International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR)
When it comes to online gambling, we all want to make sure that we are protected and that we are getting a fair deal from the online casinos that we are playing at. Would you be able to trust playing at a casino if they were allowed to make their own rules and therefore could quite easily be providing a game that is far too heavily weighted in their favour?
They could also be offering very little protection for your funds by keeping them in the same accounts as operating funds or not protecting your personal information with technology such as 128-bit SSL encryption.
This is why it is important that there are gaming authorities out there that regulate these online casinos to ensure that they are providing gambling platforms that are fair and safe for our money and personal information.
Fortunately, we do have gaming authorities all over the world that do regulate many of the worlds online casinos. In the UK there is the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) which regulates all online casinos that are legally allowed to operate in the region and sell their services to customers.
Other regions of the world usually have something similar and while each of them will operate in slightly different ways, they will all have similar goals of ensuring that online casinos are operating in a legal and appropriate capacity and providing their players with a fair, safe and potentially rewarding experience.
While each authority does a great job of regulating their particular jurisdictions it has always been important for each of them to exchange views, ideas and proposals on what direction the online gambling industry should be taking. This is where the International Association of Gaming Regulators comes into play. A place where representatives of each gaming authority can work together in improving regulations and gambling in general on a global scale.
What is the IAGR?
The International Association of Gaming Regulators is an inter-regional association that has a number of representatives from gaming authorities from all over the world. Some of the biggest and most well-known gaming regulators are represented such as the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) regulate UK online casinos, Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) and the New Jersey Casino Control Commission (NJCCC).
The aim of the IAGR is to further improve the efficiency and effectiveness of regulated online gambling. How they go about this is through providing:
- A forum that all members and representatives from each of the gaming authorities can meet up and give their opinions, views and information on how they can improve online gambling and ensure that it is both safe and fair for the players that engage in it.
- A way for the worlds gaming authorities to cooperate with each other when performing their duties.
- A central point of contact for any governments, gaming authorities and anyone that is a part of the online gambling industry.
The IAGR should not be confused with being a gaming authority and actually does not have any power over any of the authorities that are members with them. They would not be able to force any of the regulators to take onboard any suggestions or policies and are just a central meeting point where each of the regulators can converse and put ideas across.
No independent gambling regulator is even required to join the IAGR if they so choose as it is a voluntary association. However, any regulator that does not become a member is going to seriously miss out on a lot of help in providing their services to the players they are tasked to protect.
Why is the IAGR Important?
There are a number of big reasons why the IAGR is very important for regulators, players and the online gambling industry.
- Importance for Regulators
Without the International Association of Gaming Regulators providing a global think-tank on regulating online gambling, it would be difficult for each independent regulator to communicate and share ideas and opinions.
Smaller authorities might struggle to put the right regulations in place and without a central place of contact to take advice from more experienced operators, might not be able to provide their players the sort of regulations to protect them.
- Importance for Players
Players are the main reason why gambling regulators are here in the first place. This is why it is extremely important for them that there are authorities and associations such as the IAGR out there to help keep them protected when gambling online.
Having an association such as this goes a long way to improving the performance of each regulator, so this will impress players as well. They will appreciate that there are people out there watching their backs by making sure that they are protected whenever they play at and licensed online casino.
- Importance for the Online Gambling Industry
The online gambling industry is absolutely huge, so could you imagine if there were no regulatory bodies making sure that everything is done as it should be? It would be like the Wild West online and players will, without doubt, shy away from even bothering as there would be nobody they could trust.
The IAGR is important for the online gambling industry as it helps to give it a clean image. Gambling in any format has often had a bad name and is seen by some to be an unhealthy activity but this reputation could be a lot worse if there were no regulators in place to ensure that online casinos are operating in a fair, safe and secure way.
Why is Regulation of Online Casinos Important?
If online casinos were not regulated there would be no way to know for certain whether players were being treated properly. Online casinos would be able to set up their games to offer unfair RNG, not use adequate security to keep information and account balances safe and could just make up the rules as they go along.
Online gambling as a whole would probably die out as trust in the industry would evaporate due to there being too many online casinos attempting to hoodwink their players. There would probably still be some online casinos with good intentions but players would just lose trust in the whole industry.
This is why regulation is so important as it keeps online casinos in line. Any online casino that wants to operate in a particular region first has to be granted a license by the regulatory authority responsible for that region. In order to obtain that license the online casino first has to agree to adhere to the regulations set out and also agree to be audited at any given time at the discretion of the regulators.
Any casino that you see which is not licensed by a regulatory authority should be avoided as they are likely to be operating illegally. This is why it is extremely important to check out what licenses an online casino may have before you deposit any money.
Some online casinos will have licenses from a number of different authorities rather than just one. You can be sure that any casino that has managed to get licensed by a variety of gambling authorities is one that can be trusted. It shows that they are more than willing to operate under regulations in order to get their product legally licensed to operate in multiple regions.
What Regulations do Online Casinos Operate Under?
Regulations will change depending on which authority they are operating under but most will have common areas in which they will regulate their online casinos.
Among the regulations that online casinos will have to agree with are:
- Having their Random Number Generators tested on a regular basis.
- The financial handling of player accounts.
- To use 128-bit SSL encryption to protect data.
- To ensure that privacy policies have been created and put in place.
- To ensure they are adhering to ID verification practices.
- And to make sure that online casinos have policies in place that promote responsible gambling.
Each of the above goes a long way to ensure that online gambling is a safe, secure and entertaining activity for players. Without this kind of regulating you just know that many casinos would not bother with half of that list at least.
Are all Online Regulators the Same?
While they will all share the same common goal of making sure that online casinos are performing as they should be, they will all have a number of differences in how they go about it. Some will be far more strict than others in terms of the house edge that they are permitted to have over players while others will be a little more laid back. Some will require higher or lower tax from the online casinos in the region that they represent.
Additionally, the practices and processes that each regulatory authority carries out will be different from one another. What is important, however, is that each authority will have the same goal of making online gambling a safer place for the players that enjoy a bit of gambling.
Can We Contact Gambling Authorities or the IAGR?
Yes, and in fact, you would be surprised at just how many players do go down this route. Most of the time the reason for making contact with either a regulatory authority or the IAGR is to get advice or to complain about a specific online casino.
If you ever get into a dispute with an online casino you can get in touch directly with the gambling regulators that they operate under. There have been many cases over the years where these regulatory authorities have been able to reverse a decision that an online casino has made. This is why they are here, after all, to ensure that players are treated fairly.
So, if you feel you are not being treated right by your online casino, you should never be afraid to take the issue over their heads and speak to the guys that are regulating them. The online casino will have no choice but to conform to any request made by the authority unless they want to lose their license and the right to offer their services in that particular region.
In the UK we have the UK Gambling Commission as the regulators of online gambling so it will be these guys that you will want to get in touch with should you ever need any assistance in dealing with an online casino.
They are also key members of the IAGR and are recognised as being among the very best online gambling regulators in the world. The following are some reasons why you might want to get in touch with the UKGC (or any other particular gambling authority):
- To learn more about a particular online casino
- To request advice, help and even the potential of having a mediator for disputes over an online casino refusing to pay out account funds or for closing your account.
- To inform them of a potentially illegal casino operating in their area of authority.
- To inform them of a casino they have licensed that might not be producing fair gambling results.
- To report fraudulent activities.
What Members Can Expect from the IAGR
Now that you know more about gambling regulators, their duties, practices, why they are important and how they can help you, we should now talk about what these authorities can get when they sign up as members of the IAGR.
Any representatives of a gambling regulatory authority that becomes a member of the IAGR will be able to take advantage of many benefits that they are provided with. A selection of these benefits can be found below:
- Knowledge Sharing Groups
Through the members portal on the website for the IAGR, members are able to take advantage of five different knowledge sharing groups they can sign up for that are currently active. Here members can share ideas, exchange views, discuss policies and make use of the many resources and materials that are available.
The five knowledge sharing groups are as follows:
This knowledge group is aimed primarily at online gambling and brings together people who have ideas on how to effectively and efficiently regulate gambling on the internet.
- Land-Based Gambling
This is the land-based gambling equivalent of above and it concentrates on how regulators can better ensure that land-based casinos in their region are properly regulated and kept in line.
Match-fixing is a serious problem in the gambling world and this knowledge share group is there to help regulators deal with this serious issue that is costing the gambling industry millions each year.
- Money Laundering
Gambling has always been seen as a way to launder money and this knowledge sharing group has been set up to discuss ideas about the current practices that are being used to try and prevent illegal money laundering.
- Responsible Gambling
As most of you will know, there is nothing wrong with gambling as long as it is done responsibly. However, some still manage to get addicted or gamble with money that they cannot afford. This knowledge sharing group is there to discuss how to properly educate players to gamble in a responsible manner.
New knowledge sharing groups are created when needed but those five above seem to cover most of the main aspects of gambling.
- Multi-jurisdictional Testing Framework
Members of the IAGR can also take part in streamlining the processes used to test gambling products (ie online casinos). Shortened as the MJTF, this framework is for the testing of the random number generators (RNG) of online casinos to ensure that they are providing a product to their customers that are within regulations and is as advertised.
There are currently just four jurisdictions of regulators that are using this framework when it comes to testing RNG but it is expected that more will follow as it is certainly an effective and more streamlined way to regulate online casinos with regards to the RNG that they are providing their players.
Those four are the UK Gambling Commission, Alderney Gambling Control, Danish Gambling Authority and the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission. They are the pilot regulators for this framework and have already put a lot of work into it and each now uses this framework on casinos under their jurisdictions.
- e-Gambling Guidelines
Each member of the IAGR will also have access to twelve different sets of guidelines to help them with regulating online gambling. Guidelines included are the likes of the IAGR e-gambling standards protocol, security, jackpot, data logging and anti-money laundering.
These are designed to help regulators in each of the twelve aspects of only gambling. These are just guidelines and are not enforceable but will be very effective in helping regulators to develop their own rules and regulations in their region of online gambling.
- International Technical Standards
Also on the IAGR are some technical standards that have been designed to be used as a template for regulators when determining the technical standards of any gaming equipment. Again, these standards are not binding and each regulator can just tweak them a little bit when determining their own standards for gaming and e-gaming equipment.
- Regulators Portal
All members will also have access to a portal on the website and are accessed via a username and password. This portal allows members to have access to more resources, to be able to communicate with other members and to take advantage of the of the many training activities that are provided.
Who are the Current Members of the IAGR?
To close of this in-depth article on the IAGR and what they are, what they provide and why they are so important for all corners of the online gambling industry, we are going to show you just how many current members there are in the association.
It is great to know that there are so many regulatory authorities that have decided to become a member of the IAGR. They will be able to take advantage of the many benefits of being a part of this global association and we feel that online gambling is a lot better off due to the work that this association and each of the 119 member regulators perform on a daily basis.
- Continent of Africa
Botswana Gambling Authority (BGA)
Ghana Gaming Commission (GGC)
National Lottery Authority of Liberia (NLA)
Malawi Gaming Board (MGB)
Mauritius Gambling Regulatory Authority (MGRA)
Seychelles Financial Services Authority (SFSA)
Eastern Cape Gambling and Betting Board (ECGBB)
Free State Gambling and Liquor Authority (FSGLA)
Gauteng Gambling Board (GGB)
KwaZulu-Natal Gaming & Betting Board (KNGBB)
KwaZulu-Natal Office of the Premier (KNOP)
Limpopo Gambling Board (LGB)
Mpumalanga Gambling Board (MGB)
National Gambling Board (NGB)
National Lotteries Commission (NLC)
North West Gambling Board (NWGB)
Western Cape Gambling & Racing Board (WCGRB)
Swaziland Gaming Board (SGB)
Uganda Lotteries and Gaming Regulatory Board (ULGRB)
Zimbabwe Lotteries and Gaming Board (ZLGB)
- Continent of Asia/Oceania
Australian Capital Territory Gambling & Racing Commission (ACTGR)
Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)
Liquor & Gaming NSW (LGNSW)
Northern Territory Gambling and Licensing Services (NTGLS)
Queensland Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (QOLGR)
South Australia Independent Gambling Authority (SAIGA)
South Australia Consumer and Business Services (SAIGA)
Tasmania Liquor and Gaming Branch (TLGB)
Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR)
Western Australia Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (WADLG)
The National Gaming Control Commission of Korea (NGCCK)
Korean Casino Regulatory Division (KCRD)
Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (MGICB)
New Zealand Gambling Commission (NZGC)
Commonwealth Casino Commission of the Northern Marianas Islands (CCC)
Tinian Casino Gaming Control Commission of the Northern Marianas Islands (TCGCC)
Norfolk Island Gaming Authority (NIGA)
National Gaming Control Board of Papua New Guinea (NGCB)
Cagayan Economic Zone Authority of the Philippines (CEZA)
Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGC)
Gambling Control Authority of Samoa (GCA)
Casino Regulatory Authority of Singapore (CRA)
Financial Services Regulatory Commission of Antigua and Barbuda (FSRC)
Loteria Nacional S.E of Argentina (LNSE)
Gaming Board for the Commonwealth of the Bahamas (GBCB)
Brazilian Lottery Regulation General Coordination (BLRGC)
Coljuegos EICE of Columbia (CEC)
Curaçao Gaming Control Board (CGCB)
Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission of Jamaica (BGLC)
Casino Gaming Commission of Jamaica (CGC)
Ministry of Commerce and Tourism in Peru (MCT)
St. Lucia Gaming Authority (SLGA)
Casino Control Commission of the Virgin Islands (CCC)
Division of Gaming Enforcement of the Virgin Islands (DGE)
Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC)
Ministry of Finance of Austria (AMOF)
Belgium Gaming Commission (BGC)
State Commission on Gambling of the Republic of Bulgaria (SCGRB)
Ministry of Finance of Croatia (CMOF)
National Betting Authority of Cypress (NBA)
Gambling and Lottery Supervision Department of the Czech Republic (GLSD)
The Danish Gambling Authority (DCA)
Gambling Administration of Finland (GA)
Autorite de Regulation des Jeux En Ligne (ARJEL)
Hellenic Gaming Commission of Greece (HGC)
Gaming Board of Hungary (GBH)
Regulator of the National Lottery of Ireland (RNL)
Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission (IMGSC)
Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli (ADDDM)
The Jersey Gambling Commission (JHC)
Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection of Latvia (LGSI)
Gaming Control Authority of Lithuania (GCA)
Games of Chance Administration of Montenegro (GCA)
Netherlands Gaming Authority (NGA)
The Norwegian Gaming & Foundation Authority (NGFA)
Ministry of Finance of Poland (MOF)
Inspectorate General on Gaming in Portugal (IGG)
Ministry of Finance of Slovenia (MOF)
Spanish General Directorate of Gaming Regulation and Supervision (GDGRS)
Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA)
Federal Gaming Board of Switzerland (FGB)
Swiss Lottery & Betting Board (SLBB)
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Gaming Board (TRMCGB)
UK Gambling Commission (UKGC)
- North America
Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission (BCGC)
Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba (LGAM)
Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO)
Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG)
California Gambling Control Commission (CGCC)
Colorado Division of Gaming (CDG)
Connecticut Division of Special Revenue (CDSR)
Delaware Division of Gaming Enforcement (DDGE)
Illinois Gaming Board (IGB)
Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC)
Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC)
Kansas State Gaming Agency (KSGA)
Louisiana Sovereign Nation of the Chitimacha Tribal Gaming Commission (LSNCTGC)
Louisiana Gaming Control Board (LGCB)
Maine Gambling Control Board (MGCB)
Maryland State Lottery & Gaming Control Agency (MSLGCA)
Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC)
Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB)
Mississippi Gaming Commission (MGC)
Missouri Gaming Commission (MGC)
National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC)
Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC)
New Jersey Casino Control Commission (MJCCC)
New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC)
Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC)
Ohio Lottery (OL)
Oneida Nation Gaming Commission (ONGC)
Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB)
Pokagon Band Gaming Commission (PBGC)
South Dakota Commission on Gaming (SDCG)
Washington State Gambling Commission (WSGC)
As you can see, there are quite a few online gambling authorities that are more than happy to be a member of the International Association of Gaming Regulations. This can only be a good thing for both us as players and for the online gambling industry as a whole.