Who regulates online casinos?

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If you are into gangster movies then you have noticed that even the toughest gangsters have to cope with and abide by regulations when it comes to casinos. It is easy to understand how things work in the physical world: there is a building and devices that authorities can oversee, with real people playing on real tables, exchanging real money.

Some may believe that online businesses can dodge all such regulations and authorities.

Wrong.

Contrary to common belief, there are good examples ofregulated online casino websites that provide a safe gaming environment for their players, are transparent and fair, and achieve the high standards of Gamcare.

Every country where gambling is legal, has its own set of rules to provide a safe gaming environment. Here we will be looking at the UK as an example.

Gambling is an industry like any other and, looking at the stats for the UK only, not a small one.

Courtesy UK Gambling Commission

Regulations and Licences

The Gambling Commission works together with licensing authorities and bodies like the police and customs to regulate the gambling industry.

Licences: Any online casino operating from England or who interacts with English consumers needs an English licence.

This also applies to the software that the online casino uses. Even if a developer is based somewhere in Asia but its software is used on a site interacting with English consumers, they would need a licence from the English authorities and must comply to their technical standards.

Codes of practice: Licence holders must adhere to social responsibility code provisions, these are basically as follows.

  • Gambling is conducted in a fair and transparent way. This is usually done through approved testing agencies who monitor payout quotas, certify software etc.
  • Protecting children, and other vulnerable people, from harm or exploitation thru gambling. This is up to every company to implement the necessary policies.
  • Assisting people who may have gambling related problems. This is could be implemented thru appropriate training for employees and facilitating self-exclusion or setting limits for players.

There are also ordinary code provisions that are not conditional for getting a licence but failure could be used as evidence in criminal proceedings. With billions of dollars or pounds exchanging hands in casinos, there is a potential for criminals to take advantage and launder money or finance other illegal activities, in this case the casinos have the responsibility to take adequate measures.

Transparency and Responsibility

Regulating online casinos does not end with licences and regulations. A regulated casino has to be transparent and fair in all its texts and publications, and has the responsibility to protect its players, sometimes even from themselves

Transparency is not only about directing players to the full version of the Terms and Conditions; it starts with promised bonuses and promotions, and goes on to include advertisements.

POC Tax, separating the wheat from the chaff

You would at least think that an online casino has the chance to work from a tax friendly base to reduce their tax burden. But no, the Point of Consumption (POC) Tax messed things up for a lot of smaller operators. It states that no matter where a casino operator is based, they have to pay 15% taxes on the gross revenue received from English consumers. This forced a lot of online casinos, who couldn’t shoulder the costs, to either close or sell their UK business.

Consequently, increased casino regulations have initiated a wave of mergers and acquisitions, as surviving online casinos fight to reduce costs through a larger customer base.

There are lots of arguments for and against over-regulating certain industries, but in this case the consumer benefits the most. The player can be sure that any operator who is willing to abide to all regulations, acquire the necessary licences and shoulder the costs is doing serious business and the chances of them cheating the customer or going bankrupt are very low.

As you can see, the online world is also strictly regulated and if you are planning to gamble with your hard-earned money then bet on a site with a proper licence; at least you will only be gambling against the odds not the unknown practices of the operator.

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