We have dedicated this section of our online gaming knowledge base to regulators in the gaming sector. Here we have listed most of the top gaming regulatory authorities which supervise and oversee online gaming. We will continue to update this list regularly as and when information changes or to add new regions and jurisdictions to the list. Our aim is to provide you with the ultimate source of regulator information for the online gambling industry.
The following list contains the most well known and active jurisdictions. We have provided a short summery of jurisdiction and added links to each of the regulator websites. Click on the name of each jurisdiction to see a brief description of its regulations and what makes it unique. If you have additional information about a particular jurisdiction which you feel should be included please feel free to contact us.
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The United Kingdom Gambling Commission regulates all land-based and online gambling establishments in the UK with the exception of sports betting. Land-based and Internet based gambling is legal in Britain and licensed by the Gambling Commission. The commission was established with the UK Gambling Act of 2005 and gained more responsibility when the Gambling Licensing and Advertising Bill was passed in 2014. The new Bill included reference to the Point-of-Consumption Tax which targeted British gaming companies which moved offshore, often to Gibraltar, to avoid paying gambling taxes in the UK. The Point-of-Consumption Tax requires a standard 15% taxation on revenue gained from British residents, no matter where the company was based. The new law caused an uproar among operators serving the UK online gambling market and some even left Britain. UK Gambling Commission licenses allow companies to set up their online gambling sites within UK territory and serve players in Britain and other parts of the world.
The DICJ or Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau advises and assists the Chief Executive of Macao SAR on matters relating to the economic policies which apply to all forms of gaming, games of fortune, casinos etc. However Macau does not issue online gaming licenses and there is no legal framework to do so. Macau residents are not explicitly banned from using international sites.
The Casino Control Regulations, otherwise known simply as “The Regulations” are set by the Casino Regulatory Authority of Singapore with the approval of the Minister of Home Affairs according to the Casino Act (Cap.33A). The Regulations lay down in detail the terms and requirements which must be met by casino operators and all those dealing with casinos (including vendors, employees and patrons). The Regulations are published in the Government Gazette and are enforced as law. Singapore residents must buy a daily permit for visiting online casinos but it is not impossible to bet online if you know where to look. Foreigners in Singapore can play online. In 2016 Singapore made a sweeping ban on remote gambling with certain exceptions which are tightly monitored. With the exception of Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club there is legislation to block access to gambling sites and stop electronic payments. Neither of the permitted websites can offer casino-style games or poker. Since the ban was put in place several hundred international sites have been blocked.
In France the Regulatory Authority for Online Games (ARJEL) is the authority which oversees all issues relating to online gaming. ARJEL was established by the French Gaming Act passed in May 2010 (otherwise referred to as Article 34 of Law #2010-476). ARJEL is comprised of seven permanent members appointed by the French President and is based in Paris. Three online gaming licenses are issued in France – online sports betting (pool betting, live betting and fixed odds betting); online poker games and horse racing betting.
The Lotteries and Gaming Authority operates under the government of Gibraltar’s Gaming Division. Many prominent gaming operators choose to incorporate and license their companies in Gibraltar. Although operators are attracted to Gibraltar because of the low licensing fees this does not give the governing authority incentive to play an active role in the industry. The Gibraltar authority responsible for online gaming has a bad track record and tarnished reputation in handling and managing player issues and disputes. Approximately 12% of the Gibraltar workforce is employed in online gambling and major bookmakers like William Hill and Ladbrokes are based here. So although the casinos licensed in Gibraltar are legitimate, if you end up having any dispute or problem with them the Gibraltar authority will not be much help to you.
The Malta Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA) is an acceptable regulator although they have not stood out as exemplary. LGA has a number of guidelines in place to protect players including ensuring online casino transparency; casino fairness and that the casinos have enough funds to cover payments to players. However the Maltese authority will not assist in disputes between players and EU based companies although they will facilitate contact with the casino on your behalf. Read here more details about Malta gambling license.
The Spanish regulator authority under the Ministry of Finance, General Directorate of Gaming Regulation and Supervision regulates Spain’s Internet gaming market. Spain is a popular licensing jurisdiction with many international gaming companies and is seen as a leading emerging market in the Internet gambling industry. There are rigid regulations and hefty taxation but the industry is strong with more than half of all online bets going on sports and poker.
Online gambling was legalized in Bulgaria in 2012 but at the time no gambling regulatory infrastructure or taxation policy was implemented. Since then, in 2013, taxation and licensing policies have been finalized by Bulgarian lawmakers and regulators and in 2014 the Bulgarian Gambling Act made all forms of Internet gambling legal.The law provides for operators to officially obtain a gaming license in Bulgaria and legally operate gaming activities within Bulgarian territory. However advertizing online gaming is illegal.
The independent Caribbean island nation of Curacao used to be part of the Netherlands Antilles. Since 2010 Curacao has an independent constitutional government but is a nominal part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and influenced by the legal system and practices of the Netherlands. Curacao has its own gaming authority – the Curacao Internet Gambling Association which was established in 2002 under the Curacao Gaming Control Board. Curacao is considered a trustworthy gaming license jurisdiction and a popular choice for offshore online gaming operators and startups located in Curacao. All forms of online gambling are legal and the government offers attractive packages for operators, network providers and software businesses. Companies can renegotiate their fees every two years. Read more about Curacao gaming license
This twin-island nation in the Caribbean was the first licensing jurisdiction for online casinos. The authorities appear committed to fair and transparent conduct in the gaming world. Their policies are somewhat superficial and include things like requiring online gaming operators to regulate the gaming age; advertize warnings about addictive gambling on their websites and information about where to get help with gaming addiction. However when it comes to software testing the authorities of Antique and Barbuda seem more concerned with security rather than fair gaming. Online gaming and e-commerce is big business in Antigua and Barbuda.
Most of the control over online gambling is delegated to Australia’s 6 states and 2 mainland territories which each have their own regulatory body. The Australian Capital Territory has a regulatory body for Internet gambling called ACT Gambling and Racing Commission; New South Wales has the Independent Liquor, Gaming Authority; Tasmanian Liquor and Gaming Commission in Tasmania; Queensland Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation in Queensland; Northern Territory has the Licensing Commission of the Department of Trade, Business and Innovation; South Australia has the Independent Gambling Authority and the Victorian Commission for Liquor and Gambling Regulation in Victoria; Western Australia has the Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor. Regulations vary from territory to territory and state to state, for example in the Australian Capital Territory online gaming businesses are charged high taxes and fees but the profits from the Australian gambling market offset those expenses.Each state or territory has its own regulations as well as having to abide by the country’s regulations. In Australia online gambling sites are governed by the Interactive Gaming Act of 2001 (IGA). Australian Internet casinos are forbidden from offering or advertising real money gambling to Australian citizens. However there is no law to prohibit Australian citizens from gambling on casino websites operated offshore. “Onshore” Australian based Internet gambling sites can legally only offer gaming to players outside of Australia. Australian gambling is extremely lucrative making this a highly sought after license. Australians spend more per capita on gambling than any other nation in the world.
Latvia gained independence from Soviet rule in the early 90s and in 1998 the Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection (IAUI) was established under the Ministry of Finance to govern gambling and lotteries within Latvia and issue licenses for gambling. The online gaming industry in Latvia is very lucrative. In 2003 online gambling was legalized and became regulated in Latvia. All gambling websites used by Latvian players must be licensed and pay Latvian tax on revenues. New regulations are under discussion and would introduce a heavy license fee but reduce revenue taxes. New regulations have banned IP addresses of unlicensed sites and restricted players to over 21 years old (rather than the earlier restriction of 18yrs). As of 2014 the IAUI has drawn up a blacklist of online gaming sites and is working to disable Latvian access to 102 online gambling sites. The Latvian authority is also becoming progressively choosier about who is issued with a license.
The Gaming Control Authority falls under the Lithuanian Ministry of Finance and enforces state policy in regard to gaming and supervises gaming operations according to Latvian laws. The Gaming Control Authority is charged with protecting players’ rights and ensuring transparent and fair gaming. According to an amendment to the gambling laws made in 2016 online gaming sites must obtain a remote gambling license to operate legally in Lithuania. The gaming authority endeavors to block money transactions to unlicensed online gambling businesses illegally offering Internet gambling in Lithuania.
Until 2008 there was no regulation of gambling in Germany and the laws did not address online gambling. In 2011 one of Germany’s 16 constitutive states, Schleswig-Holstein (Hamburg) passed legislation allowing online sports betting, poker and a number of casino games. License applicants needed to be established in the EU and meet stringent standards. In 2012 the first number of operators were issued licenses according to Schleswig-Holstein’s Gambling Act for a period of 6 years and 20% tax on gross gaming revenues. In 2013 the Schleswig-Holstein government joined the other 15 German states in the Interstate Gambling Treaty of 2012. When joining the Treaty Schleswig-Holstein was bound to comply with national legislation and no more licenses were issued. The 36 licenses already issued remained valid and the operators can only offer gaming to residents of Schleswig-Holstein.As of January 2017 online gambling is illegal in Germany with the exception of those operating from Schleswig-Holstein. Online sports and horse betting is now offered to the German market by several international sports betting sites. Land-based gambling is legal and each state has its own lottery and sport-books provider. There is no official body which governs national gambling as each constitutive state has its own authoritative body.
The Isle of Man maintains a strong regulatory authority with high standards making it a respected and popular jurisdiction for obtaining an online gambling license. The government also offers a range of attractive benefits to e-commerce and online gambling businesses. There is also a strong infrastructure and range of support services for the gambling industry. The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission and Department of Economic Development are among the few bodies which promote and encourage online gaming in the UK and abroad. The commission oversees land and Internet based gambling. Their key policies include keeping gambling crime-free; protecting underage gamblers and ensuring gambling services are fair and offered by licensed operators.Since their establishment in 2001 the Isle of Man regulatory authority has made regular changes and updates to their policies in order to remain current and abreast of changes in the gambling industry. This insures player protection and a safe business environment for operators.The Isle of Man regulatory authority demands that operators meet rigorous requirements and pass a stringent vetting process to insure their credibility and ability to abide by the Isle of Man regulations. Among the requirements online gambling operators need to prove that they abide by fair business practices and that they have enough funds to cover all potential payments to all winning players upon request.
Offshore jurisdictions for online gaming licenses.
There are several dozen gambling commissions around the world each governing licensing and regulation of betting websites registered and operating inside their own jurisdiction. The regulations vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and some countries make it easier for online gaming companies to operate. Countries with such regulatory bodies exist on every continent and gaming companies should choose to operate in a jurisdiction with high standards, reasonable taxes and without strict regulations. This list will help you choose the best jurisdiction to set up and operate your online gambling business.