Whilst a minority of people view licensing as something which restricts freedom, the reality is that it is an essential part of making society safer for those who are vulnerable. When the law which made it mandatory to wear car seatbelts was introduced in the UK way back in 1983, there were plenty of drivers who complained that seatbelts felt restrictive, and that the law took away their freedom. However, that law has since saved tens of thousands of lives, and has prevented an even greater number of injuries, so most of us are quite happy that it is in place when we go out on the roads.
In the world of casino gambling, licensing is also important. It helps to ensure that the games that we participate in are fair, that the random number generators that are used to determine game outcomes are truly random, and that operators are as quick and sure to pay out winnings as they are to keep our stake money if we lose. It is this fairness which makes modern-day gambling a far safer and more enjoyable form of entertainment than was often the case in previous generations.
The licensing of online casinos (as well as other forms of betting and gaming) also helps to protect the most vulnerable in society, such as those who are under the age of consent and shouldn’t be playing in the first place, or those who are most susceptible to becoming (or have already become) ‘problem gamblers’.
Add in the various checks that exist to ensure that online casino gambling isn’t used for illegal purposes, such as money laundering or outright theft, and it is clear that licensing the industry provides far more safety for the player than would be possible otherwise. Although illegal and unlicensed casinos do still exist, their attraction is close to nil when we have a plethora of properly licensed venues to visit.
‘So often the positive impact of licensing is overlooked and we’re delighted to help raise awareness,’ said Sharon McNair, who is the programme director for industry insight and shared regulation at the Gambling Commission. ‘For instance, there are numerous rules and regulations that operators must follow in order to protect consumers of gambling products. These include our insistence that operators do not serve those who are underage, display gambling responsibly and addiction support services signs, and offer consumers who recognise they have a problem with gambling the option of self-excluding so they aren’t served again.’
We applaud both the Commission and the Institute of Licensing for helping to raise awareness of the importance of licensing, and we are happy to do our part by recommending that players restrict themselves to only visiting licensed venues, such as those featured in our Online Casino Reviews.