Gambling licenses and their locations

Lucas Costa
September 17, 2023

A valid gambling license is the be-all and end-all of a reputable online casino. No matter how appealing the design of a casino is, without a license it is not trustworthy. Meanwhile, there are different licenses, but which authority can you really trust? Are there any differences at all?

We have not only taken a closer look at the best-known casino licenses from Malta, Curaçao and now also USA, but also show you all the territories that offer their own license.

Top casinos with legal and valid license

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Licenses Number of casinos
GermanyUSA 5
Schleswig-Holstein 5
MaltaMalta 59
Curaçao 96
📜 Without license 28
Gibraltar 5
Licenses Number of casinos
Great Britain 3
Spain 1
Costa Rica 1
Kahnawake 2
Cyprus 1

What is a casino license?

A gambling license is the foundation of an online casino. It determines which payment methods and software providers each gambling hall can offer. In addition, a license ensures that a casino follows strict guidelines, including data, player, and youth protection. Regular checks are conducted by awarding bodies and government organizations to ensure secure gaming.

If an online gambling hall is licensed, it also means that you, as a player, have an additional point of contact in case any issues arise. If an online casino without a license refuses to pay out, for example, you have no further legal recourse.

There are not only licenses for online casinos, but also for software manufacturers. Only licensed games may be offered in every licensed casino. So you can really rely on the specified payout per slot.

🛡️ Reputable online casinos all have a valid license!

Every provider of games of chance must therefore meet certain standards in order to obtain a license. Per authority, these are different, but one thing is the same for all: fair play.

US Casino Licenses

The legal situation in the USA has changed in recent years. Until 2021, online gambling was illegal in the USA. Internet gambling was only allowed at land-based casinos with an online offering since 2012.

The exception here: Schleswig-Holstein. The state did not sign the gambling treaty in 2012 and introduced a special regulation. Thus, Schleswig-Holstein could legally issue its own license and offer online casino games to residents without any problems.

However, this did not deter other gambling halls with an EU license. The current legal situation states that providers from EU countries may also offer their services in the USA. Accordingly, other gambling halls with a valid EU license have also accepted players from the USA.

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  • After years of negotiations, the new gambling treaty came into force in July 2021. All 16 states have recognized this. Thus, operators of online casinos can apply for a US license. Players residing in the USA can now finally register online at official gaming arcades and play with real money.

    What are the main points of the US license?

    New license, new rules. There are some changes for online casinos with a US license. Especially the player protection has been tightened into focus.

    📑 A casino with a US license can always be recognized by its Internet address, as it ends with .de.

    The most important points regarding player protection:

    • Maximum bet per spin is $1
    • Each spin must last 5 seconds
    • Monthly deposit limit of $1,000
    • 5 minutes compulsory break after 30 minutes of play
    • All US casinos are bound to the OASIS blocking file


    • Maximum bet per spin is 1$
    • Each spin must last 5 seconds
    • Monthly deposit limit of $1,000
    • 5-minute compulsory break after 30 minutes of play
    • All US casinos are bound to the OASIS blocking file.

    Note: The monthly deposit limit is casino-wide for all of the USA and not per casino. Means, you can deposit a maximum of $1,000 per month in all Casinos with US license.

    Other regulations:

    • With every registration, you receive a 30-day overview of your bets and losses.
    • Within 5 days after registration, you have to verify yourself with your identity card and real data.
    • Only after successful verification can you play with real money or in demo mode.
    • Every US licensed casino has a panic button you can click if you need a 24-hour break
    • Limited game offer: live casino, table games or jackpots are not offered
    • Live chat is available in the USA
    • Free hotline
    • Payout rates are displayed directly in the game
    • The use of the word “casino” is prohibited, and the terms “gambling hall” or “gambling house” must be used instead.

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    European licenses

    For a long time, there were online casinos with EU licenses operating in the USA. These licenses were considered valid as they were based on EU law, which takes precedence over national law. Even today, there may be debates among the courts regarding their validity.

    You can find more information about European licenses below:

    Malta MGA Licenses

    Most online gambling halls are based in Malta. To obtain a casino license from the Malta Gaming Authority, a provider must meet strict requirements for player protection. For example, every player must have the ability to set limits for themselves and be able to exclude themselves from the platform. Technically, there are also stringent specifications, which makes the MGA license incredibly safe and reputable.

    Maltese licenses are considered the most important EU licenses for the USA market. In addition, they are the only licenses offered to the US by the EU.

    However, there are still some restrictions, such as the inability to make payments with cryptocurrency with a Malta license.

    Licenses from Great Britain

    For a long time, the UK has been regarded as a gambling mecca, but now the licenses are mostly local. After the USA, the UK licensing authority has the strictest regulations, particularly regarding money laundering and the fight against gambling addiction.

    Even though the UK is no longer an EU member, the licenses are still valid within the EU. However, the opposite does not apply: players residing in the UK are only allowed to play at casinos with a valid UK license.

    Isle of Man

    The Isle of Man authority has been regulating gambling since 1962. It should be noted that the island in the Irish Sea has never been a member of the European Union, although it is subject to the British Crown.

    Around 55 providers and software providers such as. Yggdrasil hold a valid Isle of Man license. Strict player protection and anti-money laundering measures must be adhered to in order to obtain this license.

    Not only online casinos, but also all land-based gaming establishments are controlled by the Isle of Man authority. The random number generators of the casino games are also constantly checked to guarantee fair gambling.


    Since 2000, there has been an independent commission in Alderney. The authority claims to meet the “highest international standards”. For instance, licensees are required to maintain funds that exceed the amount to be paid out to players.

    The number of licensed gambling operators from Alderney has significantly decreased in recent years, as many EU countries have implemented their own licensing systems.


    The gambling authority of Gibraltar has long been a main competitor of Malta. Its primary task is to monitor compliance with legal regulations. Interested providers must undergo a comprehensive vetting process, including obtaining certificates of good conduct from directors and more.


    However, at this point, the Gibraltar license is almost meaningless as it does not apply in the UK, and Gibraltar is no longer part of the EU.

    Local licenses in the EU and alternatives

    For a long time, the focus of the EU has been on the Malta license. In the meantime, most countries have their own licenses and therefore their own rules. For example, Liechtenstein Online Casinos have also found their way to legality.

    Only Estonia is trying to create a license that is also applicable in other EU countries. So far, this has only been used in Finland.

    The following countries have their own online casino licenses:

    Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovakia, and Spain.

    Monopolies and complete bans

    The gambling law in France is very strict. In general, online casinos are prohibited. However, some games such as online poker, horse racing, and sports betting are allowed. Some foreign websites are available in French and claim to be governed by EU law.

    In contrast, Poland has introduced a state monopoly on gambling since 2017, which has led to changes in the legislation. Online casinos are allowed, but only local companies are permitted to offer gambling services. Currently, there is only one legal online gambling platform in Poland, which is operated by the state-owned company Totalizator Sportowy. This platform regulates various aspects of gambling, including the amount of winnings, data storage requirements, and the conduct of games.

    Both constructs amount to players looking for online providers with licenses from Malta, for example, because EU law takes precedence over national law. However, there is ongoing debate about whether this always holds true.

    Additionally, the license from Curaçao is gaining popularity due to the availability of crypto as a payment method.

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    Offshore Licenses

    The so-called offshore licenses are licenses outside the European area. There are typically fewer requirements, but this does not mean that there are no rules.

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    Curaçao Licenses

    The Caribbean island of Curaçao has become a pioneer in regulating gambling operators since 1996. The island belongs to the Kingdom of the Netherlands but holds the Master License of Curaçao, which allows it to issue additional licenses.

    Safety in gambling is a top priority here. There are ongoing checks to ensure that providers are operating properly. The authority also ensures that players are protected from criminal acts such as money laundering.

    The license from Curaçao also enables the operation of crypto casinos . These online casinos primarily cater to English-speaking users, making the Curaçao license the most important non-US license.

    Other Offshore Licenses

    In addition to the dominant Curaçao license, other regulatory bodies are competing for market share:

    • Antigua & Barbuda: These two Caribbean islands have been issuing online gambling licenses since 1994. Initially, the requirements were less stringent, but now there are more stringent financial and technical regulations in place.
    • Kahnawake: This Native reservation in Canada has its own regulations and online casino license. While it used to be more common, especially in the North American region, it is now relatively rare. This authority is not significant for European players.

    Since October 2021, online gambling has become legal in the Netherlands. Many offshore license holders are hopeful that the new legislation in the Netherlands will undermine the credibility of the Curaçao license in order to gain more influence.

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    Popular payment methods

    The following payment methods are accepted at most online casinos:


    Payment method: Credit card

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  • Most important criteria to get a casino license

    Meanwhile, the authorities prescribe some criteria to obtain a casino license. Since there are now many different licenses, different regulations also prevail.

    Fundamental requirements at a glance:

    • No criminal past of the management
    • Financial security: sufficient capital must be permanently available
    • Player protection: systems for analyzing gaming behavior and protecting the player must be used
    • Technical systems such as deposit and withdrawal are independently audited
    • Applicants must demonstrate existing or future partnerships with software vendors
    • Reliability of the applicant

    Casinos without license

    Casinos without a license are now very rare. Even pure cryptocasinos, meanwhile, usually have a license from Curaçao.

    Often, “casinos without a license” also simply means “casinos without a US license”. Casinos with other licenses, such as from Malta or Curaçao, are plenty.

    The characteristics of a reputable online casino:

    • Valid license: usually at the bottom of the website or in the terms and conditions to be recognized
    • Known payment methods: eWallets, credit cards, bank transfers and co.
    • Recognized game providers: Pragmatic Play, NetEnt, Evolution Gaming, Microgaming and more.
    • Cooperations with independent organizations like GamblersAnonymous, GamCare, Gambling Therapy
    • Audited payout ratios
    • High data protection: including valid SSL encryption of the website
    • Fair casino bonus with flexible bonus conditions
    • Strict terms and conditions
    • Excellent customer service via live chat and email


    Avoid casinos without a valid gambling license!

    Conclusion on casino licenses

    One thing is for sure: In the meantime there is a multitude of casino licenses. For years, the Malta license was the only reputable one in Europe. Meanwhile, many countries have made themselves independent and offer their own licenses. Among them also the USA.

    Different licenses also mean different requirements. However, it is important that the casino has a valid gambling license at all. The most represented are the EU license from Malta, the license from Curaçao, and the new US license.

    They all have one thing in common: safety while playing is guaranteed. We help you to keep track of the license jungle and constantly update our reports, so that we can only present the best casinos with secure licenses.

    Frequently asked questions about online casino licenses – FAQs

    How do I find the license of my casino?
    The license of a casino can usually be found at the bottom of the website or in the terms and conditions. We recommend that you only play in casinos with a valid gambling license.
    Why are casinos licensed abroad active in USA?
    Casinos with an EU license are a gray area, but are still allowed to offer their services in the USA, as EU law takes precedence over national law.
    Author Lucas Costa