the operators, and demonstrate the highest standards compared to the bottom-tier licensing authorities (also known as rubber stamp licensing authorities).

The globally renowned gaming commissions/licensing authorities that are known for issuing licenses to the world's most trusted casino sites are the following:

  • UK Gambling Commission
  • Norwegian Lottery Authority
  • Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission
  • Spelinspektionen (Swedish Gambling Authority)
  • New Jersey Gaming Commission
  • Malta Gaming Authority
  • Curacao eGaming

In other words, when you find an online casino that is licensed by one or more of these trusted authorities, you know you have found yourself a safe site.

Why is it important to play at licensed and regulated online casinos?

If you sign up to an unlicensed and unregulated online casino or even one that's licensed by a bottom-tier licensing authority that carries out basic checks over its licensees, and the casino you join decides not to pay you, there wouldn't be any recourse.

In other words, you wouldn't be able to get the legal support you are entitled to because rogue sites operate outside of the law.

In the extremely unlikely event that an online casino operator doesn't pay your winnings at a site that's licensed by a mid-top-tier licensing authority, you could approach them directly and receive the necessary legal backing you are entitled to as a player.

Some rogue casinos have even been known to lie about where they are licensed. The best way to check is to go to the gaming commission/licensing authority/regulator where the casino claims to be licensed and then check their list of licensees. You can soon find out if they are licensed by them or not.

Licensed and regulated online casinos will also promote responsible gambling. They will use high levels of SSL encryption to protect your account, and your money and personal details will always be in safe hands.

At an unlicensed online casino, your personal details could easily be sold on the dark web, and there would be nothing you could do about it.

These reasons alone are why you should always stick to playing at well-established online casinos (or even brand-new online casinos) that are 100% licensed by globally renowned authorities.

The player support on these websites will demonstrate excellent customer service levels and will be reachable in several ways, typically by toll-free telephone (and in your preferred language), live chat, and email.

Top-notch support on these sites will be friendly, quick to respond, and professionally trained. They will never leave your questions unanswered or any technical issues you may have been encountering on the website (or when using their mobile casino app) unresolved.

In comparison, rogue casino sites will have non-responsive support or non-existent support. If they provide any form of support, it will be unhelpful, impolite, and unfriendly, and will most likely not answer any of your questions/technical issues.

Final note

Now that you have learned about why online casino licensing and regulation are fundamentally important to the integrity and future of the iGaming industry, it should help you find which online casinos might be worth joining much easier.

When you sign up to play online casino games on a top-tier site, remember to read the reviews first on trusted iGaming review websites that specialise in presenting you with the latest information, giving you a much better insight into a casino before having to visit it.