When selecting an online casino, it’s crucially important that you check it has a valid iGaming license from a credible authority. All of our recommended sites have one from either the UK Gambling Commission or the Malta Gaming Authority. These are the two iGaming regulators with the most credibility, and their licenses virtually guarantee that the operator behind the casino site is legitimate and fair.

This brief introduction to casino licenses will explain more about these two regulators and what regulations their license holders must abide by.


The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC)

The UK Gambling Commission was established in the 2005 Gambling Act. It fully replaced the Gaming Board for Great Britain in 2007, assuming all of its predecessor’s powers. The UKGC is widely regarded as the most credible iGaming regulator. All casinos offering services to UK players should have a UKGC license. Once a license has been obtained, the operator must constantly comply with UKGC regulations to protect vulnerable players, prevent crime, and play fair.

You can learn more about the standard of a UK gaming license in our UKGC review.


The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA)

Another highly credible iGaming regulator is the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). It pre-dates the UKGC by several years since it was established back in 2001. This early mover advantage turned the island of Malta into one of the most prosperous iGaming hubs in the world.

A license from the MGA indicates that the operator is safe, fair, and complies with important regulations such as anti-money laundering laws. MGA license holders have to comply with constantly updated regulations which started under the Lotteries and Other Games Act in 2001.

To learn more about a Malta Gaming Authority license and what operators must do to get one, read our MGA license review.


General Questions About Casino Licences

Why is a casino gaming license important?

From an operator’s point of view, having a license from one of these two authorities bestows credibility upon them. It means that they’ve gone to the effort to comply with the laws of a state that specializes in online casino gaming. Both the UK and EU (of which Malta is a part) are known for operating on law and order, so a license from either of these is highly credible.

From a player’s point of view, it means the casino site is not a scam operation and that you can trust it. This is essential in any online casino you play at.


Which license is more credible? The UKGC or the MGA?

It’s close, but we would say that the UK Gambling Commission is a little stricter when it comes to certain elements. For example, UK players can’t play free casino games until they have verified their age. The UKGC has also taken on and fined some of the biggest names in the gambling business.

This is not to discredit the Malta license at all. It’s the number one license to hold for operator’s targeting the European online gambling market. Operators will still have to comply with an array of laws to prevent crime, protect players, and provide a secure gaming experience for all.


If I’m an operator, what do I have to do to get these licences?

We’ve gone into more detail about what operators have to do to obtain UKGC or MGA iGaming licences in the reviews above. Please click the links to the reviews to learn much more about this.