Since the advent of online casinos in the late 1990s, some, mostly small states have specialised in the licensing of online casinos. For example, it was possible for an Englishman to play in an online casino licensed in Curacao.
In the meantime, however, a whole series of countries have switched over to granting national gaming licenses for online casinos. In Denmark, for example, online casinos are only legal if they have a Danish gambling licence. The same applies to Online Casinos in Great Britain. German lawmakers have not yet brought about uniform legislation that complies with EU law. This means that casinos with a non-German license are also tolerated in this country. For as long as there is no effective law, the German authorities are not allowed to prosecute either players or casino operators.
Basically one can distinguish between two groups with regard to the game licenses: First of all, there are licenses from non-EU countries. And then there are licenses from EU countries. Let’s look at these two types of licenses in detail.
When the first online casinos sought licenses, it was smaller countries outside the EU that actively offered licenses for online casinos. The reason was simple. With a license fee good money could be earned and casinos could usually acquire this license relatively uncomplicatedly. Countries of the first hour are mainly Gibraltar and Curacao. Gibraltar – located in the south of Spain – is actually part of Great Britain, but has its own special tax rights. They took advantage of this and have been granting casino licenses for many years. The Gibraltar gaming authority grants licences if certain conditions are met, especially with regard to deposit and withdrawal security as well as player protection. Due to tax advantages many online casinos have their headquarters in Gibraltar. The Caribbean island of Curacao, which actually belongs to Holland, was the first country that began to grant gaming licenses for online casinos as early as 1996. Many online casinos still operate with a gambling licence from the Caribbean island.
Gibraltar and Curacao are regarded as pioneers of online gaming licensing. Therefore, many casinos have these two licenses. In general, it is cheaper and slightly easier for casinos to obtain a license from Curacao or Gibraltar. Therefore, these two licenses are still very popular. However, it should be noted that both licences are subject to strict conditions, although they are not as rigorous as EU licences.
Online casinos with EU license
Due to the boom in the online gaming industry, more and more EU countries have noticed that taxes on online gaming are lost when profits are taxed outside their own country in countries such as Gibraltar or Curacao. For several years now, there has been increasing regulation of online gambling in the European Union. Casinos with a EU licence ore for example the 888Casino or Dunder, Casumo or Casino.com. A complete list of all sites you can find here.
As already mentioned, many EU countries, including Holland, Denmark and the UK, have fully regulated the gambling market. This means that casinos operating without a state gambling license are de facto illegal. For this reason, many casinos have withdrawn from their respective markets without the appropriate license. In other countries, including Germany, EU casinos are still legal or at least tolerated. For as long as Germany does not offer effective regulation under EU law, the principle of freedom to provide services within the EU applies. This means that a casino with a licence from Malta may not simply be prohibited from offering its services in Germany.
Malta – the pioneer within the EU
The pioneer in the field of EU licences was the island of Malta. Similar to Gibraltar and Curacao, casino licenses were issued long before EU accession. However, with Malta’s accession to the EU, access to these licences has also been greatly increased and it is now quite difficult to obtain a Maltese licence.
Another popular license that speaks for the seriousness of a casino is the casino license from Great Britain. The British Gambling Commission is known for demanding very high standards from online casinos. The Authority shall rigorously examine all applications for seriousness. A British license is therefore very difficult to obtain, especially for small and new casinos.