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Gary McLellan

Gambling regulators play a huge role in the experience of every online casino player. This part of the industry is frequently overlooked by new users, even though it has a significant impact on them at all times.

Knowing more about gambling regulators and gambling licenses is vital for having a smooth and safe experience at a casino and sportsbook site.

A Brief History of Gambling Licenses and Regulators

The issue with gambling licenses has always been ambiguous. There is no universal international legislation for online Bitcoin casinos, and gambling regulators only operate within their respective countries.

It became an industry standard for iGaming websites to register offshore and provide services internationally quite a while ago. The players are not punished for engaging in online gambling, and the gambling regulators can’t be punished because they operate in a different country.

It even enables casinos to operate in countries where gambling is prohibited by law. The local gambling regulators might try blocking access to the websites of offshore casinos, but most of them allow the players to use VPN to bypass it. You can learn more about it in our VPN guide.

The online gambling industry has been developing for decades now, and several jurisdictions have become fairly common for casinos to use. These gambling regulators are a well-balanced option, as they are not too strict to casinos, but provide the basic protection for the players.

Why Gambling Licenses Are Important

Gambling licenses are vital for having a safe experience at any online casino, and it should be the first thing to check when considering joining a new platform.

Casinos that operate without gambling licenses provide no guarantee to the players and will face no repercussions for scamming their users. There is essentially nothing stopping these sites from taking all the money and disappearing.

Gambling licenses ensure this won’t happen, as the gambling regulators are overseeing the operations of these websites. For the players, it means that a casino with a license is transparent and credible enough for the authorities to approve its operation.

Expectedly, the users will get the most protection at online casinos registered and licensed in their home countries. For example, players from the United Kingdom would have the safest experience at casinos licensed by the UKGC.

In some countries where providing gambling services is prohibited by law or strictly limited, the players can still join websites licensed by offshore gambling regulators. We will review some of the most reputable jurisdictions in the following section.

What Jurisdictions Do Online Casinos Use?

There are multiple jurisdictions that have proven their reputation over time. The players joining websites with these gambling licenses can be sure about their security on the platform.
If you check out our list of the best anonymous casinos, you’ll see that most of them obtained their licenses in one of these jurisdictions.


Malta is the last jurisdiction on the list, but it is definitely not the least. The situation with Malta is very similar to the one in Montenegro, as most gambling-related legislation is based on EU laws there.

However, Malta has been a much bigger player in the iGaming industry and has been much more thorough and strict with supervising online casinos licensed there. It has a very positive reputation on an international level for ensuring the safety of the players.

The gambling regulator in this country is called the Malta Gaming Authority, and it issues online gambling licenses for all types of casino games. There are already hundreds of casinos registered there, and the number is constantly growing.

Of course, the license does not guarantee a good service at an online casino. But when a website has gone all the way to get an MGA license, it is a clear sign that its intentions of providing a safe experience to the players are serious.


Panama is a haven for crypto casinos due to its tax exemptions. With offshore betting companies not usually required to pay income tax combined with a stable government and economy and an excellent telecommunications industry, it’s a magnet for betting companies to set up shop.

The Panama Gaming Control Board (Junta de Control de Juegos) was established in 1947 and oversees all licensing for igaming and brick-and-mortar gambling establishments. Obtaining a license requires an enhanced assessment of the company and CEO.

One license covers all forms of live and online gambling including sports betting, poker, slots, casino, and more.


Curaçao is perhaps the most popular jurisdiction for registering online casinos. The Curaçao Gaming Commission is responsible for giving out gambling licenses, and there are hundreds of online casinos registered in the country.

The gambling regulator is known not to be very strict, so the players are not recommended to blindly join all casinos with CGC gambling licenses. It is much safer to check the reputation of any particular website before joining it.

Over the decades of the CGC issuing gambling licenses, there have been a few bad actors. But in general, the jurisdiction is considered to be one of the safest among offshore countries.

Isle of Man

Isle of Man is a less popular option to register and license an online casino. The gambling licenses have been issued by the Gambling Supervision Commission there since 1962, and the same policies have been applied to online casinos.

The gambling licenses there cost more than $40,000 a year, so most online casinos are not willing to put this money at risk by engaging in fraudulent activities.

The GSC is also known for being fairly strict with supervising online casinos it issued gambling licenses, ensuring the safety of the players on each platform registered there.

Even though the Isle of Man is frequently seen as a shady jurisdiction, it actually has one of the most reputable gambling regulators among all places featured on this list.

On top of that, only large and successful online casinos can afford their licenses. Many websites that are registered there have been in business for years or even decades, meaning they have built trust with the players.


Montenegro is an Adriatic Sea country that is also home to some online casinos. The online gambling legislation in Montenegro is actually based on modern EU laws, meaning it is fairly strict.

The local gambling regulator in Montenegro is called the Games of Chance Authority, and it is willing to issue gambling licenses to foreign companies.

The license obtained in the country grants the operator an option to provide the following types of games:

  • Slot machines
  • Table games
  • Live dealer games
  • Lottery games
  • Bingo, Dice, and other specialties

Sports betting is also legal in the country, which is why many operators offer both of these activities on their platforms.

The casinos registered in Montenegro are required to have capital that exceeds $500,000, so only the largest websites are able to afford these gambling licenses.

Since the online gambling legislation was mostly adopted by Montenegro from the EU, the players can be confident in the security of their experience at casinos licensed there.

Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda is a tiny country in the Caribbean that is composed of two islands. It is perhaps the least popular and reputable jurisdiction for online casinos featured on this list, but it is still much better than other offshore countries that are not featured today.

Expectedly, the local gambling regulators are happy to accept foreign companies and are willing to issue gambling licenses for as low as $15,000. The gambling regulator in Antigua and Barbuda is called the Financial Services Regulatory Commission’s Division of Gambling.

The gambling regulator is fairly small, so the regulations are not as strict and the supervision is not as thorough as in some other jurisdictions on this list, but Antigua and Barbuda is still a trusted country that is home to dozens of reputable small online casinos.

Websites that obtained their gambling licenses in this country are able to provide all kinds of casino games as well as sports betting services, although almost none of them offer both these activities at the same time.

What Gambling Regulators Look Out For

Gambling regulators thoroughly review online casinos before issuing gambling licenses and thoroughly supervise their operations after doing so. There are four main parts of the experience that the gambling regulators pay special attention to.

Customer complaints

Of course, gambling regulators don’t go over every single customer complaint an online casino receives. What they do instead is they constantly track the ratings of websites they issued online gambling licenses for.

Whenever the regulator notices a decline in user review scores, it is a sign for them to investigate the matter closely. Expectedly, online casinos are not obliged to deliver a perfect service, so some negative reviews will most likely be ignored by gambling regulators.

However, in case the reviews are related to the customers being treated unfairly, the regulator might launch a full-scale investigation. In case the casino is found to violate the regulations, the license may easily be withdrawn and the company may be majorly fined.

Some gambling regulators mentioned today are more thorough and strict with reviewing customer complaints, and the Malta Gaming Authority is perhaps the most meticulous organization on the list.

Anti Money Laundering

Unlike with the previous factor, absolutely all gambling regulators treat money laundering seriously. All of them have anti-money laundering regulations they make the online casinos follow.

The process is more or less the same everywhere, and it is fairly straightforward as well. The casinos are obliged to provide the gambling regulators with their detailed financial reports which are later thoroughly reviewed.

In case the regulator finds that a casino engaged in money laundering practices, the company in question faces severe repercussions.

Most of this happens behind the scenes and does not really impact the experience of the players, so we won’t elaborate more on that here. Essentially, in case a casino still has a valid license, it means it does not engage in shady or illegal practices like money laundering.

Account Verification

Account verification slightly blends in with the previous factor, as the main reason gambling regulators require the casinos to verify their players is to ensure the cash flow is real, and the casino is not trying to launder money.

The main contrast here is that account verification does have a massive impact on the experience of almost any player, so it should be taken more seriously.

For the users, it means they will have to pass the notoriously known Know-Your-Client (KYC) procedures. This will require them to provide the casinos with their personal information supported by documents that prove their personal and residential details.

The exact rules vary depending on the jurisdiction in question. The most strict gambling regulators require the casinos to perform KYC procedures for every player who makes a withdrawal from the website, while others only request this procedure from players with the largest turnovers.

Inconvenient as it might be, the players should be ready to be requested to perform this procedure at some point.

Players who are not willing to provide online casinos with their personal details and documents should look for crypto-casinos that do not require KYC checks. You can learn more about it in our Bitcoin casino guide.

Responsible Gambling

Most gambling regulators also require online casinos to implement responsible gambling tools. This is a massive trend in European legislation, so Montenegro and Malta are the best examples for this section.

The responsible gambling tools might vary depending on the website and jurisdiction it operates, but in general, these tools should be able to protect players struggling with gambling addiction.

The most popular tool is called Self-Exclusion, and it is pretty self-explanatory. Unfortunately, none of the jurisdictions on this list have systems like GamStop in the UK, so the exclusion will only work at the specific online casino it requested.

Another set of tools that may be frequently seen on websites that received their gambling licenses in Montenegro or Malta enables the players to limit their accounts in various ways. For example, the users might set a deposit limit that the website won’t give them a technical opportunity to exceed.

If you wish to educate yourself on the matter further, we have a fully responsible gambling guide.

Gary McLellan

Gary McLellan has been involved in the gambling sector for years after studying Journalism in Glasgow. Starting out with running a poker blog over 10 years ago, he has since worked with many betting publications, focusing on crypto-related sites more recently due to their growing popularity. Gary brings his expertise on gambling to BitcoinCasinos.com since 2022 after successfully overseeing the launch of several sports betting sites including legalsportsbooks.com.