Globally 40% of the most popular online casinos poorly regulated

Globally 40% of the most popular online casinos poorly regulated

A new report from the Asian Racing Federation Counting on Anti-Illegal Betting and Related Financial Crime (ARF Council) states that many of the most popular betting sites available internationally are insufficiently licensed. According to a study by the ARF Council, this concerns 40% of the 262 most popular casino sites worldwide.

Earlier this week, the Asian Racing Federation (ARF Council) presented a report “The state of illegal betting” including a thorough research among 534 casinos. Of the 534 gambling websites reviewed, 262 had at least one million website visits per month. This is the group that the survey identifies as a “popular gambling site with international reach”.

Casino reviews of 534 websites

At each website, the ARF checked whether the website complied with the prescribed legislation of the country in which it operates. In order to cover the full spectrum, ARF Council looked at both the countries in which the operating company was active and the licences that the online casino had itself. This led to dividing the researched online casinos into three different categories:

Category Details
Fully regulated Online casino only operates in the countries for which it has a licence.
Insufficiently regulated Online casino is licensed, but also operates in countries where it is not licensed.
Not regulated Online casino is not licensed at all.

Mirror sites

The research showed that more than 60% of the assessed websites complied with all local laws. More than half were therefore only active in countries where it was actually allowed to be active.

In 23% of the cases, the website had a licence, but it also turned out to be active in other countries for which no licence had been granted. The remaining 17% operated completely illegally, with no licence whatsoever.

A common trend among this latter group is what is referred to as mirror sites: online casinos that operate on different URLs. Customers can therefore continue to visit these websites, even if a website is taken offline by a gambling authority in a certain jurisdiction. In the study, companies with mirror sites were labelled as “not regulated” as it is active with URLs that do not have any licence.

For example:

Let’s say a website operates with the url Should the website be taken offline by the authorities, players will be automatically redirected to The online casino or bookmaker thus remains active for its customers due to a set of different URLs. There were even providers with more traffic to the alternative mirror sites than to their main website. At one of the examined websites, the mirror site even had 11 times as much traffic as the main website. For inexperienced players it is therefore difficult to distinguish between legal and illegal gambling.

The ARF Council further noted that most of the websites in the group that were “insufficiently regulated” were only licensed in one of the following countries:

  • Curacao (31%)
  • Malta (18%)
  • Philippines (13%)

The report states, among other things, that the ARF is not favourable of casino licences that are issued in Curaçao:

“The main eligibility requirement is to pay approximately $35,000-$45,000 per year to one of the four private companies that are allowed to issue permits. In addition, there is no tax to be paid in Curaçao and there is no supervision of the state of affairs. The fact that you can offer all types of games of chance with a licence explains why many crypto casinos apply for a licence in Curaçao.”

The master licensee on the island, Curaçao eGaming, recently published a code of conduct, with the objective of restructuring the private gambling authorities.

What does this mean for players in NZ?

All recommended online casinos on hold one or multiple licences — predominantly European licences. Every featured casino has been hand picked by our experienced team of casino reviewers. As our online casinos are only recommended if they meet a large number of performance metrics, players that are based in New Zealand will have a smooth gaming experience and won’t have to worry about any dodgy brands. We do however recommend all our readers to check out the recommended casinos themselves and decide for yourself whether the sites cater for your personal needs.