Online gambling regulation

There are various organisations which regulate, claim to regulate or offer regulation for the online gambling industry. Most are ineffectual shams, but a handful are genuine governmental organisations which are accountable to their respective heads of state, and are therefore required to be independent, fair and unbiased. 

• 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

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

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 twenty three gambling operations with a remote gambling license, with website and physical addresses all 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.

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 regulationsdocument 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 remote gaming 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.

Amongst its functions in the "player protection" department is the "investigation of complaints", although they don't offer any contact details beyond the rather sketchy contactpage.

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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, including Bodog and Intertops.

If you have a problem with any of them, you can - in theory at least - register a complaint by filling in the complaints form. 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, but the site doesn't have an English language version. 

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. The contact page offers address and phone number. 

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