Posts Tagged ‘online gambling license’

iGaming News Reports on the Return of Curacao as a Formidable Regulatory Jurisdiction

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

curacao_egamingIf you work in the online gaming industry, there’s a chance you have a subscription to iGaming News. If not, what are you waiting for? Anyhow, if you’re totally cool like me (I’m talking Lady Gaga coolness here) and already have a subscription 🙂 then you will have noticed the latest issue has a good chunk of information about Curacao.

For all the online bettors reading this, Curacao probably rings a bell. And no, I’m not talking about it’s appeal as a beautiful place to vacation at (FYI, Curacao is a Dutch Caribbean island, and consequently, a beautiful place to vacation at). But Curacao is also a key player in the “international” online gambling industry.

Being one of the first jurisdictions to regulate online gambling (1993), Curacao has steadily developed into one of the most sought after jurisdictions for online casino operators looking to set up shop while offering some degree of regulatory credibility to their players. These days, as pointed out in iGaming News, Curacao is being viewed as a top contender for betting site operators looking for more reasonable licensing costs and tax solutions (without being a tax haven). Curacao does not impose separate taxes on gaming revenue, while only subjecting an operators net revenue to a 2% tax rate.

But it hasn’t always been that way. Being a jurisdiction where many operators chiefly do business with U.S. players (much like Antigua & Barbuda), the passing of the US online gambling ban, aka UIGEA, not to mention being left off the UK Gambling Commission’s white-list, sort of put a dambper on Curacao’s rise as an internationally recognized regulatory jurisdiction, albeit a handful of popular U.S. facing online casino operators have been holding up here since the beginning.

However, now that the UK’s bilateral regulatory policies, which permitted white-listed operators to do business with UK citizens without requiring them to hold a UK license, are not being embraced in other EU countries like France (where a National regulatory policy is serving to protect State-run interests), Curacao is being seen in a new light. With the possibility that operators will likely need to hold multiple licenses in order to do business in EU countries with non-bilateral regulation, Curacao could very well become the “go to” destination for operators looking to expand.

So, if you’re a player and have ever wondered why so many online casinos are setting up shop in Curacao, that’s why. It’s not because there is no regulation (which is currently the case in Costa Rica, although that could very well change in the near future). Curacao’s “State Ordinance concerning the exploitation of hazard games on the international market by means of service lines” aka, P.B. 1993 no. 63 has you covered in that area (Contact the Netherlands Department of Justice and or www.curacao-egaming.com if you want more info).

Essentially, it all comes down to affordability, while maintaining credibility. In a market where national regulation is fueling State-run monopolies and overrunning a more internationally friendly regulatory regime, Curacao’s E-zone co-location services (which permits online casinos to operate in other regulated markets – pending, of course, on the laws of said regulated markets) is looking very promising. With the chances of a UK white-listing very likely, as well as e-Commerce Parks approval to host online gaming operators licensed by the Alderney Gaming Commission (which is already white-listed in the UK), as iGaming News points out, “The Return of Curacao” is imminent.

Looking for a Curacao licensed and regulated online casino to wager with. OCS highly recommends Go Casino, Aladdin’s Gold and Online Vegas.

iGaming Super Show to Host Online Gambling Regulation Conference Seminars

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Since “Day One”, the online gambling industry has been dealing with the complex issue of regulation. And rightly so, for without regulation, online gambling becomes nothing but a black market of criminal activity and rogue online casinos. There simply is no denying that proper regulation is the key to expanding the gaming industry and keeping online gambling a credible pastime. The only problem is that regionalization tends to make regulation a grey matter, with no two jurisdictions exactly regulating in the same manner.

For example, there is a HUGE difference in regulation standards between the UK and Costa Rica. In fact, Costa Rica does not even regulate – they simply license online casinos. As a player, this is important information to know. And one of the major resources of information for players are the news and review sites such as our very own Online Casino Suite. This is where media publishers, such as iGamingBusiness, serve as an important link between the people behind the online gambling industry and those who make it go round, i.e., the players.

iGamingBusiness, which publishes iGamingBusiness Magazine and iGB Affiliate Magazine, recently announced it will be hosting a series of conference seminars focused on educating the industry about regulatory standards and the diversity therein. While the conferences are primarily aimed at regulators and online casino operators, those of us more closely connected to the industry than the average player will certainly be keeping abreast to the discussions. Furthermore, the seminars make up just a small part of iGB’s inaugural “iGaming Super Show” conference being held May 25-28, 2010 in Prague. In other words, any of the expected 2,000  iGaming Super Show attendees are invited to sit in on the regulatory seminars.

Participating in the discussions will be representatives from high-level regulatory jurisdictions in Europe and elsewhere in the world, representing the nation-specific regulatory factors which online casino operators face in today’s market. The idea is to demonstrate how regulation can successfully be implemented, which in turn, will serve to guide an increasing number of governments coming round to the idea of regulating online gambling. For more information, please visit igamingsupershow.com

Malta Lotteries & Gaming Authority: Online Casino Regulator

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010
lga-02

the Malta Lotteries & Gaming Authority

Malta is one of the leading online gambling regulatory jurisdictions in the world. Overseen by the Lotteries and Gaming Authority, Malta has earned a reputation as a strict and diligent regulator – one which often serves as a benchmark for other regulatory jurisdictions to follow. That said, when the LGA speaks, the online gambling community listens. One would also hope it to be the other way around. However, the LGA has been under fire of late (update: January 8, 2011) for being non-responsive to player complaints and slow to launch investigations.

lga-03Speaking on behalf of the LGA lately has been Reuben Portanier – the relatively new and youthful CEO who stepped in to fill the demanding role nine months ago. On second thought, up until recently, Portanier has not been saying much about anything, and thus pretty much out of the media spotlight. Granted, Portanier himself pointed out that the last few months have been consumed by consultations with local industry to ensure the LGA is on the same page – technically and legally – with the European facing online gambling industry.

As recently interviewed by the Malta Sunday Times, Portanier shed a great deal of insight on where the LGA is going and what he believes to be the direction of the online gambling industry as a whole. For Portanier, consolidation of legal framework and staying abreast of technological developments are keys to the ultimate mission of the LGA. And that is preserving the “ecosystem” of the online gambling industry.

Unlike licensing jurisdictions (such as Costa Rica), or as Portanier pointed out “fly-by-night” regulators, the LGA is a regulatory jurisdiction (52 staffers including auditors, certifiers and legal experts) charged with oversight of a complex industry. Just how complex is what 99% of online gamblers do not understand (not to mention government officials), and is precisely why Portanier’s interview with the Sunday Times is especially enlightening.

The LGA, which has an advisory capacity to the legislation body, is highly active in working groups at the European Commission and is in constant consult with industry experts at the EU level, where regulatory guidelines can change by the week. As Mr. Portanier stated, “For Malta’s (online gambling) industry to be sustainable, the regulator, for one, cannot afford to be complacent.”

LGA CEO Reuben Portanier

LGA CEO Reuben Portanier

And most e-gaming experts will agree that Malta has been anything but complacent over the years. Now home to over half of the European online gambling industry’s workforce, Malta even has the private sector vying to be associated with the LGA, which is a win-win considering the heightened degree of checks-and-balances that comes with the employment of a growing network of third-party, independent certifiers. As for online casino operators like Will Hill Online, they simply want the prestige and peace of mind that comes with being regulated by a respected and serious authority. Just let it be known that obtaining a gaming license from Malta is no easy task.

Another testament to the LGA’s lack of complacency is it’s streamlining of the licensing process for online casinos without compromising due diligence. Turnaround rate has seen a 27% increase, and Portanier says a target to speed up the processing rate by 40-45% has been set. Also promising are improvements that were slated following consultation with the Remote Gaming Association (RGA), which represents a large number of Malta online casino license holders. FYI, if you ever wondered what good ever came of the RGA, this is a perfect example.

In his interview with The Sunday Times, Portanier also dished out numbers, which point to a positive outlook for the online gambling industry as a whole. Malta’s online gaming revenue generated by the LGA’s 250 licensed operators (335 granted licenses), was at 19 million Euros – up nearly 20% from 15.9 million Euro’s generated the previous year. Despite a slowing economy, Portanier says the numbers are continuing to rise, and is expecting ever larger revenue this year.

Malta

Malta's a Great Place to Live and Gamble Online!

If you are an online casino operator, a great time to get to know many of the people at the LGA will be in London (Earl’s Court) at the International Gaming Expo (IGE) – the largest online gambling convention in the world. This year’s event is right around the corner (January 25-28, 2010), and the LGA – for the seventh year in a row – will be sporting a stand in the exhibition hall (stand # 5140), which incidentally, will be the largest exhibition stand at the convention. In fact, over half of the exhibiting companies at the expo are said to have a connection with the Maltese regulatory industry. Other regulatory jurisdictions, such as the UK, Isle of Man and Italy will also be in attendance at IGE, along with software providers, online casino gambling operators and affiliate recruiters.

Participation at the IGE will be had by several LGA officials (fourteen in attendance), including pre-event panels on topics ranging from legal matters to cyber crime. The LGA will also be participating  in the capacity of sponsor and chair of a CEO strategic convention at the World Gaming Briefing in Malta, come March 2010.

Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission: Whitelisted Online Casino Regulator

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission

The Isle of Man is one of the leading licensors and regulators of online casinos today. I suppose it suffices to say they are also one of the leading reputable gaming regulatory bodies in operation. On the UK whitelist of approved jurisdictions to grant licensees the right to advertise in Great Britain, the Isle of Man holds close ties with the regulatory procedures endorsed by who many consider to be the strictest regulatory commission in the world – the UK Gambling Commission.

Geographically, the Isle of Man is not far from the UK at all. In fact, Isle of Man is part of the British Isles (between Ireland and Great Britain) and is a self-governing British crown dependency. While the UK government provides foreign relations, defense and good governance (conducting public affairs for guaranteeing the realization of human rights), Isle of Man is self-governing with a Parliament to handle all domestic affairs. In terms of taxation, Isle of Man imposes an income tax cap of 18% and a 0% corporation tax, thus making it a contender for online gaming corporations to call home.

While the number of gaming operators has varied tremendously in the Isle of Man due to restructuring, some of the biggest names in online gambling now call Isle of Man home, including top-shelf online casino software developer, Microgaming, top-shelf online bingo software developer, Virtue Fusion, and Poker Stars poker room – arguably one of the most popular online poker rooms in the world. There are currently seventeen internet gambling destinations licensed from here. Four of these properties accept wagers from U.S. residents, including Poker Stars, a forex betting site, Backgammon site and skill games room.

Specifically, it is the Gambling Supervision Commission of Isle of Man (a corporate body) that is charged with the issuing of gambling licenses and ongoing monitoring of online casinos, while the Department of Trade and Industry is responsible for overseeing all licensing and regulatory affairs. The primary legislation that enforces Isle of Man’s gambling laws is the Online Gambling Regulation Act of 2001, which contains several key amendments contained within the Gambling Amendment Act of 2006. Regulations under the Online Gambling Regulation Act of 2001 from 2007 onward, cover everything from advertising and registration to licensing fees and systems verification, can be viewed on the Gambling Supervision Commission’s Website.

As with all gambling regulatory bodies, the Gambling Supervision Commission’s core principle’s are:

  1. To keep the gambling industry crime free.
  2. To protect the young and those at risk.
  3. To ensure that the services offered by license holders are fair and that players receive their true winnings.

The commission itself is made up of a Director, Policy Officer, five (5) Gaming Inspectors and two (2) Secretaries with a combined 60 years of experience licensing and regulating gambling operations.

Player Protection Principles

To ensure that all online gambling is conducted fairly and free from crime, the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission abides by the following principles:

Protection of Funds – All online casino operator licensees are required to have a system in place which ensures the protection of all player funds. This means that all deposits and withdrawals are guaranteed and protected by law. Wagered funds that have hitherto been lost are not enforceable by law.

Independent Testing – To ensure that all games proved fair odds and winnings are randomly divulges, each online casino licensee is required to have its software platform independently tested by an accredited testing facility approved by the Commission.

Ongoing Audit and Review – Current licensee holders are subjected to ongoing reviews of marketing and advertising activities, ensuring that responsible gaming standards are met.

The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission has a complaints procedure for players who have exhausted all possible remediation avenues directly with an online casino operator. If no dispute remediation has been offered, contact the Commission directly at gaming@gov.im, providing the full details of your complaint, all supporting documents, the name of the operator, your account user name and contact information.

If remediation has been offered by a license holder and you are not satisfied with the terms, the independent arbitration service, Independent Betting Adjudication Services (IBAS), should be contacted. All licensees of regulatory jurisdictions are required to name an external adjudication service as part of their licensing requirements, and IBAS is an internationally recognized leader in this field.