Understanding Canadian Gaming Licensing Authorities: An In-Depth Guide

Author Tom Wilson


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With over decades of experience in the iGaming industry, we care about transparency and fairness. If you ever have any issues, we also provide a free service for our users to submit complaints to casinos in order to keep them honest.

All of our recommended casinos are licensed meaning that they’ve received a license to offer e-gaming services from a gaming authority under a sovereign jurisdiction. Having a license from a gaming authority gives you the player the peace of mind that you are playing at a reputable site, one that has sufficient liquidity and won’t suddenly ‘go bust’ or stop withdrawals from player’s accounts..

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 The application process and requirements of gaming authorities ensure that you’re playing at a fair and transparent site, protecting you from crime, corruption, and money laundering.

See below a brief on the main gaming authorities which offer licences to our reviewed sites

Malta Gaming Authority

Malta Gaming Authority

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is based on the island of Malta and offers the following types of licenses:


  • Class 1: Remote gaming license e.g. casino type games and online lotteries. The class 1 license is the license which most of our recommended sites operating on a MGA license have
  • Class 2: Remote betting license based upon events from a matchbook i.e. online sports book.
  • Class 3: License to promote and/or bet remote gaming in or from Malta, examples of such a license are poker rooms and p2p gaming
  • Class 4: License to manage remote gaming operators, excluding the licensee itself, where the software providers provide management and hosting facilities.

Application Process

In order to receive a license the MGA has a rigorous five stage application process to determine that the applicant:

  1. Is fit and proper to conduct gaming business – The MGA conducts probity investigations into the business and individuals running the business seeking the license.
  2. Has a viable business strategy – The MGA conducts an audit of the applicant’s business plan to determine that they have a viable business plan
  3. Meets operational and statutory requirements – Legal, statutory and other operational requirements e.g. incorporation documents are checked. In addition at this stage Class 1 and Class 2 are required to retain a minimum share capital of 100,000 euros
  4. Has functioning technical environment – after the above steps the applicant has 60 days to complete a technical roll-out which must then be externally audited

Verification Processes

In order to get a license the casino must have verification processes in place to check the player’s age/identity and address as well as to verify the player’s method of depositing –Otherwise known as the ‘KYC’ process.

Age Verification – copy of player’s driving license, passport of country i.d card

Address Verification – player’s need to provide copy showing name and address of the account e.g. copy of utility bill

Payment Verification – player must show scanned copy of credit or debit card

These verification processes are required to prevent people opening accounts in other people’s names i.e. committing identity fraud and make sure that players are above the legal age of gambling.

All casinos operating on an MGA license must undertake these checks before a player has full access to the account. In order to provide flexibility to both player and casino though, players are allowed to register and play without the ‘KYC’ check, but must provide these details if they want to make a withdrawal.

Click here for a list of casinos Licensed by the MGA

Gibraltar Gambling Authority

gibGibraltar a British crown dependency with jurisdictional sovereignty has been granting remote gaming licences since 1998 and is on the most respected gambling jurisdictions in the world.

Being one of the first recognized gaming authorities and in relatively close proximity to the U.K,  Gibraltar became gaming authority of choice for many blue chip U.K based brands including Coral, Gala, Ladbrokes and 888.

License Requirements

In order to acquire a license from the Gibraltar Gambling Authority the Casino must adhere to strict policies and provisions to protect players and to ensure that the gaming site is not a vehicle for nefarious purposes e.g. money laundering. As part of the application process strict due diligence is undertaken of the applicant including detailed background checks on the business owners/company, gaming operation business plan and financial liquidity

To get a license all gaming sites must ensure that their sites acquire and verify certain player data including full name, address and age. This is both to protect players and ensure compliance with anti-money laundering requirements.

Types of Licenses

The Gibraltar Regulatory Authority (GRA) offers the following types of licenses:

  • bookmaker’s license
  • betting intermediary’s license
  • gaming operator’s license
  • gaming machine license
  • lottery promoter’s license
  • pool promoter’s license
  • remote gambling license

Our recommended Canadian casino sites operating on a GRA license will have a remote gambling license, meaning that they’re licensed by the GRA but their customers are located outside

Software Testing

All gaming sites with a GRA license must ensure that their software and RNGs (random number generator) have been tested and certified as fair by the GRA. A number of testing companies, the most well know one being eCogra have been approved by the GRA to carry out this task.

Casinos Licensed by GRA:

U.K Gambling Commission

gamblingcommissionukThe UK became a fully regulated ‘white market’ in 2014 requiring all gaming sites wanting to operate there to acquire a license. Previously gaming sites could operate in the U.K provided they had a license from a reputable E.U gaming authority e.g. the MGA or GRA. The U.K Gambling Commission is a highly respected gaming authority which has awarded licenses to a number of our reviewed sites

Licensing Requirements

In determining whether to award a license the U.K Gambling Commission takes into account the following elements seeking evidence of each.

Identity and Ownership – The U.K Gambling Commission determines who the ‘actual’ owners of the licensee applicant are

Finances – Past and present finances of the licensee are determined together with whether the applicant has the resources to run the operation
Integrity – The U.K Gambling Commission runs a ‘fit and proper’ test to determine whether the owner has the requisite honesty and trustworthiness

Competence – Does the applicant have the history and expertise to be a competent licensee

Criminality – Criminal record of the applicant

Registration and Verification

The U.K Gambling Commission requires that all their licensed sites gather and verify the name, age and address of all players who deposit and wager. This is in order to both make sure that all players are over the legal age of gambling, protect players who have self-excluded and to prevent money laundering or identity theft.

Casinos Licensed by U.K Gambling Commission:

Player Account Verification

One aspect common to all e-gaming regulatory authorities is the requirement of their licensed casinos to verify the details of their players. Known as the ‘KYC’ process, this is required to satisfy underpinning banking and legal requirements. The ‘KYC’ process is the one regulatory aspect that requires action of the player’s themselves, although seen as a ‘chore’ it is in place for the protection of the players to prevent money laundering, identity theft etc.

Casumo ReviewAlthough the specifics of account verification will differ from casino to casino, the following account verification details from Casumo is representative of the casinos we recommend and which have to adhere to the ‘KYC’ process of their regulatory authority. 

What does Casumo need to verify?

Casumo needs to verify the identity, age, residence and deposit/withdrawal methods of the player 

What documents does Casumo require?

Age/Identity: A copy of the front and back of your passport, ID card or driving license. The document must be valid and show the expiration date.

Residence: A copy of phone bill, utility bill or a birth certificate showing full name and address, not older than 6 months. Senders’ logo must be included and the entire document (all four corners of the paper) visible.

Deposit/Withdrawal Methods: Bank Statement – A screenshot from your online bank statement or copy of a bank statement showing the deposit (s) to Casumo. Full name and account number must be visible. Credit Card like VISA– Copy of the front and back, covering the middle four numbers and CVC numbers on the back. E-Wallet like Neteller– document showing email and account number.

Where do you send the documents?

Documents are sent to [email protected]

When do the documents need to be sent?

Casumo generally (but not always) requires the verification documents upon withdrawal. Sometimes players making small withdrawals won’t be requested to verify their details and sometimes sample checks will be made requiring customers who haven’t requested a withdrawal to verify their account details.

Why is account verification not required when the player open an account?

Because Casumo doesn’t want to hassle players and only wants to have to verify an account when it is absolutely necessary – i.e. when they request a withdrawal.

How long does it take to get the documents approved?

Casumo aims to verify the documents between 1hr to 12hrs of receiving them.

I played at other casinos and was never asked to verify my details or send in any documents?

If you played at any casino licensed by the MGA, UK Gambling Commission or Gibraltar Gambling Authority the likelihood is that you would have to follow the same or very similar process outlined above. If you played at a casino where you deposited and then withdrew money without having to verify your account then you either played at a casino without a license or played at a casino not operating under a reputable e-gaming jurisdiction.

In the age of cyber and ‘white collar’ crime KYC processes are a necessary task requiring the co-operation of players. Similarly though, in the age of smartphones where everyone has a good enough camera at hand to make copies of documents, verifying your personal details only takes 5 minutes and then you’re all set to withdraw the winnings you’ve made from your casino of choice.

Further Reading

Read about dishonest and rogue casinos to learn the malpractices of the industry and which casinos and casino groups to avoid.

Author Tom Wilson

Chief editor and creator, Tom drives the direction of CanadianCasinos.ca with the goal to provide the best and most honest resource for online gambling enthusiasts in Canada

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