The Evolution of Online Casino Licensing

During the early 1990’s, the internet lead to the development of casino style games. This meant that you could now play casino games at the same time as wagering money online. Online Casino Licensing became very important for regulation of this new industry. Two very important functions were necessary for an online casino to operate.

The first thing is the gambing software for the casino. Microgaming claims they invented the first software in 1994.  However, it was not until 1995 that player support systems were added including player tracking systems and an e cash payment system. That was the second most important function. Gaming club was the name of the Microgaming website.

In parallel, another organization called Cryptologic Software launched the Intercasino website. Both were work in progress so it is not really possible for either to take credit for being the first online Casino. Advancement was neck and neck.

You might have expected existing Gambling Legislation to be modified to include online casinos. However that was not the case initially. It appears there might have been some forward planning within this new industry. Antigua and Barbuda set up the first online casino Licensing authority in the Caribbean during 1995. Maybe that is because the Internet does not belong to any one Country.

The growth of online gambling was massive, according to some reports it became a billion dollar industry within a few years.

It is not surprising that most online casino operators would want to build a good level of trust with their clients. Consequently, Casino Licensing was an excellent way to do that.

It is possible for a Gambling Company to obtain online casino Licenses in many countries where Gambling is Legal. An online casino might be registered as a business operation in that country. However most choose to operate out of offshore Jurisdictions. We suggest the reason for that maybe due lower taxation.

The main Jurisdictions where online casino Licenses can be obtained are outlined here, in no particular order.

Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda is a popular location to engage in offshore banking. They became the first country to issue licenses to online gambling companies back in 1994. So, at that time they were granting more licenses than any other authority in this new Industry.


In 1996, Belize was another country to move towards the licensing of online gambling organizations. They set up a special Licensing Board to approve applications and regulate those organizations.


Alderney in the Channel Islands is one of the most respected online gambling jurisdictions. They set up a Gaming Control Commission which had very strict rules and regulations for licensing. Alderney has licensed some of the most trusted Casinos. The AGCC has an excellent reputation in the Industry.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a very popular location for online casinos to operate. Legislation is reported to be on the light side. Costa Rica does not require online casino operators to have betting or gaming licenses. Consequently, we would not recommend you sign up with an online casino operating out of Costa Rica.


Formerly a Dutch Colony Curacao is now an independent country. The Government started issuing licenses for betting and gaming countries back in 1996 so, they were in at the beginning. As a result, they set up an e-Gaming Licensing Authority which issues a single license to cover all forms of gambling.


Bingo Operators became very drawn to Online Gaming Licenses issued by the Ministry of Finance and Cyprus.. The local laws only allow Licenses for fixed odds sports betting and lottery style games. The Cypriot Government would not grant a license to an online casino.


Gibraltar began issuing betting and gaming licenses back in 1998. The Gibraltarian Government has developed an excellent reputation for their strict regulations. Gibraltar is a well-respected place to be licensed and many of the most reputable online casinos are licensed in Gibraltar. An online Casino License obtained in Gibraltar carries a lot of Kudos. Consequently, Gibraltarian Licensing is the preferred choice for most reputable online casinos, many of them are licensed in Gibraltar.

Isle of Man

The Isle of Man has a well-established procedure for issuing betting and gaming licenses. They formed a Gambling and Supervision Commission to regulate it. Apparently they have a very strict regime.


Kahnawake is located in Canada, it is an Indian Reserve. They were one of the first online gambling jurisdictions to be set up in 1998. Kahnawake is located in Canada, it is an Indian Reserve. The Kahnawake Government has a good reputation,  consequently they operate a well respected system. They work with many of the other Gambling Licensing authorities around the world.


Malta has probably become the largest online gambling jurisdiction within the European Union. They accept Online Casino Licensing applications for all type of Gambling and they have a stringent reputation for dealing with applications and making inspections. The Maltese Authorites are highly respected regulators of the gambling industry.  So, a Maltese licensed  online casino will be a well-regulated organisation.


Panama introduced an Online Gaming Act to govern the licensing of online betting and gaming companies back in 2002. So, the Government also formed a Gaming Control Board to monitor the performance of licensed organizations.

Online Casino Licensing Conclusion

If you are a gambler, when you sign up to an online casino you accept their terms and conditions. Be aware that you will also be accepting the Licensing Regulations which control that organization. When an online casino is licensed in a strict jurisdiction you will be protected in terms of safety and security.

There are many rogue Gambling organizations; some of them appear on published blacklists. If you investigate that you will find that most of those organizations do not have the proper controls in place. That is because their online Casino Licensing does not require them to do so. We strongly advised you to check that carefully before you sign up. Most reputable online gambling organizations are licensed in places like, Malta, Gibraltar, The Isle of Man or Alderney in the Channel Islands.

Online Casino Licensing eCOGRA Testing and AuditingeCOGRA  are the most respected Auditing and Testing Authority, they audit and certify all the best casinos. If the online casino you choose has the eCOGRA stamp of approval you can be sure they are safe and fair.

In conclusion,  we recommend that you conduct some research before you sign up. If you need help read our online casino reviews where we showcase the most reputable online casinos for you.

Update: Recently the UK Government and the UK Gambling Commission required that all online casinos signing up UK players must have a UK Licence regardless of where they are based. Player protection for UK gamblers is now very high.

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