How Online Casino Sites Are Regulated
As online gambling becomes more socially acceptable and federally regulated, players have much more peace of mind playing online than they did in decades past. No longer do online casino players have to worry about the legality of the games they are playing or the safety of their identity and money.
However, online gambling regulation still has a ways to go as there is no form of international regulation system in place yet. OnlineGambling.ca has put together a brief primer to help you learn about how online casinos are regulated in different countries and what to look for when choosing where to play.
Just like land-based casinos, online gambling laws vary wildly from country to country. As of May 2017:
- 39 countries have a complete ban on online casinos (meaning playing on or operating)
- 32 ban the operation within their borders (but are fine with gambling with outside operators)
- 61 allow online casinos to operate with proper licensing from the government
- 93 neither explicitly prohibit or license them
However, for the most part you will see that the majority of online casinos you come across are licensed and regulated in the same few countries and territories. These include the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man, Curacao, Cyprus, Gibraltar, Malta, and the Kahnawake territory in Quebec.
To get a certification from any of these commissions, an online casino must do anything from passing strict quality-control tests to paying a large application fee before they are allowed to operate.
In Specific Places
In the United States and Canada, online gambling falls into a bit of a grey area. Most take the current laws in America to mean that it's fine for players to play online anywhere their money will be accepted, and that it'd be the operator that was acting illegally and not the player themselves. This of course does not apply to residents that live in Nevada or New Jersey where online gambling is legal to an extent. In Canada the laws are very similar, and for the most part it's only the gambling operators that should fear legal punishment.
Down under, Australians enjoy gambling online as long as they are not using an operator based within Aussie borders. In Europe, laws vary from country to country and you should look into your own nation's specific laws before playing.
Online casinos are certified and regulated one of three ways. These certifications signify that the online casinos have met different standards of quality, safety, and legality to ensure that they are not taking advantage of players (intentionally or unintentionally).
- By their government or jurisdiction- Pretty much any online casino that has been around for any period of time has the approval from their local gaming jurisdiction (otherwise they'd likely be shut down). The requirements to gain local government approval vary (and some are rather liberal in who they issue licenses to), so it's probably best to look for an online casino that also has certification from one of the following two types of testing organizations.
- By a security testing company- Seeing a certification seal from a security testing agency is a good sign. These companies do regular audits of online casinos, testing the encryption and security systems to ensure that your financial and person information is safe and unhackable. Look for an image on the bottom of a casino's homepage that says something like "SSL Secured", which is the same technology banks use to protect sensitive information.
- By a software testing agency- Organizations like eCOGRA and the Canadian Technical Systems Testing lend their stamp of approval to online casinos whose software meets high standards of quality. When testing software, things like the site's Random Number Generator and payout rates are examined with the utmost scrutiny to ensure that all play is being conducted fairly.
This can seem like a lot of information to keep in mind just to find an online casino. However, know that in all of our casino reviews we only recommend online casinos that meet all of these regulatory standards. So, rest easy, pick one you like, and have fun!