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Gambling Licenses

Directorate of Offshore Gaming: Setting High Standards

Online casinos come in great numbers to Antigua, an island in the West Indies, to get one of the popular licenses for online gambling institutions – Directorate of Offshore Gaming. Established in 1994, this concern has been providing licensing services for more than two decades. It is a part of the regulating commission at Antigua and Barbuda’s financial department – Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC). The UK Gambling Commission recognizes the presence of Directorate of Offshore Gaming as it is one of the white-listed bodies.

Regulatory Organisation

During the early years, the Directorate of Offshore Gaming was rather relaxed in its approach to licenses. As a result, the institution suffered from a bad reputation to start off with. In the last few years, though, there has been a sea change in the rules and regulations. Now, it is much harder for the online gambling institution operators to obtain this license. The changes now mean that operators will be going to a large amount of money and time to obtain the license. The high investments also apply to the fees required to obtain the license.
 
To obtain licenses, operators must have auditors to audit the various gaming accounts. The license provided by Directorate of Offshore Gaming will commit elements like protection for the player, safety, compliance, and sticking with the regulations of Countering Financing of Terrorism Act and Anti-Money Laundering. This is down to the presence of three important divisions in the jurisdiction of the administration – Industry Enhancement, Player Protection, and Money Laundering Prevention.

Regulatory Organisation
Royal Palm Place, Friar's Hill Road
P.O. Box 2674, St. John's
Antigua & Barbuda, West Indies
Telephone: (268)481-3300 
Fax: (268) 481-3305
E-mail: info@fsrc.gov.ag
Website: www.antiguagaming.gov.ag
 

Types of Licenses

The Directorate of Offshore Gaming can provide two different licenses: license for interactive wagering and license for interactive gaming. The former is applicable for the online casinos, while the latter is meant for the sportsbooks. Besides from providing the applicable license to the operator, the organization is ensured with the duty of keeping the eyes open for any malpractice.
 
The license for interactive wagering covers various aspects like handling the funds of the player, handling the accounts of the institution, the standards that need to adhere to advertisements, and the online wagering services that are available directly to the players. This type of license happens to be the most popular at Directorate of Offshore Gaming.
 
The license for interactive gaming is primarily meant for the slot developers or gaming companies. Some of the key attributes checked for this license are the fairness of the game that is being developed, the security of the software, brand customisation, and the additional features that could change aspects like the payouts. Directorate of Offshore Gaming also looks carefully to ensure that the integral aspects of the gameplay are of the highest order. Software developers who fail to meet these high standards will not be granted a license.

Features of Licenses from Directorate of Offshore Gaming

Along with the license, the operator will also be receiving the Antigua Gaming ‘Preferential Seal’. This is provided only to the qualifying companies that meet several requirements. The first requirement is that this seal is only applicable for operators where the directors and the shareholders have more than 5% of the company. Other factors that play a role in receiving this seal are the use of gaming software which is recognized internationally for being fair, the presence of corporate headquarters in Antigua, and presence of the primary server in Antigua.
 
The seal also acts as a confirmation that the primary server in Antigua would possess all the key data like financial liabilities, financial history, game history, and any other information about the players.

Added Advantage

Operators who sign up with a Directorate of Offshore Gaming will be able to enjoy an Inter-Jurisdictional Authorization with Kahnawake Gaming Commission due to a memorandum of understanding that is signed back in 2010. As a result, online gambling institutions can have operations under both jurisdictions. Operators get to enjoy a lot of flexibility due to this MoU.

Complaints & Disputes

There is a high degree of protection offered to players from around the world who sign up with operators having their license at the Directorate of Offshore Gaming. All the legitimate complaints from a player or any disputes between the player and the gambling institution would be taken up by Directorate of Offshore Gaming. A careful review and investigation of the complaint will be taken up immediately. Any verdict in favor of the player will be notified to the concerned individual immediately along with the necessary action being taken to ensure that the operator sticks to the verdict. However, Directorate of Offshore Gaming always advises the players to sort out any issues with the casino operator.
 
Only cases that failed to come to an agreement will be brought forward here. Directorate of Offshore Gaming does reasonably well to ensure fairness, and the level of protection to the player has gone up substantially in recent years.

Verdict

The license provided in Antigua through the Directorate of Offshore Gaming certainly did not get off to a great start. However, the serious revamp in recent years have now made it better than ever before. Even then, it still does not belong to the best licenses available for online gambling operators. The tough regulations that are now imposed on the operators mean that Directorate of Offshore Gaming has been able to filter out the poor operators.

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