There are hundreds of online gambling websites across the Internet, many of which are unregulated and unlicensed – dangerous sites looking to take advantage of the money of naive players who only search for the biggest bonuses and best payouts. As an enthusiastic online gambler, or someone willing to test the waters, it is imperative to know at which sites to gamble with, and who the most trusted brand names within the real money online gaming industry.
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Who are the chief gaming regulatory bodies of online casinos?
Any operator wishing to offer real money interactive gambling services via an online (and mobile) casino site must register with its jurisdiction’s gaming authority commission – the chief body responsible for the governance of all gaming activities within the area where the operator establishes itself. That casino then becomes regulated by that governing gaming commission, and is checked on a regular basis to ensure it complies with safety and fairness standards.
Some of the most common and most reputable regulatory bodies which oversee many of our endorsed online and mobile casino sites, include:
The Curaçao eGaming Licensing Authority – One of the oldest and most stable providers of regulated eGaming services, the Curaçao eGaming Licensing Authority has been governing some of the most trusted and reputable Internet gambling operators and providers since 1996.
The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) – Regulates and oversees all gaming activities within the Malta jurisdiction (both online and land-based), and ensures services provided by operators are fair, transparent and comply with all safety standards.
The Alderney Gambling Control Commission – Established in 2000, the Alderney Gambling Control Commission is an independent governing authority, and regulates online gambling on behalf of the States of Alderney (the most northerly of the British Channel Islands).
The UK Gambling Commission – Set up in 2005, the U.K. Gambling Commission regulates commercial gambling (online and offline) across Great Britain, including casinos, bingo clubs, gaming machines, lotteries and their authorities, poker events and more.
The Government of Gibraltar and the Gibraltar Gaming Ordinance – The Gibraltar Gaming Licensing Authority is extremely selective when handing out licenses to casino and other gambling operators, only considering companies with proven track records within a licensed jurisdiction.
Within their own jurisdictions, each of these bodies permit online gambling activities, but can take on board managerial and legislative tasks of interactive operators which remain outside of their own governance area.
Who is eCOGRA?
The eCommerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance (eCOGRA) body was established in 2003 as an independent testing agency and player protection organisation for the online gambling industry.
eCOGRA concerns itself largely with protecting players, fair gaming, and responsible conduct from operators, certified software and live dealer companies, affiliate-based organisations, and other iGambling service providers and advertisers within the field. It is internationally approved and is the leading and most recognised body to offer regulatory approval to operators within regulated markets.
Some of its most prestigious titles which it awards to compliant gambling operators, gaming software designers and affiliate companies which go above and beyond their prescribed assignments, include:
- The eCOGRA Safe and Fair Seal
- The eCOGRA Certified Software Seal
- The eCOGRA Affiliate Trust Seal
eCOGRA certifies companies within jurisdictions including: Alderney, Denmark, Gibraltar, Kahnawake (in Quebec), the Isle of Man, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.
What do licensing and regulatory authorities do?
Without governing bodies, testing agencies and regulatory commissions, online gambling would be an unregulated crime scene, so it are the above organisations that we should be thankful to.
Main prerogatives and policy objectives of such organisations include:
- Protection of vulnerable customers and prevention of underage gambling
- Prevention of fraudulent behaviour and criminal activity (corruption and money laundering)
- To conduct rigorous probity tests on all operators
- Test and approve of random number generator software which powers casino and other games
- Carry out game evaluations and check payout percentages (and make sure rates are available to public)
- Ensure customer support and customer payments are reliable and accurate
- Confirm player personal information and details are safeguarded and not shared with other parties
- Assess real money online banking methods and their security measures
- Assure a secure, safe and fun gaming environment
Audited on a regular basis, all licensed operators and other gaming provider companies adhere to strict industry rules and regulations, and looks after their customers. If not, word would quickly spread, and such organisations would promptly lose any ties with regulatory bodies as well as their customer base.
This has happened before, and not just with operators but also software providers and affiliates. Some commonly referenced rogue and fraudulent services you should steer clear of include:
- Giant Vegas – no pay, no response and bad business practice
- Planet Kings – dubbed the worst casino of the year in 2013
- Rushmore Casinos – constant payment issues
- Trump Casino Group – now out of business
- Royal Circus Casino – now out of business
- Arcada Casino – one of the first casinos ever deemed ‘rogue’
- 747 Casino – extremely poor customer service
- COA World Entertainment (a poorly regarded online casino software provider based in Venezuela)
- Interactive Gaming Systems (IGS) – reported to have cheated software
- BLR Technologies – rigged software
- C-Planet Affiliates (practices unethical behaviour)
- Ethical Online Gaming Association – a fake watchdog (regulatory) site
- eGaming Commission – another fake watchdog website
It is in an operators best interest to comply at the highest level with the strict policies of the online gaming industry, so players are inclined to come back and gamble with trustworthy sites which have built up a strong and valuable reputation.
All the casino sites and software designers we endorse at CasinoSites.com.au are licensed an regulated, and we constantly check and re-check each provider to ensure they are meeting all expectations and policy guidelines.