Licensed vs Unlicensed – a Guide to Online Casinos

Photo of author

( — March 26, 2020) — You may have seen it on a website tagline, showing as a feature, or when you’ve been poking around on the about pages and found a license number. But what are the differences between these, and how can you find out if you’re gambling online safely? 

The differences are quite simple, but the impacts of these differences cannot be understated. Simply put, a licensed online casino is one that follows regulations set out by a governing body – in the UK for example that would be the UK Gov Gambling Commission. This governing body lays out a set of rules that the casinos must follow to protect you, as a consumer, as much as possible. The vast array of casinos outside of the UK, on the other hand, do not have to follow these same rules and operate purely to benefit themselves, rather than the consumers who use their platforms. So, we shall point out some of the differences that you’ll find.

  1. Licensed Online Casinos – One of the clear indicators that an online casino is licensed is the ability to look at the history of their odds of winning and the randomness at which it can occur. A licensed casino will have to prove they are using an unmodified Random Number Generator from an approved list – this means that as you gamble on anything random, be it slots or roulette for example, you are getting a true and accurate random factor to each spin or roll. You may feel like you’re on a bad streak of luck and can’t win anything, but with the governing body protecting you, as a consumer, you’ll at least know that it is fair.

This also applies to the software that is being used for certain games such as the slots – both for demo versions and online real-money variations. Software certificates must be prepared and issued for a licensed online casino to display online slot machines, this serves as a safeguard against odds being adjusted in favour of the casino. This also carries on to a compliance on a casino business plan to match with industry standards – ensuring the consumer receives a payout if they win, and ensuring the casino follows the strict standards set out.

  1. Unlicensed Online Casinos – As it would stand, anything you read about a licensed casino can be flipped for what you would expect for an unlicensed one. Without a governing body to regulate what they can and cannot do, the odds are heavily against you. The owners of these websites can often skew the randomness in their favour so it is almost impossible for anyone but themselves to win, and even if by luck a client were to win a huge jackpot they still may block any withdrawal of money from their site and instead offer free betting or online balance. As there is no protection for the consumer, there is no protection. It is in the best interest of the unlicensed casino to keep their money.

So, it’s very clear where you’d want to place your money – but how can you tell the difference between the two? Without having to dive too deep looking through pages of information, one simple way is to look at signup bonuses and offers. If a site is offering thousands of dollars just for registering or an unreasonable number of free spins on their slots, it’s probably too good to be true. For something a little more concrete, the easiest way to identify a licensed casino is to check their license number – this can be found on almost any page on the website, it may be in small print in the header or footer but can also often be found displayed  quite prominently on the “About Us” page. With this knowledge, make sure you gamble safely and responsibly, and always use a licensed casino that protects you and your money, and offers you fair odds.