The Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA) made headlines recently when it rebranded and changed its name to Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). Although seemingly minor, the agency felt the need to better clarify what they do and where there are. Considering that legislation has been continually changing as and there are a number of regulating agencies, it makes sense for them to take this step. With that said, though, the average online casino member may not be familiar with the differing regulatory agencies, as well as what groups each one serves and what they do. If you’ve ever been curious as to who’s looking out for your interests while you’re hitting the slots, this summary should help clarify. What Gambling Regulatory Agencies Do The answer to what regulatory agencies do will vary based on who you ask and which particular agency you’re referring to. They verify that companies provide fair gaming opportunities, that they offer some measure of protection for problem gamblers, and they may also verify that other safeguards are in place. Obviously, some have more stringent requirements than others, which means that companies who obtain licensure from them are more reliable and trustworthy. Jurisdictions Each region will have its own laws and will therefore likely have its own regulating agency. For instance, individual states in America are in the process of regulating online gambling with their own unique laws. Individual countries also often require local licensure for operators who want to accept players from their country. There are also some countries which have very lax laws and only require licensure if the company has a physical presence within their borders. The UK used to be this way, but they updated their laws in 2014, so that any casino serving their citizens, or even advertising to them, needed approval from the UK Gambling Commission How Companies Choose In some situations, casino operators and software firms choose an agency because it’s required if they want to do business within the country. Other times, they may choose to obtain licensure through an agency based on tax rates. Many companies left the UK in 2005 and chose an offshore place for headquarters to avoid high taxes. Of course, that doesn’t help them much now, but they may still benefit from reduced taxes compared to other regions. A final deciding factor in choosing licensure is reputation. Obviously, an operator or developer will be better-received by the general public if they’re licensed from an entity with strict regulations. It’s worth noting that a company may be licensed through numerous agencies or they may have no licensure at all. Gambling Regulating Agencies As a player, you should be verifying that each casino you wish to play at is licensed through one of the more stringent venues. As noted earlier, individual countries may have an agency, too, so if you’re in a region which requires local licensing, it’s a good idea to double check your desired casino has it. A few of the most trusted agencies are detailed below. Alderney - The Alderney Gambling Control Commission is one of the most respected of them all. Although they have strict regulations in regard to safeguards for players, they also allow casinos to accept bets from anywhere. Of course, you shouldn’t do it if it’s illegal in your country, but, in theory, you could find a casino regulated by Alderney and feel fairly secure that the agency is trustworthy. Curacao - The Curaco eGaming License is popular amongst casinos that offer “boxed” or “canned” casinos. These casinos are premade by a large firm, in a cookie cutter fashion, and they often seek out Curacao for their inexpensive sub-licensing opportunities, as well as minimal market restrictions. They’ve been regulating since 2006, but were recognized as the Netherlands/ Antilles authority until 2010. Gibraltar - The Gibraltar Regulatory Authority has been active since 2008. They might be the strictest agency of all and will only license those who have a proven track record and who agree to follow all their rules. Isle of Man - The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission is also a highly-reputable agency. They ensure fair and safe play, but they also do a lot to support businesses and entice companies to start up there. On top of that, they offer low taxes, which makes them one of the preferred ones among casino owners. Malta - The Malta Gaming Authority has incredibly strict guidelines. Casinos with licenses from Malta must verify their players are of age and can legally bet in their country. They also require casinos to keep cash on hand and separate, to cover the full amount held in each player’s account. Unlike the others, they don’t offer huge tax breaks or anything, just strong guidelines and reputation. Again, there are other regulating agencies that ensure safety, as well as fair play. For example, the UK has their own, which also has strict guidelines, but you’ll only find it on casinos who operate in the UK. Nowadays, some casinos have opened up UK-only websites, so their license will be the only one you see, even if the company previously catered to global customers using a different license. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the casino lost reputation by only having a UK license now. To know if a casino is reputable, it’s wise to verify they’re either registered with your home country or one of those listed above. Additionally, you may wish to verify they have a good reputation among casino-goers, by looking for their name in the pages of a site like Bonus Paradise.