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Casino Licensing in Kahnawake
The Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake first attracted a lot of attention when in July 2005, a report from the Law Commission of Canada questioned the legality of the internet gambling sites operating on the reserve since the late nineties. Under the Canadian Criminal Code, provincial governments are the only ones that can operate online gambling websites and while the Mohawks of Kahnawake consider themselves an independent state, the question whether the Territory of Kahnawake can be considered a provincial government remains open.
More recently, another Canadian native band, the Alexander First Nation, announced a plan to build a safe regulatory environment for people who enjoy online gambling.
Kahnawake Gaming Comission
The Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC) is the regulating body for one of the most reputed jurisdictions for regulating and licensing of online gaming operators, such as online poker rooms and casino websites. The KGC is in charge of licensing online gaming operations and interactive wagering in the Mohawk territory of Kahnawake.
The main advantage of the KGC is its location in North America. It is the only organisation that has servers hosting real-money online gambling sites in this territory. Other real-money online casinos are targeted at Europe, Australia, or the Caribbean.
The KGC was established in 1996 and started issuing online gambling licences from 1999. The commission’s rules, regulations and standards are based on the Australian practice of issuing licences. The basic principles of the KGC are as follows:
- Fair gaming. All gambling games provided to online players must be delivered on an honest and fair basis;
- Payouts guarantee. Winners must be paid with their gains at all times without exceptions;
- Geographical reference. Only certain individuals and entities have a permission to use gambling services through this jurisdiction.
The KGC currently consists of three responsible members empowered to issues licences and regulate online gambling activity under the commission’s jurisdiction. The members are appointed by the Mohawk council of Kahnawake.
KGC Application Standards
Potential online casino operators need to meet stringent requirements in order to be licensed by the organisation, including dealing effectively with issues such as underage gaming and problem gambling.
The KGC’s strong reputation stems from how thoroughly initial applications are screened. The Commission has established high standards that ensure the fairness and reliability of every online gambling business they license. The following factors are scrutinised during the application process:
- Licence background;
- Software reliability and fairness;
- Ability to pay out gains.
To ensure the above-mentioned issues meet the requirements and the information provided by a company is proven and trusted, an independent third party is involved to check the veracity of the information provided and to audit the software for fairness.
The Kahnawake Gambling Licence is issued for two years. In order to apply for the licence a potential gambling operator needs to provide proof of meeting all of the commission’s requirements and then pay a non-refundable fee for a licence. A refundable licence fee also needs to be paid for the first year, which will be returned if the application is turned down. Currently the non-refundable fee for the Kahnawake Gambling licence application amounts to $7,000 CAD. The commission also requires additional non-refundable deposit of $15,000 CAD to cover the costs of system testing and initial investigation. The annual licence fee is $15,000 CAD.
After an online gambling operator has passed the licensing process it is required to put a KGC logo on its home page linking to the Kahnawake Gaming Commission official website. This measure provides the online casino website users with an opportunity to check whether the licence was truly issued by the KGC.
The commission reserves the right to revoke its licence or even penalise the gaming business if it does not comply with all the requirements and standards set forth by the KGC. All online gambling activities should be performed according to the highest principles of integrity and fair play and where unethical practices appear the licence will be revoked.
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