What Is a Gambling Commission?

G. Wiesen

A gambling commission is typically a government agency or office created to oversee and regulate games and other activities that may include gambling. These commissions are usually created at a federal, state, or provincial level and are granted a number of powers and responsibilities involved in regulating gaming and gambling in a certain region. One of the major ways in which such commissions regulate these activities is through the granting of licenses to businesses to host games or other gambling activities. A gambling commission can oversee a number of activities, including gaming in general, games for profit, and other gambling or betting services.

A gambling commission oversees the licensing of casino workers.
A gambling commission oversees the licensing of casino workers.

Though different countries and regions can use different names for such offices, the term “gambling commission” is fairly standard and can be found in numerous countries. The general role of a gambling commission is to oversee and regulate various gaming and other activities that involve gambling or the setting of odds and gambling stakes. This commission usually employs a number of officers and agents at varying levels who are responsible for a variety of tasks. Agents may travel to gaming locations or casinos to ensure gambling guidelines are being followed and approve or reject licenses for new businesses.

A gambling commission has the authority to order inspections for slot machines.
A gambling commission has the authority to order inspections for slot machines.

The gambling licenses issued by a gambling commission are one of the primary ways in which such agencies ensure policies are set and adhered to by businesses. A business that wishes to host gambling tables, for example, must typically provide information about such tables to the gambling commission in the area in which it wishes to do business. This information must adhere to policies set by that commission and other legislators, or else a license may be denied or revoked. Such regulations can include methods to ensure that games at such locations are fair and maintained in a way that prevents cheating by both the business and customers.

Craps and other games at a casino are overseen by a gambling commission.
Craps and other games at a casino are overseen by a gambling commission.

A gambling commission can oversee a number of different activities, and these are usually established by local or federal government regulations in an area. Gaming is often a major aspect of the oversight of such commissions, and this can include anything from electronic arcade games to video poker games that are more direct forms of gambling. A gambling commission can also oversee facilities that allow customers to place bets on activities going on at the location, such as betting locations at horse or dog racetracks. “Off-track” facilities that allow betting on activities going on elsewhere can also fall under the purview of gambling commissions.

Casinos must follow local and federal laws to stay in business legally.
Casinos must follow local and federal laws to stay in business legally.

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