How to Check an Online Casino’s Gambling Licence

As a member of the 21st-century internet collective, you must be aware of how important it is to stay safe online, especially when it comes to your financial and identity information. Scams lurk in every corner and one false move can leave you thousands of pounds in debt.

I read a story recently about a woman who had her identity stolen, and it cost her £10k to get it sorted. I’m sure this is something that you want to avoid.

When it comes to online casinos, there are some unscrupulous ones out there. They will steal and sell your identity/banking information.

Before you give an online casino any information, you need to check that they’re safe. To do this, you need to verify their gambling licence.

Below, I’ll explain how to check online gambling licences with the relevant regulatory bodies.

Who Issues Gambling Licences?

Worldwide, there are just a handful of reliable authorities providing gambling licences. The most notable ones for Europeans (I’m assuming that you’re in the UK and that you realise that despite leaving the EU, we’re still on the European continent!) are Gibraltar, Malta, and the UK.

Each of these countries has its own gambling regulatory body that ensures fair play and safe data handling. This gives you a high level of protection against fraud and identity theft.

Whenever you give anyone private information, there’s a risk because thieves are always on the lookout for ways to exploit online and offline business, but a verified gambling licence offers the protection of any good business.

Where Do You Find Information about a Site’s Gambling Licence?

Every site should have information at the bottom of each page saying:

  • The name of their umbrella/operating company
  • Their registered address
  • The name of their relevant gambling regulatory authority (i.e., who issues the casino’s licence)
  • A link to the regulatory authority website (must be the same country as their registered address)
  • Their licence number

If an online casino doesn’t have the information on their website, don’t use them.

If they do have the information, make sure that you verify it before providing personal information and banking details.

The UK Gambling Licence

We’re, so it makes sense that we start by looking at the UK gambling licence.

I prefer to play with casinos that have a UK gambling licence because it’s reliable, well respected, and, because I’m a UK citizen, it offers me a lot of rights e.g., consumer rights.

Or maybe I’m just typically British and like to dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s. It seems that we’re particularly concerned with protecting ourselves online. Look at the image below. It’s from Google Trends and it shows how many people worldwide searched for the term “gambling licence” in the past 12-months. Only 2 countries seem to care, the UK and Australia:

A worldwide map of where people have searched for "gambling licence" and the only highlighted countries are the UK and Australia. This is a map from Google Trends
From Google Trends 25.06.20

I thought that was quite interesting, but now on to the main point: how to check if an online casino has a UK gambling licence.

The regulatory body for gambling licences in the UK is the Gambling Commission, which is a branch of the UK government.

Their “Find Licensees” portal – part of the Government’s websites and has the address – makes it easy to check a website’s licence. You simply use the search function to look up a casino. It will return results if the casino has a licence. It also provides information about potential issues with the particular casino, e.g., if the Gambling Commission has issued any sanctions against it.

The Gibraltar Gambling Licence

People worldwide respect the Gibraltar licence. It has a long history and some of the most respected online casinos have it, e.g., 888 Casino, William Hill and Bet365.

There are different types of licence, but the online gambling licence, the “Remote Betting B2C Operator” licence (which, I believe, is the one used by online casinos) costs £100K per year! You know that if a business pays for this licence that they’re a serious casino.

Because Gibraltar is a British overseas territory, the Gambling Commission provides its gambling licences too. Therefore, you can check the “Find Licensees” portal for Gibraltar-based casinos too.

Before you start playing with an online casino that claims to have a Gibraltar licence, you should visit the Gibraltar government’s “Consumer Advice” section. It has details about potentially fraudulent casinos, as well as licenced casinos that they’ve sanctioned.

The Malta Gambling Licence

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is the gaming and gambling regulatory body for Malta. It is another prestigious organisation whose licences are well respected. As with the UK and Gibraltar, Malta’s gambling licences cover both remote (online) and land-based casinos.

Like the UK and Gibraltar gambling licences, you can search a register to find licensees. You can find the register on the MGA website.

To Sum Up

There are several well-respected gambling licencing bodies in the world, but the UK, Gibraltar, and Malta are particularly rated amongst European gamblers. Playing with casinos that have a licence from the UK, Gibraltar, or Malta will help keep your information safe while ensuring that the games are fair, and RNGs accurate.

The gambling authorities can also investigate and uphold complaints, e.g. if you think a casino is withholding your winnings unfairly they can force that casino to repay you. The gambling authorities are government organisations independent from the gambling industry; their concern is to protect players and ensure casinos operate fairly.

Before you give an online casino any information, be sure to verify their licence.

A picture of a gavel with a scroll to represent the issuing of a gambling licence.

Harvey Dickenson

Safe Gambling Specialist

Harvey Dickenson is our safe gambling specialist. Harvey is a recreational poker player and an expert in online casino safety, cons, and scams.