Licences for Internet bingo games
Playing bingo online is an activity that sees more and more people trying all the time. Years ago, when bingo first made the transition from being played in bingo halls to being available and played on the Internet, many people were a bit nervous about it. They weren’t sure if they could trust the sites to give them a fair chance of winning and how protected their details and their money would be. There are several licence providers who regulate and provide guidelines for each online bingo site, the main ones being the Gibraltar Licencing Authority, the Lotteries and Gaming Authority of Malta, and the Alderney Gambling Control Commission, as well as the Isle of Man gambling supervision committee. These licencing agencies are authorized by the UK Gambling Commission as per the Gambling Act of 2005 to oversee and advertise games offered to citizens of the UK. We will break down each approved body at a later date.
One of the main stipulations of each body approved to regulate remote gambling is that all players are over 18 years old. This minimum age requirement is always mentioned on the site and on the registration form. Some sites ask that a credit/debit card is registered when an account is opened and this is one method used to verify the age of a player, to protect against under-age gambling. Bingo sites also require certain forms of identification before a player can withdraw their winnings for the same reason.
Licencing for online bingo sites is also important to give players protection as regards their money. It is important to know that you will be able to access any winnings without problems, as otherwise you could make deposits, win a large sum of money and the site could refuse to hand over your money.
Players want to know that the games they play are fair and offer each person an equal chance of winning. Bingo sites will often mention a Random Number Generator, which is the method they use to ensure all games are fairly run. This mechanism will randomly pull a number at a time, and specialist organisations exist who monitor the use of RNGs.
Licencing bodies also require that any information players send a site are safely stored, and also any financial transactions are securely sent to prevent card details falling into the wrong hands. Sites use technology that is used by banks and other reputable online organisations to safeguard details, which encodes important data to ensure it cannot be read or stolen.
To ensure that a bingo site is operating correctly licencing organisations also state that all financial records can be inspected upon request and that the premises can be visited. This stipulation will hopefully ensure that, if any bingo site is not operating properly and is not financially secure, this will be picked up sooner rather than later. This will prevent situations occurring when a site has struggled for a long time without anyone realising and suddenly closes, leaving players without access to their funds.
Another method used to try and prevent fraudulent behaviour is to ensure that any key members who are employed by the bingo site are themselves licenced. This maintains high standards and is also designed to prevent money laundering, so again is a method used to safeguard players’ money.
Overview of Specific UK Approved Internet Gaming Licences
- Gibraltar Remote Internet Gaming Licence – updated 2 Sept 2011
- Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) Information – updated 3 October 2011
- Lotteries & Gaming Authority of Malta (LGA) Overview – updated 6 Sept 2011
- Information on the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Committee – updated 7 Sept 2011