Online gaming is great as long as you keep it fun. “Keeping it fun” means never playing with more than you can afford to lose and always playing on regulated and licensed sites.
Making sure that online casinos offer fair gaming conditions and complete protection of your data and transactions is the job of gambling authorities such as the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), the Swedish Gambling Authority, and others.
The UKGC is the main regulatory body in Great Britain that regulates and gives licenses to all commercial gambling operators across Great Britain and the world. It was set up under the Gambling Act 2005 and is under the direct supervision of the government.
The UKGC operates as an independent non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) that gets funding from collecting fines and license fees.
Their main objectives and goals are to provide a safe and secure playing environment and put a stop to all criminal gambling activities and underage gambling. To do that, they receive additional help from the Gambling Act 2014 that stresses that all operators that wish to offer games to players in Britain and advertize their products need to obtain an operating license from the UKGC.
The process an operator needs to go through before obtaining a license is clearly defined in license conditions and codes of practice (LCCP). Before issuing a permit, the UKGC performs thorough checks of the providers’ games, bonuses, software, and promotional tools. The vetting process includes verifying random number generators of provider’s games and demands that the latest SSL encryption protects all transactions and software.
Furthermore, all gaming operators are required to separate operating and player funds, which means that the players’ funds are stored in a UKGC-approved bank account and are accessible to players even if the site goes bankrupt.
In addition, gambling providers must follow strict rules as far as advertising is concerned. All advertising must be done in a socially acceptable way and under specific marketing rules, which has led to the ban of all betting advertisements during sports matches.
Misleading advertisements for promotions and services put operators in jeopardy of receiving gigantic fines like when BGO was fined £300,000 for misleading ads for promotions.
Another UKGC’s way of protecting players and making online gambling safer is by ensuring gambling companies participate in self-exclusion schemes the UKGC supports, like GAMSTOP. The UKGC performs investigations of the efficacy of such self-exclusion programs, as was the case with 888 Casino a few years ago.
Swedish Gambling Authority
As of January 1, 2019, Sweden has made amendments to their gambling laws and redefined the licensing procedure all gambling providers need to go through if they wish to obtain the Swedish license.
Namely, the Swedish Gambling Authority, or Spelinspektionen, is in charge of administering all rules and overseeing all licensing processes. They operate on two legislations that brought about major changes of the law — the Gambling Act (2018:1138) and the Gambling Ordinance (2018:1475).
These laws aim to provide an absolutely safe and fair gaming environment for Swedes. This is done by scrutinizing all online and land-based casinos carefully before granting them one of six types of licenses available.
The security measures included in these gambling acts focus on amending the bonus rules. This new bonus rule says that players are eligible for only one bonus when registering on a gambling site. Beyond that, no bonus deals may be offered to the player.
Furthermore, the Swedish Gambling Authority can now instruct internet service providers to show a warning message if a player is accessing a non-licensed site. Another security measure aims at slots. All slot games will now have a 3-second delay between spins, making the player reconsider if they want to make the next bet or not.
To help players combat gambling addiction, the Swedish Gambling Authority has set up a self-exclusion scheme, much like GAMSTOP in the UK, and made sure all licensed companies are part of the program. With the Swedish GAMSTOP, players can learn how to control excessive gambling.
iGaming in the Netherlands: Licensing Soon Expected
The iGaming industry in the Netherlands is poised to develop at great speeds after the Senate approved a draft bill on remote gambling, which will allow Kansspelautoriteit, the Netherlands Gambling Authority, to start licensing gambling operators and betting sites in the Netherlands.
The action is set to take place after July 1, 2020, with the market set to open on January 1, 2021. This is crucial for Dutch players since with licensing operators comes greater security, prevention of gambling addiction, and overall safer gambling for everyone.