It takes a good deal of courage and faith for someone to deposit their hard-earned money and start betting real cash with an online sportsbook or casino operator. As is the case with any commerce carried out on the internet, there are some inherent risks.
Over the years, the online casino community as a whole has taken great steps to make sure online gamblers have adequate protection against the misdeeds of rogue online gambling operators. It’s a reality that the most important protection afforded online gamblers comes from government regulatory agencies that are charged with policing the online gambling community.
In the U.S., each state has its own regulatory agency, which makes for at least 35+ states that have different rules and regulations. Things can get very complicated for American gamblers.
In Europe and other parts of the world, each jurisdiction has its own regulatory agency. That’s usually true whether a particular country has legalized online gambling or not.
It’s incumbent on each online gambler to be cautious about the online gambling sites they use. Just because a site offers an online pokies no deposit bonus doesn’t mean they are player-friendly. It’s highly recommended that gamblers stay with online operators that are licensed and regulated by a top government regulator.
The following information is going to focus on the five (5) government regulators that are generally considered the best in terms of protecting online gamblers.
1. United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC)
The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) is generally viewed as the premiere online gambling regulatory body in the world. They have earned that distraction through their efforts to make sure UK residents are properly protected from the actions of rogue operators.
The Commission was founded in 2005 as part of the Gambling Act 2005. While the agency focuses mostly on the regulatory function, they do work closely with licensing agencies to make sure online gambling operators meet very high standards. They are required to meet these standards if they want to offer online gambling services throughout the UK. The UKGC also regulates software developers and auditing firms.
In an effort to protect vulnerable parties like minors and problem gamblers, the UKGC heavily regulates online gambling advertising campaigns. They also require membership with the GamStop self-exclusion program with a focus on making sure gambling addicts have access to a meaningful problem gambling resource.
2. The Malta Gambling Authority (MGA)
Before the UKGC was founded, the Malta Gaming Authority ((formerly the Lotteries and Gaming Authority, 2015) served as the premiere online gambling regulator in Europe. The MGA was founded in 2001, close to the start of the Internet gambling revolution. That makes it one of the first viable regulators in the world.
As a regulator, the MGA is charged with both regulating and licensing online casinos, online sportsbooks, lotteries, land-based casino operations, and software developers.
It’s noteworthy that any online gambling operator that is operating under both the UKGC and the MGA is generally considered an extremely safe online gambling alternative.
3. Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association (GBGA)
When an online gambling operator fails to qualify for licenses from the UKGC or MGA, the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association (GBGA) serves as the next best alternative. They generally oversee the operations of smaller operators. A lot of the GBGA’s focus is on protecting electronic communications and the transfer of data between providers and gamblers.
The GBGA was founded in 2000 as part of the Gibraltar Regulatory Act of October 2000.
4. Alderney Gambling Control Commission
While the Alrdeny Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) has little impact on establishing regulations, they are considered one of the top licensing agencies in the world. Much of the regulator’s focus falls on issuing licenses for both B2C and B2B customers. They also devote a lot of time and effort to making sure that online gambling operators and software developers are in compliance with “fair gaming” standards.
The AGCC was established in 2000. They made significant adjustments to the licensing and regulatory processes in 2009 and then again in 2018.
5. Curaçao eGaming
While Europe, and specifically the UK, is considered the birthplace of online gambling, online gambling has been regulated in other jurisdictions since the beginning of the 21st century. That includes Curacao, one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean.
The Curaçao Gaming Control Board (Curacao eGaming) was created in 1999, making it one of the oldest and most trusted regulatory bodies in the world. Prior to the advent of the UKGC and MGA, licensing from the Curaçao Gaming Control Board was gold to online gambling operators all over the world.
Today, the Curaçao Gaming Control Board serves as a regulatory and licensing agency for both land-based and online gambling operators at the international level. As a member of the International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR), the Curaçao Gaming Control Board puts much of its focus on advocating fair gambling standards and fighting against rogue online operators.