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Casino Licenses

Serious Online Casinos and Online Gambling halls have one common thing: They have a valid gambling licence. Those providers who offer online gambling services without a licence, are not working in a trustworthy manner and are therefore not serious. However when looking at the several casino licences which are available, many gambling enthusiasts wonder which licence authorities they can trust most and if there is an actual contact person, in case of a problem. Currently the casino licences from Malta, Curacao, Great Britain and Germany are the most popular.

Below we will take a closer look at all the relevant online gambling licensing authorities. We have looked at the requirements that gambling operators have to meet in order to be licensed, and how rigorously they are usually monitored. We also looked at whether there is someone on the licensing authority's side to contact in the event of a dispute, or whether players are left to fend for themselves.

Overview of the most important licenses:

Gemeinsame Glücksspielbehörde der Länder

Gemeinsame Glücksspielbehörde der Länder Country flag Germany
  • The German casino licence offers players maximum security
  • The responsible authority is called Gemeinsame Glücksspielbehörde der Länder - GGL (in English Joint Gaming Authority of the Federal States) with headquarters in Halle/Saale
  • Online casinos with a German licence must meet strict requirements such as 1 Euro Max Bet, 5 seconds minimum playing time, autospin ban and online casinos have to pay the betting tax of 5.3 %
  • Currently, only one casino licence has been granted to one company of Gauselmann (as of 20 June 2022).

Since the new State Treaty on Gaming (Glücksspielstaatsvertrag in German - GlüStV) came into force on July 1, 2021, German online gaming providers have had the opportunity to apply for a German gaming license. Both German licences for sports betting and licences for virtual slot machine games are issued. While a high double-digit number of licences have already been awarded for sports betting, the competent authority has currently only awarded one casino licence (as of 20 June 2022). This licence was issued to Mernov Betriebsgesellschaft mbH, a subsidiary of the Gauselmann Group. The official "whitelist" of the Saxony-Anhalt State Administration Office provides an overview of all German licences issued to date (click here).

From 1 January 2023, the Joint Gaming Authority of the Federal States (GGL) will be responsible for regulating the cross-state gaming market in Germany. In order to obtain a German casino licence, however, applicants must comply with very strict player protection measures. Among other things, they must ensure that the minimum playing time of five seconds is adhered to and that a maximum of one euro can be wagered per game round. Furthermore, they must adhere to a strict ban on autospins and jackpots and also pay the betting tax of 5.3 % on each spin to the German tax authorities.

However, the nationwide casino licence is only valid for virtual slot games, i.e. classic slot machines. Each federal state can also decide for itself whether and under what conditions licences are issued for table or card games such as roulette, blackjack or baccarat. In Thuringia, for example, it has already been decided to introduce a state monopoly for online casino games such as roulette or blackjack. In Schleswig-Holstein, North Rhine-Westphalia and other federal states, it has been decided instead to grant a limited number of licences to private online gambling providers.

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Eidgenössische Spielbankenkommission (ESBK)

Eidgenössische Spielbankenkommission (ESBK) Country flag
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MGA - Malta Gaming Authority

MGA - Malta Gaming Authority Country flag Malta
  • Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) was founded in 2001
  • The Authority was one of the first official bodies to regulate online gambling
  • MGA is well known for strict regulations and comprehensive player protection
  • In the case of recurring breaching of rules, the MGA will withdraw the license issued
  • Most recently, the online gambling sector in Malta generated 12 % of the total GDP

The Online-Gambling sector has meanwhile become an important economic factor for the small European Mediterranean Island of Malta. The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) was founded in 2001 and takes a leading position as a renowned Supervisory Authority. One of the duties of the MGA is to guarantee and check for fairness and transparency in all online-gambling games. Besides, the MGA is responsible for preventing criminal activities as money laundering and corruption. Here the MGA works closely with the police in Malta. Further to this, the MGA takes care of gambler and youth protection and determines the minimum payment quota for casino games. Since Malta became a member of the European Union in 2004, this has become a highly regarded EU-Licence.

The MGA also takes care that the player’s funds are protected, in a way that they are kept separate from the rest of the company assets of the providers. Of course the Licence Authority makes random checks on the activities of the respective licence holders. The majority of active online casinos on the German speaking online gambling market have such an EU-Licence from Malta. An MGA-licence mostly enjoys a high reputation within the industry. The locality of Malta is also attractive for the providers, because of its low tax rate and comparatively low licence costs (around 25,000 Euro per year). Those players who want to lodge a complaint about a Malta licensed Online Casino, can do so through the English Online Form of the MGA.

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Curacao eGaming

Curacao eGaming  Country flag Curacao
  • The Curaçao eGaming is one of the oldest Licence Authorities in the online gambling business worldwide.
  • Since the GlüStV came into force in Germany, the relevance of the Curaçao Casinos has increased significantly.
  • Providers must meet only a few requirements to receive the Curaçao Licence.
  • Master-licence holders are entitled to issue several Sub-Licences
  • In case of a problem however, the customer is mostly left on his own, since the Gambling Authorities provide little support.

The small Caribbean Island Curacao has meanwhile been elevated to a pioneer in the regulation of online casinos. Curacao eGaming is here the leading Master-Licence holder of Curacao. This Master-Licence holder is entitled to issue further Sub-Licences. This usually happens under the reference 1668/JAZ. Curacao eGaming has been active in the licence business since 1996, that is, over 25 years. Of course, the Curacao eGaming as a licence holder, ensures that the players receive a safe and fair play. Besides this, those responsible ensure that the players and operators are protected from any type of criminal acts (e.g. money laundering, fraud). Further to this, they check that the providers are operating properly.

After several restrictions on the online gambling market, the popularity of the Curacao casinos has recently increased significantly. The reputation of online casinos operating with a licence from Curacao was very bad for a long time. Meanwhile there seems to have been a change. Many Curacao Casinos now have excellent reviews. In case of a dispute, players can fill in a Complaint Form of the Curacao eGaming in English. Till now, the licence provider is however not known to have provided substantial assistance when gambling enthusiasts have a problem. For this reason, interested gamblers should be careful from the outset to choose a serious and reliable Curacao Casino.

The costs for a casino licence from Curacao totals to 34.000 US-Dollar. Besides, the locality is characterised by a low tax rate, which in the gambling sector amounts only to 2 %. Curacao is a large island of around 444 square km with around 160.000 inhabitants and it belongs to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. From the German capital of Berlin it is more than 8400 km to Curacao.

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Schleswig- Holstein - MIB

Schleswig- Holstein - MIB Country flag Germany
  • Schleswig-Holstein has for years taken a special path in online gambling
  • The Federal Region of Schleswig-Holstein was the only region to offer a licence to providers
  • Licensing was linked to compliance to especially strict regulations.
  • In total only around 20 gambling providers received one of the sought-after SH-Licences
  • Since July 2021 Online-Gambling has been legalised in Germany. (according GlüStV)

Even in 2011, Schleswig-Holstein as the most Northern German Federal Region, had taken a special path. Whereas all other German regions have accepted the national State Gambling Threaty (GlüStV) and permitted no casino games on the internet, Schleswig-Holstein issued a limited number of casino licences. Strictly speaking these casino licences are solely for persons with a residence or habitual residence in Schleswig-Holstein. The so-called SH-Licences was therefore only issued under especially strict conditions, so that gambling enthusiasts could here be sure, that they are using a serious provider. The players could be sure, that the operator is a reliable company and that fair play will be guaranteed here. Until recently only over 20 gambling companies held an SH-Licence.

Nowadays, the Ministry of Interior, Rural Areas, Integration and Equality, is the highest Gambling Supervisory Authority of the region of Schleswig-Holstein. Since the new GlüStV on the 1st. July 2021 came into effect, the gambling licence of Schleswig-Holstein has lost its relevance significantly. This is because state-wide there is a uniform licensing procedure for online gambling halls. This German Licence quasi replaced the SH-Licence. However all providers must respect the player protection measures to be able to receive the casino licence from the German Authorities. Among these measures there is a 5 second waiting period between the turns, a 1 Euro-betting limit per Spin as well as a monthly provider independent deposit limit of 1.000 Euro per player. Besides there is now a National Gambling Supervisory Authority in Halle (Saale).

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UK Gambling Commission

UK Gambling Commission Country flag United Kingdom
  • In 2007, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) superseded the Gaming Board for GB
  • Authority licenses only gambling providers with headquarters in Great Britain
  • Since Brexit, the British UKGC-Licence has lost its relevance for German gamblers since Brexit
  • Above all, UKGC wants to protect players in the best way possible against the dangers of gambling
  • Licensed providers must keep players‘ deposits separate from the rest of the company assets

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is the official name of the British Gambling Authorities. It is therefore responsible for the regulation of gambling, as well as for monitoring of the gambling legislation in Great Britain. In other words, the Supervisory Authority wants to keep away any kind of criminality and also minors from gambling. Besides this, an essential component of the work of the Authority is that of ensuring a fair game for players. Among other things, this means that a certified random generator is used. This is mostly even monitored by independent companies. The licence holders must here also keep the players’ funds separate from the rest of the assets of the company.

The Commission can issue casino licences to gambling providers, when they fulfil all the necessary requirements. Besides, the UK Gambling Commission is well known for imposing high financial penalties for infringements and even for revoking the licence for incorrigible providers. The UK Gambling Commission has existed in its present form since 2007, after it superseded the Gaming Board for Great Britain. The UKGC currently has around 350 employees. The UKGC has recently lost its relevance significantly for players from the German speaking countries, since gambling providers must make use of other casino licences. The UKGC regulates mainly only gambling activities of British gambling enthusiasts.

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Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission

Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission  Country flag Isle of Man
  • Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission is the official Gambling Authority of the island
  • Commission was already founded in 1962
  • Providers must subject themselves to the comprehensive rules
  • The licence of Isle of Man has hardly any relevance for players from Germany
  • The yearly licence costs amount to 35,000 Sterling Pounds
  • Most recently, among others, Yggdrasil, Unikrn and Bahigo held such a licence

Isle of Man is an island in the Irish Sea with around 85.000 inhabitants. Isle of Man is indeed under the British Throne, however it was at no time a member of the European Union. The national Gambling Authority is called Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission and was founded way back in 1962. The authority regulates nearly all type of gambling activities in the country, among these, not only the online gambling sector, but also land-based casinos and betting halls. The aim of the commission is that gambling remains fair and free of any criminality.

Among other things, the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission ensures the protection of the players’ funds. It is also in charge of the authorisation and inspection of fair random generators for the casino games. The first official Isle of Man-Licence was issued in 2009 to Celton Manx for the operation of Live Dealer-Games. Users who have a problem with an online casino can complain about the providers with the Isle of Man-Licence through the official form on the website. Currently, around 55 gambling companies hold an Isle of Man-Licence. Among this we find the software provider Yggdrasil. The island, which is only 572 square metres is world famous as a tax haven and several offshore companies are located there.

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Gibraltar - Gambling Comission

Gibraltar - Gambling Comission Country flag Gibraltar
  • Gibraltar Gambling Commission (GGC) is the official Gambling Authority of Gibraltar
  • There has been such a licensing authority in Gibraltar since 2000
  • Gibraltar is situated on the South coast of Spain, however it is under the British throne.
  • Currently nearly 40 partly well-known gambling providers hold a licence from Gibraltar

Gibraltar is a British overseas territory with around 34,000 inhabitants on the Southern Point of the Iberian Peninsula. The responsible licencing authority is the Gibraltar Gambling Commission (GGC). The Authority is mainly for the online gambling sector, since there are hardly any established gaming halls. The GGC monitors that the legal regulations are adhered to. Among other things, it reviews the rules on advertising, and it also prevents money laundering. Further to this, the authorities should ensure that the balance of the players is secured.

Interested providers must undergo a comprehensive due-diligence process to obtain a licence from Gibraltar. For example, here it is ascertained that the provider has financial reserves and that the business plan is serious. Besides this, the management of the casino must present the necessary police clearance certificates. The charges currently amount to around 100,000 Pounds per licence, which when compared to other licences, is a lot. The predecessor of the current Gibraltar Gambling Commissioners was the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority (GRA), which was founded in 2000. In case of a problem, players can turn to the licensing authority with complete confidence. The Online-Portal of the Gibraltar Gambling Commission is available for this purpose.

Currently 38 providers hold a licence of the GCC (as of September 2021). Among these, there are the PLC, the William Hill Limited, BetVictor as well as Software providers as NetEnt, Red Tiger, Pragmatic Play or Greentube. The headquarters of the small Gambling Authority is at the following address: Suite 812 & 813, Europort Road, GX11 1AA Gibraltar.

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NBA - National Betting Authority

NBA - National Betting Authority Country flag Cyprus
  • The National Betting Authority (NBA) was founded in 2012
  • Authority consists only of 7 members
  • Licence costs are here very high; a minimum start capital must be raised
  • For players from Germany, this gambling licence has hardly any relevance

The island of Cyprus, which is situated in the Eastern Mediterranean, has been issuing licences to online gambling providers since 2007. The national gambling authority is the cabinet. The term of office of the members and the president is of four years respectively. The gambling authority of Cyprus was founded in its present form in 2012. In the same year the Republic of Cyprus legalised both offline and online sports bets. Since that time, the NBA has been responsible for assessing the applications and also for the licensing and supervision of the established game halls and online providers. The Cyprian gambling authority is situated in the Capital of Nicosia, at the following address: Digeni Akrita 83, 1070, Nicosia.

According to its own information, the National Betting Authority represents values as respect, integrity and professionalism. The licence costs basically amount to around 30,000 Euro per year, but there is also a 2-year-licence for 45,000 Euro. The licensees must have a minimum start capital amounting to 500,000 to receive a NBA-licence. They must also ensure that no crypto currencies are accepted as means of payment. In case of a problem, a player can use the contact form to turn to the tiny gambling authority in Cyprus. The Republic of Cyprus is a Member state of the European Union since 2004.

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Alderney Gambling Control Commission

Alderney Gambling Control Commission Country flag Alderney
  • Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) was first founded in 2000
  • For some time the AGCC was very relevant for the European online gambling market
  • Meanwhile only a few gambling firms are in possession of an AGCC-Licence
  • Therefore the licence from Alderney is hardly relevant for German players

The Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) was first founded in May 2000. The Commission is independent and regulates the online-gambling branch. According to its own information, the Gambling Commission ensures that the “highest international standards” are met. The aim is to maintain the fairness and integrity of online gambling. Licence holders must, among other things, ensure that there is always more money available than that which is to be paid out to the players. 

According to the website of the licencing authority, the costs of a licence for the first year amount to around 17,500 Euro. Recently the number of gambling providers licenced by the AGCC has decreased considerably. Whereas in 2018 there were 53 companies which were licenced by the authority, in 2019 there were only 33. The cause of this development could be, that many EU countries meanwhile have introduced their own gambling laws, which allow online gambling. The Alderney Gambling Control Commission can be reached at the following postal address: St Anne’s House, Queen Elizabeth ll Street, Alderney. In case of a problem, the user can make direct contact with the employees of the gambling authority. Alderney, as part of the Channel Islands, has around 2000 inhabitants and is a British Crown dependency. 

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Gaming Control Board

Gaming Control Board Country flag Costa Rica
  • Inhabitants of Costa Rica are not allowed to participate in online gambling
  • In spite of this, the country issues gambling licences
  • There is hardly any state monitoring, so that users have to fend for themselves
  • German players should therefore avoid casinos with a licence from Costa Rica at all costs

Costa Rica is a state in Central America with around five million inhabitants. The gambling legislation in the country is still a riddle even for industry experts. Unfortunately there is hardly any information on the official site about the gambling legislation in the country. It is a fact, that gambling is strictly illegal for the inhabitants of Costa Rica. In spite of this, Costa Rica issues gambling licences. However there is no monitoring of the licence holders. And this, even though the government of Costa Rica had announced way back in 2013, that it has kick started the gambling inspection body Gambling Control Board.

The applicant must have a business registered office in the country, as well as be registered with the tax authorities, to receive a licence from Costa Rica. Besides this, the licence holders are in all circumstances strictly forbidden from accepting payments from customers with a residence in Costa Rica. The licence costs amount to around 5000 US-Dollar per year. Besides this, there are around 500 US-Dollar processing fees. In summary, players should ,where possible, stay away from an online casino with a licence from Costa Rica. Here there is no regulation or monitoring from the authorities. Since the 1950s a stabled democracy reigns there. The country is at times described as the “Switzerland of Central America”.


Kahnawake Gaming Commission

Kahnawake Gaming Commission Country flag Canada
  • Kahnawake-Gambling Commission licences and regulates up to 500 online casinos
  • Many online casinos in Nord America hold such a licence
  • The KGC-Licence has no relevance for the European market
  • KGC wants to protect minors, as well as personal data, and prevent money laundering
  • The processing fees for distributing the licence amount to at least 30,000 USD

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC) regulates several hundred online casinos in North America. Kahnawake is namely a Mohawk-Reserve in Quebec, Canada. The Kahnawake-Gambling Commission, on the contrary has no relevance for players from Europe. Following the decree of the relevant gambling laws in 1996, it was then possible for the KGC to be founded. In July 1999, the commission enacted the first laws for interactive gambling activities. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission therefore was one of the first organisations worldwide, which licensed and regulated online casinos.

To acquire a licence by KGC, online casinos must be hosted by Mohawk Internet Technologies. This is a computer centre in the Canadian Kahnawake. Among the core duties assigned to the Gambling Commission, we find the protection of minors and the prevention of money laundering. Besides, the commission must ensure that winnings are paid out fast and that the personal data of players is protected. The costs of acquiring a KGC-Licence amount to at least 30,000 USD, whereby a licence renewal incurs costs amounting to a further minimum amount of 10,000 USD. It is interesting, that to date, the Canadian authorities classify the licences issued by the KGC as illegal. However, since the Gambling Law came into force in the 1990s, it has not been enforced. It is estimated that currently there are up to 500 online casinos on the market, which are operating with a licence of the Kahnawake Gaming Commission.

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Swedish Gambling Authority

Swedish Gambling Authority Country flag Sweden
  • Gambling Authority of Sweden is called Spelinspektionen
  • The Authority is subordinate to the Finance Ministry and has around 65 employees
  • Spelinspektionen is well known for reacting to law infringement with high penalties
  • Currently there is on estimate a manageable double digit number of licence providers

The official gambling authority in Sweden is called Spelinspektionen and has its registered office in Strängnäs. The authority oversees the gambling and lottery market and advises and supports the Swedish government. According to its own info, at the moment there are 65 persons working for the Swedish Gambling Authority. Here, among others, the competence areas of law, economy and IT are encompassed. The Swedish Gambling Authority comprises three sections: the operational department, which handles the licensing and the complaints management, the department for business support and the department for communication. The Swedish Gambling Authority has introduced, a voluntary blocking system for all kinds of gambling.

The authority should mainly ensure, that the risk of social damages through gambling are reduced. Besides, the authorities should make sure, that the illegal offer is reduced and it should simultaneously work on a secure gambling market. Currently the costs of receiving a gambling licence from the authority amount to around 400.000 Swedish Crone (= ca. 38.000 Euro). The extension of such a license costs a further 300,000 Swedish Crone (= around 29,000 Euro).The Swedish gambling authority Spelinspektionen has here not determined a maximum number of licences, so that every provider, which meets the requirements, will receive permission. However, the licence holders must pay a comparatively high tax amounting to 18% of their gross income. Currently, according to our information, there is only a low two digit number of licences, which were allocated. The higher-ranking Authority is the Swedish Finance Ministry. 

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Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling (DGOJ)

Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling (DGOJ) Country flag Spain
  • DGOJ is the official gambling authority of Spain
  • The authority is entrusted with the approval, monitoring and sanctioning of gambling activities
  • Several requirements must be met to gain a Spanish gambling licence

In 2011, a new Gambling Law was introduced in Spain. Since then, the Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling (DGOJ) is the responsible Gambling Authority in the country. This General Direction is not only responsible for the land-based gambling sector, but also for the online gambling branch. It is an institution of the Ministry for Consumer Affairs. Among its core duties, we find the regulation, approval, supervision, monitoring and also sanctioning of gambling activities.

The Authority distributes general licences with a validity of 10 years, as long as the strict requirements are met by the licensees. There is no limit on the number of gambling licences. The applicant must among other things, show proof of having a share capital of at least 100,000 Euro, and must also fulfil several technical requirements. After an application is filed, the DGOJ needs up to six months to examine all the documents. In all there has been only a low three digit number of gambling licences issued by the Spanish Gambling Authority. The Spanish gambling licence has nearly no relevance for players from German speaking countries.

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Spillemyndigheden Country flag Denmark
  • Danish Gambling Authority Spillemyndigheden is especially strict
  • Spillemyndigheden has in the past blocked several illegal gambling sites
  • In Denmark, any provider which fulfils the requirements, can apply for a licence (no limit)
  • Gambling companies must here pay comparatively high tax rates

Die Spillemyndigheden is the official gambling authority, which has its headquarters in Odense. It is responsible for regulating the whole gambling market, and it should ensure, that the gamblers are protected from unfair and illegal gambling. Further to this, the Spillemyndigheden blocks active illegal gambling sites from abroad. In March 2021 it became known, that the Danish Authority had again blocked over 50 foreign online casinos. Gambling licences in Denmark have only been issued to private providers since 2012. In the course of time, the Danish Gambling Authority has again and again intensified its specifications and measures of player protection. 

The Danish Gambling licence is basically valid for five years. Licensees must pay an additional 28% of their gross yearly income to the Danish Finance Authority, besides the 20% normal tax rate. Besides this, the gambling providers can expect to pay a licence fee of between 7400 and 220,000 USD. The Spillemyndigheden is one of the strictest regulatory authorities in Europe. For this reason, since some years, there is the players’ register ROFUS. According to their own information, there are currently a total of 120 employees working for the Danish Gambling Authority. 

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Finally, we can conclude that there is currently a wide variety of casino licences available. Unfortunately, not all licences are equally suitable for players from German-speaking countries. Before registering, it is important to check whether the casino has a licence, whether the licence is valid and from which authority it was issued. Currently, the EU licence from Malta, the Caribbean licence from Curacao and, from the summer of 2021, the German licence are the most popular on the German online gambling market. These three licences are all basically secure. We do of course try to check all online casinos and gaming rooms to the best of our knowledge, so that we can only recommend those with a valid licence.

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