The maturing of online gaming has led to big shifts in regulations. After the first shift from Curacao and Costa Rica to more reputable licenses from Malta (MGA) and the United Kingdom (UKGC), online casinos now shift to local and regional licenses.
The most obvious example is the rise in the United States, where each state could have its own license. Canada’s provinces follow that example, with Ontario’s new license as the first and most recent example. In Europe, too, numerous countries have introduced their own license.
In the world of online casino licenses, some local licenses are noteworthy and could lead the way to a new mosaic of regulations. Below, some of the most important licenses are listed.
The Netherlands had a booming igaming market for over ten years, before the country introduced legal online gambling and betting. The Dutch were remarkably eager to play well before it was legal, a market that was mirrored best in Canadian Ontario.
Internationally, the Dutch license is best known for its stringent rules regarding the protection of vulnerable players. Players have to be verified against a nation-wide register (Cruks) which includes land-based casinos, players under 24 years can’t claim any bonuses, and the administration passed a law banning any form of (untargeted) gambling advertising starting in 2023. The Netherlands is phasing out these ads in the next few years. Visit the OnlineCasinoGround.nl website for more information.
South of the Netherlands, Belgium has had its own license for numerous years. Rather than opening up the market, Belgium has opted to grant one online license per existing casino license, capping the total at nine.
Belgium’s unique approach to protecting players has resulted in a ban on advertising materials, the suspension of (welcome) bonuses, and a monthly cap on players deposits in casinos. Another characteristic of the Belgian market is the presence of dice games, a remnant of a time where slots could only be made with dice.
As the last country in that corner of the world, Germany will introduce its own license in 2023. Much like many other countries, the Germans have seen significant traffic to online casinos, but have lacked their own license. Starting on January 1, 2023, this gap will have been filled.
Germany’s license includes a € 1 stake limit on slots, capping the maximum amount players can bet in each round.
Ontario, the biggest Canadian province in online betting (and many other regards) introduced its own license on April 4, 2022. Here, too, international online casinos could offer their services without too much risk of getting prosecuted, creating a steady market well before legalization. In efforts to curb problem gambling, players find that any autoplay or turbo play features are banned.
The United States is the promised land of online gambling. In most states, igaming is still not legal, but the winds of change are blowing here, too. Most states are in the process of legalizing (forms of) online gaming, although only a handful of states currently allow online casinos: Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and West Virginia.
Historically, New Jersey has been one of the two major gambling cities in the USA. It also broke the barrier for new legislation after signing its license into law. As the first of all states, it legalized poker, sports betting, and online casinos. To self-exclude from physica casinos, players must visit one of two locations. Self-exclusion from online casinos can be done online.
Pennsylvania also offers poker, online casinos, and online sports betting. Mirroring the Belgian cap on casinos, only twelve online casinos can obtain a license, as each online license must be tied to a physical license.
Michigan already had a lively casino market, which has now extended online. The most notable difference between online and physical play is the age limit – a brick-and-mortar casino can welcome players 18 and older, but online gaming has a limit for players 21 and older.
West Virginia was one of the states to push to legalize online gambling. With a casino owner as governor, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the law was passed (although the governor wisely stayed out of it). In this state, too, the number of online casinos is tied to physical casinos. Each of the five casinos will receive three licenses in total.