While some people don’t really care for rules, in some cases, they are a serious safety net in order to stop innocent people from being taken advantage of. It is for this reason that government commissions and regulators exist in the majority of countries around the world.
It is absolutely crucial that UK bingo sites are regulated by the Gambling Commission. But, did you know that they can also hold licences from other regulatory bodies? Some of the most respected are based in countries such as Malta, Alderney and Gibraltar.
Our amazing team at BingoSites.com have put together an informed guide on some of the most commonly used regulators and licencing bodies from around the world. In doing so, we aim to help you gain some insight into what regulatory bodies are out there keeping you safe!
Gambling Commission – UK
Set up under the 2005 Gambling Act, we at BingoSites.com actually believe the Gambling Commission came along at a time when casino-related regulation was very much needed.
The UK government handed over power to the Gambling Commission to oversee the entire domestic gambling scene (excluding spread betting). This meant that from that point forward all operators had to comply with the Gambling Commission.
As such, all legitimate bingo platforms must hold a Gambling Commission licence. In order to obtain the licence, the bingo platform really does need to jump through hoops to get it.
As well as the Gambling Act 2005, the Gambling Commission also has its own licence conditions and codes of practice. Referred to as the ‘LCCP’ for short, any bingo platform also needs to meet the requirements of these conditions.
This is a regulatory process that is taken very seriously, and failure to comply or meet the requirements set out by the Commission can land bingo sites in serious trouble.
For bingo platforms wishing to offer any bingo products at all to the UK market, they are obliged to obtain this gambling licence from the Gambling Commission. The commission will perform a wide range of tests before confirming a bingo website is above board and fair for players, and in some cases, this can be a drawn-out process.
As mentioned earlier, the Gambling Commission also closely observes any terrorist financing activity, money laundering, fraud and identity theft. One of the main ways the Commission is able to do this is to make it compulsory for UK bingo sites to verify the identity of every single player signing up to its platform.
It is because of these licencing conditions that as a player you will be required to provide photo evidence of who you are. This will usually be a driving licence or passport, and proof of address by means of a bank statement or utility bill (in your name)
There are very particular technical requirements and standards which have to be followed to the letter. For example, all bingo sites are required by law to apply for a gambling licence.
The Gambling Commission is like a bingo guardian angel, insofar that it is tasked with protecting players from being taken advantage of. When a bingo site carries its licence, you can be sure that the platform has been rigorously tested for fairness and randomness.
The Gambling Commission Continues to Lead by Example
As well as stamping out fraud and organised criminal activity, the Gambling Commission also protects juveniles and the vulnerable by not allowing these groups to pay or play at their sites. This is done through a KYC (Know Your Customer) process.
The software developers that create the bingo games we love to play don’t escape when it comes to the Gambling Commission rules and regulations either. On the contrary, they also need to be in possession of a full gaming licence to operate. Even if the software provider is not based in the UK, if they do not have a valid licence, they simply will not be allowed to offer their games to British players.
With access to a handful of sanctions, the Gambling Commission does have the power to issue more than just a warning to any bingo platforms who fail to comply and keep its players safe from injustice.
Sanctions handed out depends on the level of malpractice – and so the punishment can be anything from demanding additional regulatory standard conditions or a one time fine.
Some of the more drastic measures include taking away the bingo website’s licence, and in more severe cases of organised crime; the operator will be taken to court.
Before any new bingo title is allowed to be introduced to the UK market, it is obliged by law to apply for a certificate via a Gambling Commission-approved test house. This licence tells you that the game has been thoroughly tested for fairness and randomness so having passed the test you can be certain there is no misconduct going on.
With all of this considered, we at BingoSites.com think the Gambling Commission is definitely one of the most rigorously tested and strict licencing bodies worldwide.
Looking at some of the other regulatory bodies around the world, it’s clear that there are some similarities, and that they have taken some inspiration from the UK’s gambling watchdog.
Now our team at BingoSites.com are going to take you on a little adventure to some other parts of the world, and talk about how other countries regulate their bingo platforms for players.
MGA – Malta Gaming Authority
Bang in the middle of the Mediterranean sea, Malta as an island is small in size. But, its national regulator – the Malta Gaming Authority, is one of the biggest in Europe.
In fact, it has been reported that this tiny nation is in charge of regulating over 80% of the European market (in terms of gambling; bingo, slots, table games etc).
Malta is extremely popular for gambling operators all over the world, this is largely due to said operators being able to easily set up a base in the country. The Malta Gaming Authority bears a lot of similarities to the Gambling Commission when it comes to regulation and sanctions.
The Malta Gaming Authority also heavily regulates in order to prevent the laundering of illicit money, organised crime, general poor misconduct, and to safeguard minors as well as the vulnerable from accessing gambling content.
The vast majority of the gambling industry regulated by the Malta Gaming Authority is online-based. As such, chances are you yourself have played on a UK bingo website which holds an MGA remote gaming licence.
The reason a lot of UK-based bingo websites use the MGA is that it allows them to approve deposits and players from a large number of European countries. Much like with the Gambling Commission, Malta’s gaming regulatory bodies are able to impose sanctions on bingo sites which try to abuse the system and not give players a fair game.
Just like in the UK, this doesn’t always just mean being slapped with a fine. Instead, it can result in the removal of the bingo platform’s regulatory licence meaning it can no longer operate legally. It is fair to say that the UK and Malta regulate the vast majority of the European gambling space.
With that being said, below you find a list of other reputable licensing bodies that are active in the online gambling space.
AGCC – Alderney Gambling Control Commission
Alderney is a member of the Channel Islands, and ever since the launch of the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) in 2000, it has been widely considered as being somewhat of a tax-efficient base.
This makes the AGCC a very attractive licencing body for remote bingo and casino platforms. Whilst the AGCC is definitely much smaller in scale when compared to others, the benefit to bingo platforms is that they receive very attractive tax breaks.
These days, the AGCC bases a lot of its regulatory and licencing laws on the framework of the Gambling Commission.
GSC Isle of Man – Gambling Supervision Commission
Launched back in 1962, the Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC) in the Isle of Man is another licencing body in the Channel Islands which is attractive to online bingo platforms.
Interestingly, the GSC is one of the longest standing gaming regulators worldwide. It is developing its own impressive reputation within the online gambling arena, but also regulates a number of land-based casino sites as well.
CGCB – Curacao Gaming Control Board
With a population of around 160,000 people, this Caribbean island of Curacao is gaining a reputation with online gambling operators.
The Curacao Gaming Control Board is a gambling body which concentrates heavily on the popular crypto-currency online bingo and casino area.
The bingo games that we all love to play really wouldn’t be able to guarantee our safe and fair protection if it wasn’t for the Gambling Act 2005, and thus – the Gambling Commission.
Without all of the legal obligations that go along with these regulations, we as players wouldn’t be protected from fraud, corruption and other shady dealings which used to be associated with casinos in the days of the wild west.
Although the Gambling Commission is an industry leader in this field, we have also discussed some of the other regulatory bodies active in the space. This is why we at BingoSites.com often recommend sites that are regulated on several fronts!