What is a casino license?
An online casino license is a certification that allows an operator to offer their gaming product to players.
The casino will have gone through an application process to obtain the license, and they will also have paid a fee for applying and obtaining the license.
During this process, they are reviewed to make sure that they are suitable to receive a license. Some of the criteria they have to meet are:
The importance of a license
A license is essential, both for the casino and for us players. Imagine that you are about to drink a soft drink, but the can is missing any information, and you have no idea where the drink comes from.
Would you drink it anyway?
Maybe you would, but doing so will put you at risk of consuming something potentially harmful!
The same goes for casinos. The license is the stamp of approval, the “list of ingredients,” that ensures that you know what you are getting yourself into.
India’s Tax Law on Gambling Winnings
The taxation situation of gambling is something that plenty of Indian players find a bit scary.
How can I play legally without making it look like I’m trying to avoid paying tax?
The answer is easier than you might think; play at internationally licensed casinos!
Players in India who engage in any form of gambling, are susceptible to a 30% tax. When gambling at casinos based outside of India, the casino will withhold a tax of 30% from your winnings.
In other words, you won’t have to think about it; the casino takes care of it for you.
Can a casino operate without a license?
There is a small number of casino online operators who don’t operate under any gaming license. Some are operating from Costa Rica, but you can find these all over the world, even in India.
These kinds of casinos are known as illegal casinos, as they are not operating under any specific gambling laws.
We strongly discourage you from playing at these casinos, as you and your investments are greatly exposed if you do.
You might lose your deposits and winnings, and you will also not for sure know if your personal and financial details are kept secure.
Licensed casinos vs. Regulated casinos
When it comes to the licenses required to operate as a casino, there are two different types: international and local. Which one applies to the casino depends on where they plan to operate.
Countries that want or need more control over the gambling market often decide to regulate it, allowing operators to apply for a license to operate there. Sweden, Spain, France, Italy, Belgium, the UK, etc., are all regulated markets.
Other countries such as Malta, India, Japan, Chile, Peru, etc., are unregulated, allowing any casino with a broader, international license to offer their games to players in that country.
International gambling licenses
The licenses that give a real money casino the most freedom when it comes to expansion is the international one.
With it, casinos can offer their website to loads of unregulated countries, often only needing to provide language support and suitable payment options for the country in question.
The Maltese gambling license (MGA) is one of the best international licenses for gambling available.
Hundreds of online casinos and sports betting sites are operating under this license, as it allows them to operate in a large number of countries that aren’t regulated.
Although the license is so diverse, it does still come with strict rules when it comes to responsible gambling and anti-money laundering. Since it is so strict, this license is considered one of the best signs of a good, trustworthy online casino.
Coming in as second on the list of the most popular international licenses is the one issued in Curacao. This license is cheaper and easier to obtain, which makes it attractive to smaller operators.
The license is one of the oldest in the world, making it very reliable and trustworthy. You will find several Indian online casinos operating under a Curacao license.
On the down-side, the Curacao gaming commission is not that involved in assisting players during disputes. This means that you’ll have to use a third-party company, should you run into problems while you gamble. The casinos listed here at SevenJackpots should, however, not give you any trouble.
The Panama-license has been available to operators since 2002. The primary reason for gambling sites to operate under this license is due to the tax exemption. In other words, online casinos using it won’t have to pay any tax.
Due to its close relation to the USA, casinos with a Panama license are often mainly focused on the American market.
Antigua and Barbuda
Yet another US-focused licensing body is the Directorate of Offshore Gaming in Antigua and Barbuda.
They have been issuing gambling licenses since 1994, and the country is well known for hosting gambling events, poker in particular.
Their license is easy and cheap to obtain and allows operators to offer their gambling products internationally while paying a low tax. Antigua and Barbuda are in a Memorandum of Understanding with the Kahnawake Gaming Commission.
The Kahnawake Gaming Commission is a regulator located in Canada. Just like the Caribbean regulators, licenses, or “permits” as they are called, are affordable, and there’s no corporate tax rate either.
Kahnawake was up until 2016 issuing permits to casinos who accept US players, which made them prominent on the complex US online gambling market.
Yet another established and trustworthy license is the one issued in Gibraltar. Well-known online casinos such as 888 casino use this license. The license requires that the operator is based and works from Gibraltar. The process of obtaining it requires a 6-month application process.
Gambling sites under this license will also have it clearly stated what type of games and how many generic games that they are allowed to offer.
Regulated gambling licenses
The opposite of international licenses is the regulated ones. Some countries want to regulate gambling within their borders further by regulating the market.
This way, the government or relevant authority can create a gaming landscape that better fits the country.
It also means that, although the operator is not physically located in the country, they will still have to pay tax there.
Only players who live in a regulated country or state can open an account and play from there on the licensed website.
Although this sounds complicated, it gives a lot more protection to players.
Sweden had a gambling monopoly up until 2019, after which the country moved over to being a regulated market. For an online casino to operate here, they need to apply for a Swedish gambling license.
The license can be obtained from the Swedish Gambling Authority, Spelinspektionen.
The regulation requires a national self-exclusion program, responsible gambling buttons being visible on all site pages, no fast-play on slots, no VIP or loyalty, and only one bonus per player per license holder.
Denmark regulated the online casino market in 2017, and to operate in the country, a license has to be provided by the Danish Gambling Authority, Spillemyndigheten. One license is required for casino games and one for sports betting.
Players can nationally self-exclude through the Register of Voluntarily Excluded Players (“ROFUS”).
The Italian gambling market is regulated by the ADM (Agency of Customs and Monopoly), and online gambling sites have been able to obtain a license since 2018.
A regulatory requirement is that all players should be able to self-exclude themselves, and set various responsible gambling limits.
The UKGC (United Kingdom Gambling Commission) is responsible for the licensing and regulation of casinos in the UK. There’s a significant focus on responsible gambling and honest advertising in the UK.
For players, this means that offers and promotions will have long terms and conditions to ensure transparency and honesty from the operator.
Lottery remains under monopoly, which means that no online casino can offer lottery, or allow players to obtain lottery tickets to the National Lottery.
Conclusion: Which license is best for Indian casinos?
Is there a license that is better for Indian players than others? We would like to think so. When we look at customer protection and responsible gambling, the license from Malta takes home the prize.
However, both Curacao and Gibraltar are both very well-established and experienced regulators, used by some of the largest operators in the world.
The casinos that we review and rate here at SevenJackpots have all passed our rigorous testing, and those that end up on top are part of these licenses.
If we recommend a gambling site, we have good reason to do so, regardless of the license.