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Gambing PhD: Guide to Online Casinos
GamblingPhD.com reviews the top 10 online gambling sites and provides rankings of online casinos. The purpose of GamblingPhD.com is to be inform online players, both beginners and professionals alike, about the various aspects of gambling online. We explain the different types of online casinos from fiat casinos to bitcoin gambling sites.
GamblingPhD.com also reviews online casino software companies such as Microgaming, NetEnt, Saucify, Realtime Gaming and others. We explain pertinent information about how casino bonus requirements work and our gambling blog keeps you informed with the latest online gaming news.
All of the casinos listed on GamblingPhD.com meet industry standards for online gaming fairness, casino licensing, welcome bonuses, player loyalty rewards programs and customer support professionalism. GamblingPhD.com only lists the top 10 gambling sites with trustworthy reputations and world class gaming operations.
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Choosing an Online Casino
There are several factors to consider when seeking out and choosing a reliable and trustworthy online casino to wager real money with. The two most important factors are casino software and online gambling regulation. Secondary considerations include player incentives, game offering and customer service. Gambling PhD provides more information about online gambling software, licensing of online casinos and gaming regulations below.
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Online Casino Software
The very first consideration is to research and confirm the reputation of the software platform that powers the online casino in question. More often than not, the casino operator will license white-label software from a developer. Said license gives the operator the ability to provide the casino games to its players. While the games themselves will be nearly identical in their playing experience at two different casinos licensing the same software platform, being that the software is white label, the games will be customized to fit the look the and feel of each individual casino.
Like casino operators, software platforms must also meet the requirements of gambling regulatory bodies in order for the software to be deemed legitimate. If a software platform does not hold an active license with an established regulatory body (see list further below), any casino using that platform should be avoided. Software regulatory certifications ensure that the software platform has a valid RNG (Random Number Generator) Certificate, which guarantees the software is inherently fair to begin with. RNG Certificates are issued by third-party testing houses, which in themselves should be verified. Fortunately, there are only a small number of globally recognized testing facilities as listed further below.
There are some cases in which an online casino may provide casino games on a proprietary software platform, such as 888 Casino. But this is the minority, and in fact, when it is determined that a casino is operating with proprietary software, it should be vetted even more diligently to confirm the software platform holds both an RNG and regulatory certification.
Accredited Testing Facilities
Gaming Labs International (GLI) – Having acquired Technical Systems Testing (TST Global), GLI is now the largest testing facility in the world (for both land-based and online casinos), a certification from GLI carries a lot of weight. In fact, many regulatory bodies adopt the standards used by GLI to test and review gaming systems. GLI’s RNG software certifications are as good as they come.
eCOGRA – eCommerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance, aka eCOGRA, holds a important role in the history of online gambling. Initially spearheaded by Microgaming software, the group began as an independent body whose primary goal was to raise self-regulatory standards and hold online casino operators accountable for greater transparency. eCOGRA has since grown by leaps and bounds, having helped the UK government launch regulations of their own, and is now an ISO certified testing house with several governments throughout the world. eCOGRA’s ongoing RNG certifications for multiple games and monthly payout audit reports can be viewed on any eCOGRA approved online casino, which in itself, should prodive a high vote of confidence to players.
Gaming Associates – GA is an internationally recognized Accredited Testing Facility, staffed by a team of highly respected information systems security professionals that have testified before government committees. GA consultants have been working in the online gambling industry since its very beginnings, and include one of the very first online gambling regulators and testers in the world. Certifications are available for software providers, operators and regulatory agencies. Both RNG and ongoing payout audit reports are part of GA’s certification services.
BMM – Yet another pioneer in gambling systems testing and accreditation, BMM was formed in 1981 and is considered the oldest independent gaming testing laboratory in the world. With an increasing presence in Las Vegas and North America, BMM provides testing for both land-based and online gambling systems, including Class III and Class II, Random Number Generator testing and Source Code Analysis.
iTech Labs – Specializing in online gambling systems, Australia-based iTech Labs is an ISO certified testing laboratory recognized for testing against standards of the leading online gambling regulatory bodies today, including UK Gambling Commission, Alderney Gambling Control Commission, Malta Lotteries and Gaming Authority, Kahnawake Gaming Commission, Gibraltar Regulatory Authority and more.
Licensing and Regulation
As mentioned above, the online casino operator should hold a separate regulatory license than that of the software platform. It is vastly important to confirm that not only is the operator properly licensed and regulated, but that it also holds credentials through a reputable regulatory body. In countries where online gambling is legalized and regulated, a gambling commission will be responsible for regulating licensed operators.
In England, for example, the UK Gambling Commission oversees the entire online gambling industry here, and is responsible for issuing all UK license holders. Operators licensed in other jurisdictions may still be deemed legitimate by a regulatory body overseeing a jurisdiction in which an offshore operator seeks to do business, but it is advised to confirm with one’s overriding regulatory body on the status of outside regulatory bodies. Again, the UK Gambling Commission published a regulatory body whitelist upon first being formed, but later redacted this list due to taxation policies.
For players residing in countries where online gambling is not regulated, it is important to only wager real money stakes at online casinos regulated by accredited and reputable offshore regulators. Please note, it a distinction must be made between a, online gambling licensing body and a regulatory commission. Several licensing bodies (primarily located in various Caribbean island nations) do exist. However, most of these agencies provide operator/business licenses, but do NOT provide ongoing regulation to ensure game results and payouts are fair.
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GamblingPhD.com's current list of approved regulatory jurisdictions (in addition to state-run gambling commissions, such as those in the US and countries not listed below) include:
UK Gambling Commission – The most well-known and widely referenced online gambling regulatory body in the world, the UK Gambling Commission has been instrumental in setting a global standard for online casino transparency. A comprehensive website provides readily available licensing documentation to players, while a FAQ section shares helpful information on how to navigate the online wagering Webscape. Alternate Dispute Resolution services are also freely provided.
Gibraltar Gambling Commission – With close ties to the United Kingdom and the UK Gambling Commission, the Gibraltar Gambling Commission provides licenses under the Gambling Act 2005, and is very selective of the operations licensed here. As of 2006, there were just over 30 active license holders – all required to be blue chip companies. While the Gibraltar Gambling Commission website is not as user-friendly as others, consumer advice is readily available, including a list of operators to avoid. Complaint Resolution Request forms are available through the Commission’s website as well.
Kahnawake Gaming Commission – One of the oldest online gambling regulatory commissions in the world, Kahnawake first issued regulations in 1999. Since this time, Kahnawake has worked hard to raise its own standards to that of an increasing number of government regulatory bodies, for example, choosing to change policy and exempt operators doing business with US players in light of meeting mandates by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. All Kahnawake licensed operators are required to host their servers at Mohawk Internet Technologies, which is a Kahnawake territory-based data center managed by Continent 8 Technologies.
Malta Gaming Authority – Under the Lotteries and Other Games Act, 2001, the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) oversees all remote gambling activities. Previously known as the Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA), the MGA is a popular destination for European gaming operators. Comprehensive lists of both licensed and suspended operators, European Economic Area licensees and authorized url’s are available on the MGA website.
Alderney Gambling Control Commission – Under the Alderney eGambling Ordinance 2009 and Alderney eGambling Regulations 2009, Alderney’s Gambling Control Commission issues Category 1 eGaming licenses meeting the highest regulatory standards in the world. The Commission’s website provides numerous resources for both operators and players alike, including a comprehensive legislative framework section with access to regulation documents, as well as a player disputes channel.
Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission – Established in 1962, the Gambling Supervision Commission began overseeing online wagering regulation in 2001 and has since become a Tier 1 destination for licensed operators. The Commission website provides a full list of gambling regulations, and a comprehensive section on player protections, including independent testing procedures, financial guarantees and player mediation.
Antigua and Barbuda Directorate of Offshore Gaming – Another longtime and established offshore regulator, the Antigua Division of Gaming is charged under the Antigua Financial Services Regulatory Commission, and has been issuing online gambling licenses since 1994. Seeking to uphold its reputation as a Tier 1 Jurisdiction, Antigua focuses efforts on money laundering prevention, player protection and industry enhancement. Overriding legislation is the Interactive Gaming and Interactive Wagering Regulations (last amended in 2001). There are not many active license holders in Antigua, but of them, several are well recognized brands. A player disputes channel is available through the Directorate’s website.
GambleRock - The Gambler's Community
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Online Gambling Resources and Help for Problem Gambling:
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