Gaming Licenses Comparison in 2021






There are many different licenses available globally, however not all of them work in all jurisdictions. For Canada, there are a couple of common licenses players regularly come across in casinos. On this page, we will go through what a gaming license is and provide you with a gaming license comparison that highlights some key differences. They all have one main thing in common – to approve, regulate, and frequently inspect casino brands in order to ensure that players are safe. 

What Is The Job Of A Gaming License

Without a gaming license, there is no online casino. When opening an online casino, regardless of whether it is in Canada or abroad, a gaming license is required. These gaming licenses are required for any type of online gambling activity, including slots games, table games, lottery, and sports betting—the sole purpose of gaming licenses as proof of legitimacy. A gaming license is your proof that the business is legitimate; the payout of the games is fair and guaranteed, the company is reputable and honorable, and they do their utmost to prevent gambling addiction. Depending on what license(s) an online casino operator has, there is a different regulatory body that grants and denies licenses. Regulatory bodies are regularly referred to as the Gaming Control Board (GCB). Besides issuing licenses, they hold online casinos accountable and enforce operators to adhere to regulatory requirements. 

GCBs and Game Providers: RNG for Fair Outcome

RNG is abbreviated from Random Number Generator. A random number generator is an algorithm that produces random numbers. These random numbers are used to determine random events in casino games. An event can be the outcome of a round in a slots game, whether it is a win or lose, if a bonus round is triggered in a slots game, and so on. The RNG is the reason why you almost always get different outcomes for game rounds. Besides that, RNG distributes independent payouts that are completely random.

Casinos are not the only ones who GCBs regulate. The casinos are who offer you the platform to play, but the games are provided by game studios – Netent, Quickspin, PlaynGo are names you may be familiar with. Each game provider holds multiple licenses, and the more the better, as it would mean they are regulated from different institutions, allowing less space for error on their behalf.

While manipulation of RNG’s is extremely rare, it can, of course, happen. This is where the licenses’ job comes in, as they require independent third-party auditors to test and certify the games regularly, in order to prevent unlawful game providers and casino operators from tampering with the algorithm.

RNG certifications are an important part of gaming licenses. It keeps good practices in place, and the certification becomes proof for players that the casino site can be trusted and relied on.

One of the most common RNG certificate issuers is eCOGRA. They are a leading independent and internationally approved testing agency. Any casino site certified by eCOGRA would carry the eCOGRA seal at the bottom of every page in the casino. Playing at an eCOGRA certified casino is good because you can play with peace of mind.

Legal Rights For Casino Players

Unfortunately, not enough online casino players are aware of their rights and obligations. Let’s start with the basics – when you make a money transaction with a gambling site, you enter into a contract with this site operator. Your rights are protected under your local Consumer law, which aims to ensure that casino sites are not given an unfair advantage due to dubious contractual wording. Typically, contractual wording is required to be transparent and fair, allowing players to make informed choices about signing up, depositing, and playing.

Another important aspect is your right to know and control how your personal data is used. When playing in an online casino, you provide personal information to create an account. When depositing, you provide financial information. It is your right to have specific and detailed information regarding your account information and information provided during money transactions. Licensed casino sites are required to implement systems that safeguard player privacy and prevent the information from getting into the wrong hands as a result of data breaches.

Most importantly, casino operators, by law, are responsible for their players’ well-being and need to protect them from developing gambling problems. Different licenses have different levels of strictness. However, under any license casinos have to encourage players to gamble responsibly to prevent players from developing problematic habits that may interfere with their daily lives. Stating in writing or over a recorded call with the casino that you are not in control of your gambling makes the casino legally bound to prevent you from spending more. Should they be in breach of this and send you a bonus or in another way incentify you to play further, you can make a legal case against them. It is very important to remember that this blade has two edges – in most casinos, especially those licensed under the MGA, gambling addiction is taken extremely seriously, and you may be permanently restricted from playing. Oftentimes, many casinos operate under one license, so you may find yourself restricted from more casinos than just the one you made your claim to. In most cases, this is a good thing, but do remember to only use this card when you truly are in a bad place and need help to battle gambling addiction. Do not make those claims if you are simply dissatisfied with the casino or wish to receive better treatment because the implications are not light.

Casino Tools to Help Prevent Gambling Addiction

Players will commonly come across different responsible gaming tools when looking to control their time or money spent gambling. You can limit how much time you spend online, or you can limit how much you deposit in a timeframe. You can even limit how much you bet, or just shut down your account altogether. The options are many, so let’s dive into this and explore each option a little further:

Reality Check

Reality check is a functionality that reminds players how much time they spent playing. Usually, as part of registering to a new casino, the player is prompted to set up a time for what they think is an acceptable amount of time to play. If this limit is reached, the player is notified that they reached their limit. It is not the strictest tool of all, but it is in fact the most commonly used one. When we get up with a fun activity, many of us lose track of time, so this tool can be of great help to prevent developing any addictive traits in the future. Many social media apps, even Instagram, offer this tool, so it is indeed helpful to manage your time spent on any activity on your phone or computer. 

Deposit Limits

Individual deposit limits are another responsible gaming measurement that players often set up as soon as creating their account in a casino. The player is required to adjust how much money they can put in at different time intervals. It can be a daily, weekly, or monthly limit. With deposit limits, players better control their spending and prohibit a person from gambling more than they can afford to. The general rule for amending your existing deposit limits is that if you have reached your limit and wish to be able to deposit more, the casino enforces a cool-off period of a few days. This may be frustrating at the time, but if you think about it, it makes sense. The limit is there to battle addictive behavior. If it makes you angry that you have to wait, then it is likely a good thing that you have to wait until you can deposit and get some time to cool off. Now, when it comes to making your limit even less than what you had previously set, or you don’t have a limit but decide that you should enforce one on your account, the process is completed immediately. 

Self-exclusion

Self-exclusion tools are the last resort for players who have problems controlling how much they play. It gives a player the option to block themselves for a certain amount of time, from weeks to months and even years, permanently. After a player has opted to self-exclude, the operator is required to block the player, return any available funds from the account and not allow them to play again until the self-exclusion period is over. Do note here, that if you have chosen to self exclude permanently, and confirmed in writing that it is due to gamble difficulties, most likely your account can not be reopened in the future should you change your mind.

Gaming License Comparison For Canadian Players

Brands allowing Canadian players to sign-up and play are usually holding one or more of the following licenses: Curaçao eGaming, Malta Gaming Authority, and the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. All licenses have their differences, however, with Canada lacking strict government online gambling restrictions, most of these differences are insignificant to Canadian players. Gamblers in Canada should really count their blessings when it comes to the freedom they enjoy when gambling online. As an example of the alternative, countries with a specific local license, like Sweden, where players are restricted to 5,000SEK (about $750) worth of deposits per week. In Germany, in preparation for establishing a local license, as of December 2020, players are not allowed to play live casino or table games until potentially legalizing the activities in the second half of 2021, or later. In the Netherlands, preparing for establishing their own gambling license, casinos cannot allow Dutch players to register at all. The list of restrictions goes on and on. For now, we should be glad that playing from Canada is totally hassle-free, with small exceptions to some sites loading slowly because most of the smaller to medium-sized casinos are based overseas.

Curacao eGaming license logo

Curaçao eGaming

Curaçao eGaming is one of the most common gaming licenses. The reason why Curaçao licenses are common is not that it is the best. On the contrary, it is mainly due to the ease of obtaining the license, compared to other licenses like MGA and Kahnawake. The licensing standard is generally weak, and the cost of obtaining a Curaçao license is low. The license allows casinos to provide services in jurisdictions all over the world.

The Curaçao license primarily looks at the financial status of the online casino operator. An operator seeking the Curaçao license will have to prove their financial strength, proving that they can maintain their business and honor payouts to players.

This does not mean that Curaçao is a bad license, it just means it is not the strictest. Some of the top online casinos in the world hold a Curaçao gambling license. The framework is good and the goal is still to protect players and prohibit illegitimate operators from providing services. The problem with Curaçao licenses is that when unethical practices are brought to the surface, like unfair bonus terms, or issues with paying out to the player on time, there is little reprimand from the regulatory body of Curaçao.

Malta Gaming Authority

Malta Gaming Authority

The MGA license is one of the most respected and trusted gambling authorities globally. They have established a safe and fair gaming framework that works for both casinos and players. The licensing policies are strict, and it is much more difficult to obtain an MGA license than a Curaçao license.

A new casino operator applying for an MGA license need to meet the following criteria to obtain a gaming license:

  • Competent and professional business conduct
  • Viable business strategy
  • Strong financial standing
  • Can meet all the requirements and obligations prescribed by law
  • Provide players with a tried, tested, and certified gaming platform

There are four different types of gaming licenses provided by the MGA:

Class 1 for RNG casino games. Class 2 for sports betting. Class 3 for peer-to-peer services such as sports betting exchanges and poker rooms. Class 4 license for software providers providing gaming content of platforms.

Besides being a trusted regulator and prestigious gaming license, MGA is a licensing body that is always looking to the future of online gaming. Whether it is new technologies and cryptocurrencies, the MGA welcomes innovation with open arms and regularly rework their framework to adapt to new technological breakthroughs.

kahnawake gambling commission

Kahnawake Gaming Commission

Kahnawake is a regulator that only operates within the borders of Canada. Despite it being a fully operational GCB, the local laws in Canada are not straight-forward enough, allowing for plenty of loopholes and respectively allowing off-shore brands to dominate the market. As of yet, there is no law in Canada that forces players to only play with brands under this license and so Canadian players are free to play in any casino worldwide without any legal repercussions. On the other hand, it is illegal to register and operate as a casino within Canada unless you are licensed by a local regulatory body. The Mohawk Tribal district provides licenses to over 250 independent casino sites in Canada. Kahnawake used to be the only independent regulatory body in North America until different USA states opened up to online gambling. The license is reputable to provide a suitable and safe gaming environment for players in Canadian online casinos.

A new casino operator applying for a Kahnawake license need to meet the following criteria to obtain a gaming license:

  • Provide complete information about the business, founders, and shareholders
  • Register an office within the territory of Kahnawake
  • Pass an independent financial audit
  • Guarantee large payouts
  • Guarantee safekeeping of private data
  • Provide players with a tried, tested, and certified gaming platform

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission issued six different gaming licenses and permits; Interactive Gaming License, Client Provider Authorization, Casino Software Provider Authorization, Live Dealer Studio Authorization, Inter-Jurisdictional Authorizations, and Key Person Permits.

Kahnawake is a reputable licensing body that keeps the player’s needs at heart. It is less strict than MGA while offering a more stringent framework and a better follow-up on disputes than Curaçao.

Should You Choose a Casino Based on License?

Needless to say, we all want to play where we can trust that we are protected from financial and security threats, and with an online casino that takes responsible gambling seriously. You definitely need not choose either/or, as many brands focus their efforts towards these important matters. We hope that the points we mention in this article have at least helped you to better know your rights as a customer in an online casino in Canada.

In theory, all licenses are there to serve as a stamp of legitimacy, but there are always those brands who go rogue and only focus on the business without a care for players. For this reason, we recommend you to always do your research and read reviews before choosing your casino. Please know that on this site, we only recommend the absolute best casinos available for Canadian players, and you can rest assured that we favor fair and safe brands.

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