Not always. For example, by UK gambling laws, the casino is illegal if it accepts residents of Great Britain without holding a valid UK gambling license.
But laws regarding gambling differ significantly in various parts of the world. Some explicitly state that no-license gambling is illegal. Some ban gambling altogether. Others keep it in the so-called “grey zone”. Either because they have failed to update laws regarding online gambling or the issue lies low in their list of priorities.
Why Some Casinos Choose to Operate Without a License
1. Too expensive to obtain
Obtaining even an offshore license costs money, not to mention more reputable, safe jurisdictions. If an online casino is at the startup stage, owners sometimes choose to open first, earn some cash and obtain a license once their business becomes profitable enough.
2. One License is Not Enough
Often for online casinos operating in multiple countries, there arises the need to obtain multiple licenses. To operate legally in the UK, Germany, Sweden and several other countries, for each, you need one issued by the local Gambling Authority. This means a casino has to follow multiple sets of rules and regulations. And the costs of this will keep mounting, making the case completely uncompetitive.
3. No Way to Obtain a License
Want to obtain a French Gambling license? An Israeli one? There is no way because online casinos are banned there. Some people from these countries want to gamble, but there is simply no legal way to cater to them.
4. The Need to Follow the Regulations
Some offshore jurisdictions like Curacao offer pretty lax requirements. Still, there is a need to follow the regulations for each license a casino holds.
5. License is a Limiting Factor to Their Business Model
A casino without a license can make more by saving on income tax, VAT, fines and license fees, and allowing everyone to play, no matter from where these people come from and if gambling is allowed in their home states. And with cryptocurrencies being on the rise, no one can stop people from making deposits.
Are Unlicensed Casinos Safe?
While there are some scam projects and new ones will always appear, most no-license casinos are safe enough. However, the lack of license means that these casinos are unregulated. In case of a conflict, you don’t have an arbiter to complain to if you fail to achieve mutual understanding. The casino knows that and may impose unfair practices.
Much depends on the administration, however. Many online casinos take care of their reputation as it allows them to profit in the long run by attracting players from all around the world without limitations.
At Gamblescope, we have gathered a list of trustworthy online unlicensed casinos. If you live in a country on the global forbidden list for the licensed casinos, or your state charges tax from online gambling winnings, they might be the way to go.