After a few years during which their licensing details were murky at best, several gaming sites associated with the PaiWangLuo Network have revealed that they have obtained licensure from Curacao. The sites in question are Bovada, Ignition Casino, Slots.lv, Cafe Casino, and Joe Fortune. They are the USA- and Australia-facing offshore brands originally spun off of Bodog, the multi-billion dollar gaming empire founded a couple of decades ago by Canadian entrepreneur Calvin Ayre.
We can see that these sites are operating under Curacao licenses by reading their terms of service. On Bovada’s ToS page, we encounter the following:
Following the link that says, “click here,” brings up an image of a seal from Curacao eGaming along with an email address to send complaints to:
Clicking on the seal opens a license validation page:
This indicates that the registered website (in this case www.bovada.lv) holds a valid license from Curacao eGaming. It’s the same story with the relevant partner organizations of Bovada, which have included links to their license info on their terms of service pages in very similar spots to where Bovada has presented theirs.
Validating the Licenses
ProfessionalRakeback would happily link you directly to the various Curacao licenses, but we are afraid you will have to go there directly yourself. The reason for this is that each validation link provided by Curacao eGaming expires after an undetermined, but nonetheless short, period of time. In order to verify for yourself that any one of these sites’ licenses is valid, follow the instructions below:
- Open the Terms of Service page from the website you’re curious about
- Scroll through the page until you find the section dealing with licenses (It’s usually numbered 8 on these Bodog-related sites)
- Click on the link provided – the Curacao eGaming seal will open up in a new tab
- Click on the Curacao eGaming seal – the validation page will open up in a new tab
- View the validation page to see if the license is good – look for the words “Operating status: VALID”
In the past, the sites mentioned above did not publicly display their licensing information. This becomes evident when we look at old copies of the terms of service pages:
The sentence containing the link to the Curacao eGaming seal is not present on old versions of the Bovada terms of service page. Indeed, there was hardly any licensure info available from any of the relevant sites. This led many to speculate that these gaming providers were active without being licensed anywhere in the world. The inside scoop was that these sites indeed held valid Curacao licenses for more than two years, but for reasons that we can only speculate upon, they opted to keep this information well-concealed…until now.
Many of these businesses had been licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission until September 2016 when, allegedly under pressure from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, Kahnawake announced that it would no longer be licensing companies that operated in the U.S. market (an exception was made for those organizations offering legal online gambling duly regulated by a state). A press release from around this time revealed that the corporations that owned Bovada, Ignition Casino, Café Casino, and Slots.lv had voluntarily surrendered their Kahnawake licenses.
From September 2016 until very recently, they elected to disclose hardly anything about seeking or obtaining licensure elsewhere.
What Impact Will This Have?
Regarding the day-to-day operations of these online gaming sites, securing Curacao licensure doesn’t really change much. There have been many instances before of sites with licenses from reputable jurisdictions, like Full Tilt, absconding with player funds. On the other hand, many firms without licensure have faithfully discharged their duties to their users, offering fair gameplay and speedy cashouts.
The PaiWangLuo Network falls into this latter category. It has established itself, over the course of decades, as a trustworthy group that has never had a scandal where customers’ real money was concerned. A license from Curacao doesn’t really noticeably enhance this enviable record although it certainly doesn’t do any harm either.
The new licenses might help out a bit in attracting new players. People doing research on international poker, casino, and sportsbook sites sometimes view absent license information as a red flag. In general, the offshore gaming field really ought to seek out and prominently display tokens of respectability because the industry as a whole has an unjustifiably negative reputation in the minds of some segments of the public.
Fine Print Bothersome?
Before they go off boasting too much about their shiny, new licenses, perhaps the higher-ups at these gaming corporations might want to iron out a few details first. We couldn’t help but notice the following text in the fine print of the license validation URLs:
Under this license, apart from its own diligence and legalities, the license holder is not authorized to offer its services in the territories of USA, Netherlands, France, Dutch West Indies and Curacao. It is the responsibility of the licensee to be familiar with the local laws and requirements for the territories which they intend to offer their services.
Although the phrasing of this passage appears a bit weird (“its own diligence and legalities,” really?), it seems to exclude licensees from serving the United States of America. If we’re interpreting this correctly (we concede this is a big “if”), then we’re left scratching our heads. Why would US-facing gaming concerns obtain licenses that explicitly bar them from doing business in the country?
Lest the doom-and-gloom crowd get any ideas about this conglomeration of gaming entities harboring intentions of leaving the U.S. market, we can assure you otherwise. We have been informed by our contacts that it’s business as usual for Ignition Casino, Bovada, Cafe Casino, and Slots.lv, and they have no intention of closing their doors to Americans.
The inclusion of the United States in the list of proscribed territories is probably just an example of extreme overcaution on the part of the regulators. There are many other Curacao-licensed internet betting destinations that gladly transact with Americans, and we have never heard of any of them getting into any trouble for doing so.
What About the Other Brands?
While the U.S. and Australia brands of the Bodog group have just recently acknowledged their licensure in Curacao, the rest-of-the-world operators under the Bodog umbrella have displayed their license status in various jurisdictions for a while now. They are as follows:
- Bodog.eu – Antigua and Barbuda
- Bodog.com – Curacao
- Bumbet – Curacao
- Slots.com – None (formerly Gibraltar)
Sign up and Play
On the whole, we welcome this news about the Curacao licenses because it tends to add an aura of legitimacy to the sites involved. Of course, we already felt that these gaming firms were among the most reputable and fastest-paying available to residents of the United States and Australia. We reiterate our recommendation of them and urge you to read the reviews linked below to find out about their promotions and how to sign up for an account:
- Ignition Casino (Poker Room and Casino for Americans and Australians)
- Bovada (Sportsbook, Poker Room, and Casino for Americans)
- Cafe Casino (Casino for Americans)
- Slots.lv (Casino for Americans and Canadians)
- Joe Fortune (Casino for Australians)
- Bodog (Sportsbook, Casino, and Poker Room for Canadians and Latin Americans)