If you’re new to the world of online bingo, you might think that it resembles something of the Wild West – a lawless society where anything could happen. The reality couldn’t be further from this though, as the online gambling world is an incredibly well-regulated place, especially if you come from the United Kingdom. But how exactly are you protected by the different regulators and licencing bodies, and why should they make you feel safe when you gamble online?
What Do Regulators and Licencing Bodies Do?
You probably won’t ever have any dealings with any of the regulating or licencing bodies, but you should know that they’re a big deal in the gambling world. This is because, without a certificate from a licencing authority, a site can’t prove that it is a fair place to play. This therefore means that the site in question won’t be able to attract many customers at all. If you ever see an online gambling site that isn’t properly licenced and regulated, we recommend that you avoid it at all costs.
In order to get a licence from one of the reputable bodies, a site will need to prove that it is completely fair and that your money is also completely safe when stored at the site. What’s more, the site will need to agree to being monitored constantly and this monitoring ensures that a site never lapses into bad practices.
But what happens if a regulatory body ever finds that a site is doing something it shouldn’t? Well, it’s actually quite simple: they’d revoke the site’s licence. This will send a clear signal to the online gambling community that the site can’t be trusted. Don’t think that a licencing authority would never do this either – just look at what happened to Full Tilt Poker when shady practices were uncovered.
How to Check a Site is Licenced and Regulated
There is a really easy way to check whether a site is licenced and regulated properly – just scroll down to the bottom of the homepage. When you get to the bottom of the page, you should find that there’s a logo there. If you’re in the UK, this logo should be from the UK Gambling Commission. Those from other countries might find other logos, such as those from Malta and Gibraltar. They should be really clear, so it shouldn’t take much in order to find them.
Don’t simply trust that the site is regulated because you see the logo though. Instead, you can find the details of the licence near the bottom of the page and you can then head to the relevant website and check these details out. Some sites even allow you to click on the logo and be taken straight to the certificate.
Of course, there is a much easier way to find out whether a site is regulated – just check the site’s review we’ve created. We will never recommend a bingo site that isn’t properly licenced and regulated. This is why so many people play at a site after our recommendation.
The Different Licencing and Regulatory Bodies
There are many different licencing and regulatory bodies found throughout the world. Some are very well-respected, while others aren’t really worth much at all. Below you’ll find out about the main regulatory bodies you’ll find in the online bingo world…
UK Gambling Commission
If you’re in the UK, the only organisation you need to be looking for is the UK Gambling Commission. This is because a site must have a UK Gambling Commission certificate if they want to operate in the UK. Without a certificate, the gambling site in question is breaking the law if they even have one UK player. Therefore, if you’re in the UK, you should never play at a site without a UKGC licence – doing so means that you’ll have no recourse should something go wrong.
The UK Gambling Commission is probably the most respected regulatory body in the world. This means that even those from outside the UK feel better when they see the UKGC logo. The main role of the UKGC is to make sure that the site in question is acting fairly and ethically. They will also only grant a licence to a site that can demonstrate that it looks after player funds, therefore meaning that you shouldn’t ever find your money in danger.
You can find out more about them by visiting the UK Gambling Commission website.
Malta Gaming Authority
The Malta Gaming Authority is the second biggest regulatory body around. While Malta is only a small country, the MGA is respected massively, as they are known to provide a robust oversight of the gambling sites they are responsible for. There was a time when the organisation came under a lot of scrutiny, as they were adjudged by many to have mishandled some big investigations. They really have learned from this though, and it’s now accepted that they do their job extremely well.
If you play at a site regulated by the MGA, you can be sure that it is completely safe and above board. Should you ever have a problem at a site regulated by the MGA, you should find that they’re very responsive and do their best to resolve the issue quickly. You’re very unlikely to ever need to contact them though.
Government of Gibraltar
Gibraltar punches well above its weight in the online gambling world. It might only be a small UK territory on the entrance to the Mediterranean, however it grants licences to a large number of major online bingo sites and other gambling sites. Most sites base themselves in Gibraltar due to the low taxation, however the Government of Gibraltar makes sure that the sites registered there really stick to strict rules.
It should be noted that a licence from Gibraltar doesn’t make the site in question open to UK players, despite the fact that Gibraltar is a UK territory. The Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association is currently challenging the legality of sites needing to have a licence from the UK Gambling Commission in order to accept UK players.
Gambling Supervision Commission (Isle of Man)
Gambling firms have been licenced in the Isle of Man since the 1960s and this is for one reason only: tax. To attract businesses, they keep the taxes low, but like in Gibraltar, this doesn’t mean that they turn a blind eye to bad behaviour by gambling companies. In fact, companies regulated in the Isle of Man are subject to some of the strictest rules around, meaning that customers are always kept exceptionally safe.
Perhaps the most important thing to mention about the Gambling Supervision Commission is the fact that it forces those under its remit to segregate player funds from operating funds. This means that you shouldn’t ever find yourself losing your funds, even if the company goes into administration. This has happened before to sites regulated elsewhere, so it’s an extremely important rule.
Curacao Internet Gambling Association
Curacao is another part of the world that attracts companies due to its low taxes. While places like Gibraltar and Malta offer good protection to players though, the same can’t really be said of the Curacao Internet Gambling Association. The licence really isn’t worth too much, as there aren’t many checks carried out on the company in question, meaning that some less scrupulous companies could have licences from this jurisdiction.
Because they are not the most respected organisation in the world, we would avoid playing at any site that is solely regulated by the Curacao Internet Gambling Association. If there is also a licence from a more respected organisation though, such as the UKGC or the MGA, then the site should be completely trustworthy.