The Role of Gambling Commissions in the Industry
You have probably come across such terms as: a Gambling commission, a Gambling regulator, a Regulatory body, which are identical in terms of meaning. Each of them refers to some government empowered entity which is in charge of enforcing gambling laws. Anyway, there are much more going on, so let’s elaborate on:
Gambling commissions’ place in the government hierarchy and their duties
Types of Gambling commissions along with some other questions you may ask
Gambling commission’s place in the structure of the government
I can not name any Gambling regulator which is not a part of the local government. All of them are, at least to some degree. This, I would say, is a very predictable thing to have since you can not enforce the law without having the power to do so, obviously.
Somebody may argue that, for example, Curacao license operators do not belong to the Curacao’s government structure directly, which is true (How Curacao gambling licenses are very different?). However, those 4 license operators are entitled by the Curacao government, enforce the gambling law of Curacao and can be disempowered by the government at any moment the government wish. So, those license operators, which are public companies by the way, are pretty much affiliated with the authorities.
However, the majority of Gambling commissions around the world do directly belong to the government’s structure, the Executive branch of it, to be more precise.
Please notice, even if the Legislative branch adopts the gambling law most of the time, a Gambling regulator can also issue some regulations, guidance and rules on its own. Though its power in terms of legislation is limited to less important matters, whereas the Legislative branch determines the gambling policy on its core level.
What is usually in the power of a Gambling commission?
As you may have concluded, there are a lot of Gambling regulatory bodies around the world, and each country (if the country has it, since not every nation introduces a Gambling regulator) sets its own Gambling commission. As a result, certain duties can vary very significantly from one jurisdiction to another, and there can be just some of them or even all of them taken place. Anyway, let’s list the responsibilities of a typical Gambling commission and take a closer look at them.
For example, the UK gambling commission state that it has the following objectives: “to keep crime out of gambling, to ensure that gambling is conducted fairly and openly, and to protect children and vulnerable people”. The same can be said about other Gambling regulators even if not all of them declare it right away.
So to speak, Gambling commissions usually have the authority to:
Issue a gambling license under its seal (also they have the authority to suspend the license or even revoke it).
Control that underage gambling does not take place at the licensed casinos.
Ensure responsible advertising of the gambling (including protection players from email/telephone spam, restriction of some forms of bonuses and promotions. Why it happens?).
Prevent money laundering (for example, when some criminals deposit “dirty” money in an online casino, and then withdraw it as a “clean” casino winning).
Make sure that addicted players can exclude themselves from gambling for a period of time or permanently (How does self-blocking in online casinos work?)
Impose fines to misbehaved casinos.
Levy license fees and gambling taxes.
Last but not least, deal with players’ complaints.
Types of Gambling regulators
In terms of territory :
Local gambling commissions issue a gambling license, with which a gambling venue can only operate on the territory of this particular country (either online or offline, or both). For example, Nevada Gaming commission.
International gambling commissions allow gambling venues to operate under their licenses basically around the world (or at least on a very significant part of it). For example, Curacao Antillephone N.V., Malta, etc..
In terms of size:
Major mainland nations (UK, Danish gambling authority, etc.).
In terms of which licenses they issue:
Online licenses allow gambling venues to provide gambling services remotely, on the internet (locally or around the world).
Land-based gambling licenses are pinned only to the territory of the particular jurisdiction. To put it simply, they can open, let’s say, a land-based casino only within the territory.
In terms of type of gambling a commission can license:
Sport betting (including horse races)
Lotteries including physical tickets-based Keno and Bingo (Why government lotteries are the biggest scam ever?)
Poker (players compete against each other, not against "the house", like in Video Poker)
Where does the difference between decent and weak gambling jurisdictions lay?
As the title suggests, Gambling commissions are not equal at all, and the difference can actually be really tremendous. The main parameter to look for is how strictly a particular Gambling regulator enforces the law since all of them have fairly decent gambling policies on paper, but not all of them control online casinos properly.
Should casino players play in online casinos with only a “strong” license?
If you do not want to spend time making a research about a particular online casino’s trustworthiness, then sticking to a “strong” Gambling regulator (such as, UK, Isle of Man, Malta) would be definitely a smart strategy. However, license fees and taxes are much higher in “strong” jurisdictions, so that online casinos from there can not afford generous bonuses and promotions (VIP-programs, Tournaments, Races) as a rule of thumb.
I personally prefer to play in less strong gambling jurisdictions with much better bonuses. But you have to choose an online casino very carefully with such an approach, since the bonuses do not matter at the end of the day if you are going to be scammed.
Play in unlicensed online casinos or not?
It is a very bad idea in general (though there are a very little portion of them which are legit). Just ask yourself, would an online casino with good intentions avoid licensing since it is a fairly cheap procedure in some countries (for example, in notorious Curacao)?
Is it effective to file a complaint to a Regulatory body?
In some of them (UK, Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Malta) it is 100% effective, though in the other part it is rather a waste of time. Hence, if you decide to play in less reputable jurisdiction to get better bonuses, you’d better choose a casino very thoroughly (or simply use my rating instead).
I suppose, you have got at least a general idea how the gambling industry works in terms of regulations. Summing up, Gambling commissions are playing a crucial role, no question about that, so that learning about them is definitely “must do” for casino players, especially the active ones.
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