We’ve all heard the dangers of playing at unregulated online casinos. One of the first pieces of advice we are told as newcomers to the online gambling scene is that we should only stick to licensed and regulated online casinos.
But it’s not a simple black and white issue. Is it really such a terrible thing to play at unregulated online casinos? Let’s take a look.
What is an Unregulated Casino Exactly?
When we think of the word ‘unregulated’, the first thing that comes to mind is lawlessness, anarchy and fertile ground for cybercrime. But is it as bad as it sounds?
In reality, an unregulated online casino is one that operates from a jurisdiction that doesn’t provide it with a license and doesn’t oversee its operations. Most unregulated online casinos operate out of regions in the world where there are still question marks over the definition of igaming, or they have simply not addressed the matter in their legislative systems.
Many countries, or individual states within the US, have declared online gambling to be illegal. If their residents want to play online, they actually don’t have access to the legal or licensed online casinos. Their alternative would be to play at offshore casinos.
So What’s the Definition of a Regulated Online Casino?
When authorities want to frighten their citizens off from playing at offshore online casinos, they will use the word ‘unregulated’ as well. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that the online casino is not regulated in one way or another. It simply means that the online casino operates out of a jurisdiction such as Antigua or Costa Rica and not, say the UK or Malta where the regulations are much stricter. Many online casinos operate from these countries and pay authorities there license fees and taxes.
So Should You Avoid Unregulated Online Casinos Altogether?
The answer is not as clear-cut as you may think. We’re putting it out there that it’s obviously better to play at a licensed and regulated online casino, but not always necessary.
We asked the experts what they think.
Angie Harper from Flashcasino.org comments: "Playing at an unregulated casino holds extra risk compared to a regulated one, but in reality if you go with a well-known name with a proven track record you are going to be just as safe."
In other words: It’s better to stick to regulated online casinos, but in certain circumstances, you will be just as safe playing at an unregulated one.
Let’s take the example of Australia to make our point.
In 2017, the federal government made reforms to the Interactive Gaming Act. Under these laws, the government continues to prohibit online casinos, online slot machines, online poker, online instant lotteries and other wagering services provided online without a license issued by an Australian state or territory.
That doesn’t mean that Australians don’t play at online casinos. Millions of players from Down Under regularly access offshore casino sites that provide them with games and services. These online casinos allow them to pay in AU$ and to use easy Aussie-facing banking methods.
All these online casinos are deemed to be ‘unregulated’ by the Australian government. After all, under Australian laws, they aren’t operating under a license issued by Australian authorities. But are they really all ‘unregulated’? Not at all. In fact, many of them are licensed by some of the best-known jurisdictions in the world such as Gibraltar and the UK. The absurdity of the situation is that it may be considered a fair, secure and transparent online casino in one country, and illegal and unregulated in the next.
What’s the Bottom Line?
In our opinion, the bottom line is that you need to take a good look at the situation as a whole, before you decide to negate a site. Ask yourself who is declaring it ‘unregulated’ and what is its status in other countries.
Also, most importantly, ask yourself these questions:
- Who operates the online casino?
- Which software provider works with the online casino?
- Does the online casino have a good industry reputation?
- What are the reviews saying about the online casino?
If you can tell that the online casino is solid, has a good industry reputation and the backing of great operators and providers, it may not be such a bad thing to play at it – even if it is ‘unregulated’.