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Online gambling regulation



• UK Gambling Commission
• Gibraltar Regulatory Authority
• Alderney Gambling Control Commission
• Malta Lotteries and Gaming Authority
• Isle Of Man Gambling Supervision Commission
• Antigua and Barbuda Directorate of Offshore Gaming
• Curacao eGaming Licensing Authority
• Kahnawake Gaming Commission
• eCogra
• In conclusion



UK Gambling Commission


The Commission was established in 2005, and in 2007 its remit was extended to include online casinos, under the umbrella of "remote gambling", covering all gambling activities indulged in "remotely", via computer, television, mobile phone etc.

Unfortunately for the offshore online gambling industry, the taxes imposed by the Chalcellor of the Exchequer, in the 2007 budget, on offshore operations locating or relocating to the UK were set at the top level of fifteen percent - see page 171 of the BBC budget notes.

This has made it extremely unlikely that any operations currently residing in the "lesser" locations of Gibraltar or Malta will relocate to the UK, and the Commission currently has a relatively few number of online gambling operations under its wing - see the full list of licenses in the find licensees page, where you can either search for a specific licensee or do a general search.

If and when more currently offshore operations relocate to the Commission's jurisdiction, the complaints section may become relevant.

The legislation the Gambling Commission is based on is the Gambling Act 2005.

See alternatively the Gambling Act 2005 PDF version.

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Gibraltar Regulatory Authority


(Update April 2016: The GRA (or the GCC as currently known) has now fallen from grace with a thud - see my article BetFred: rigged games for which noone takes responsibility. The head commissioner, ex policeman Phil Brear, behaved like petulant schoolboy throughout all his public statements, completely absolved his licensee of any wrong doing and issued a few legal threats for good measure. They are not an even remotely serious regulator.)

The GRA regulates all businesses located in Gibraltar, a fundementally Spanish territory under UK sovereign jurisdiction and, as such, the last outpost of the British Empire.

There are about thirty gambling operations with a remote gambling license, with website and physical addresses all neatly listed.

The GRA has possibly the most thorough and clearly presented procedure for dealing with player problems of any of the genuine governmental regulatory bodies: if you have a problem with an online operation within their jurisdiction, first read the complaint resolution procedure, then complete the complaint resolution request form.

The legislation upon which a Gibraltar license is based comes in the form of the 2005 Gambling Act; a rather notable omission is any requirement to actually pay the player! However, the complaint form does not require that a complaint be based on a specific breach of the legislation.

The Gibraltar online gambling regulatory regime's thoroughness and clarity could well be adopted as a model for all other such enterprises.

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Alderney Gambling Control Commission


(Update May 2009: the AGCC is worthless - see my Alderney Gambling Control Commission article.)

The AGCC was appointed by the government of Alderney in 2000 to oversee gambling operations within its jurisdiction - see the Alderney government ecommerce page for more details.

The commission is non-political and therefore not a governmental department, but it works in association with the government and regulates gambling on behalf of the state.

The operations within their jurisdiction can be viewed on the full egambling licenees page.

If you have a complaint with an Alderney licensee, the various stages of the procedure are outlined on the complaints' procedure page. The 2006 Alderney egambling regulations document contains all the relevant regulations, and possibly the most important one, 334 (3), states as follows:


Alderney egambling regulation 334


...which is a convoluted way of saying "the casino must pay the player".

The commission, although outlining the complaint procedure in detail, appears to have neglected to say exactly who should be contacted in the event of a dispute; the Alderney contact page, however, lists an email address and phone number.

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Malta Lotteries and Gaming Authority


Update May 2009: The Malta LGA is a worthless puppet regulator and a liability to the player community. See my Malta LGA and Mario Galea articles.

The LGA is a governmental body appointed by the minsitry of finance, responsible for overseeing all Maltese gambling operations and comprising a chairman, his deputy and four other members.

A full list of the operations that come under the LGA's wing can be found on the licensed operators page.

The conduct of the Malta-authorised operators is laid out in the 2004 Remote Gaming Regulations; the act contains some gratifyingly clear language regarding licensees' required treatment of players.

Part III / 13 / 1 / h states:

LGA license suspension
LGA license suspension


Part VIII / 37 / 1 states as follows:

LGA payment to players requirement


...which is a convoluted way of saying that payments must be made to players within five working days.

There is nothing as detailed as the Gibraltar regime has for the procedure of filing a complaint, but the player support page has a complaints email listed.

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Isle Of Man Gambling Supervision Commission


The Gambling Supervision Commission was set up in 1962 by the government, and its remit now extends to online gambling operations located on the island.

The commission has a relatively small number of licensees under its wing.

If you have a problem with a licensee, read the complaints procedure and fill in the complaints form.

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Antigua and Barbuda Directorate of Offshore Gaming


The tiny Caribbean island of Antigua and Barbuda has an equally tiny number of licensees under its jurisdiction.

If you have a problem with any of them, there is an email listed on the complaints page. Do they respond? I have no idea, but with so few licensees I can't imagine their complaints procedures are put to the test very often.

This little Caribbean outpost is, for no reason that is particularly clear to me, one of the territories on the UK Gambling Commission's "white list" of jurisdictions whose licensees can advertise in the UK. This may provide additional backup if the Antigua and Barbuda complaints procedure is ever found wanting - which I suspect it might.

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Curacao eGaming Licensing Authority


Curacao is another tiny little offshore island outpost in the Caribbean Sea, just off the northern coast of South America and belonging to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It answers to the Government of the Netherlands Antilles.

The Licensing Authority site contains no information relevant to players, so I cannot imagine they would be remotely interested in hearing about any player abuse their licensees may indulge in. There is, however, a complaints email at the bottom of the homepage.

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The Kahnawake Gaming Commission


The Kahnawake Commission is a non-governmental provider of software operating licences on its Mohawk Indian territory in Canada. It was regarded as a bit of a joke during the earlier years of its existence as it didn't actually enforce anything on its oprerators - see my articles an ineffectual and worthless online gambling regulatory body and whitewash of Absolute Poker.

However, in subsequent years it seemed to undergo a bit of a makeover and took on the services of the well-regarded and quite formidable Mikki Oyster as a player disputes mediator. I observed first-hand some of her work and was impressed with it - see my unexpected step forward article.

The Kahnawake licensees are listed alphabetically by both website address and company name, and in the event of a complaint you need to fill out the rather inadequately titled "feedback" form.

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eCogra


eCogra was founded in the early years of the century by Microgaming and 888.com as an in-house software auditing and player dispute service. They subsequently expanded to offer their audit services to any and all software providers, with the ultimate result that online casino software is now almost exclusively audited effectively in house, by eCogra, and not by independent third parties like Pricewaterhouse Cooper, as was once the case.

If you have a complaint with a casino on their "approved" list fill out the dispute form. Although I'm not privy to their full resolution statistics, I have never heard of a player complaint being resolved in the player's favour by eCogra.

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In conclusion


I do not regard regulators, be they governmental or non-governmental, as helpful to the player community. They are far to dependent on the industry they represent to be impartial, and they are frequently lamentably ill-informed. If your only recourse to help is the bodies above I do not hold out much hope for a fair resolution of your problem, so try to avoid needing any such help in the first place by avoiding all but the most reputable operators.


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