Question: Where Is Bovada Casino Licensed?
ANSWER: Bovada Casino is licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. They regulate over 250 different online casino, sportsbooks, and poker sites. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission was established in 1996 when the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake passed a law called the “Kahnawake Gaming Law”. It costs $25,000 just to apply to be regulated by this organization.
Kahnwake is not a part of the Canadian government. They’re a tribal government of the Mohawk people in Quebec and Ontario. In 1982, the Canadian government recognized their aboriginal rights to govern themselves, which is similar to how the United States has allowed various Native American tribes their own government entities–in the United States, many casinos are owned and operated by Native American tribes.
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I’ve seen pundits on the Internet claim that Kahnawake isn’t a “real” government entity, whatever that means, and that you shouldn’t take a license or a claim of being regulated by them seriously. I’d contend that a government is a government even if it’s small, and the Commission certainly took allegations of cheating at Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker seriously. The Canadian government has more or less confirmed the Commission’s right to issue payments in at least one court decision. I don’t think there’s any reason to doubt or worry about a casino just because it’s licensed by Kahnawake.
Bovada Casino is powered by two well-known online gaming software packages–Betsoft and RTG (RealTime Gaming). The site is owned by a business known as the Morris Mohawk Gaming Group. Players are able to download the software client in order to play the games there, but they also have several games available that can be played without a download, just using your Internet browser. The casino is both Mac friendly and mobile device friendly.
Unlike many Internet casino sites, Bovada Casino welcomes players from the United States. Besides offering casino games, they also offer poker, a racebook, and a sportsbook. Their mobile casino games are powered by Betsoft, and their racebook and sportsbook betting are both powered by DGS software. They use proprietary software (shared with the Bodog network) for their poker cardroom functionality.
The site uses English as its primary language and only uses U.S. currency for transactions. Bank wire transfers are available for both deposits and withdrawals. Players can also request withdrawals via courier check, and they can also make deposits using Visa or Mastercard, although success rates with credit cards vary. Bovada is known for having higher success rates with credit cards than most other online casinos accepting United States players.
Casino players are eligible to receive up to $3000 in signup bonuses. They have different promotions for slots players and players of other games. The slots bonus is a 100% matching bonus of up to $500. It can be used 4 times, for a total bonus amount of $2000. The “other games” bonus is a 100% matching bonus of up to $250. It can also be redeemed 4 times, for an additional $1000.
Casino players are also eligible for special game-specific bonuses on various days of the week. For example, Sundays are blackjack day. When a player hits her first blackjack (or natural) on Sunday, she instantly receives a $21 bonus on top of her win. They also have a drawing for $2100, and every blackjack hit results in one entry to that drawing.
Wednesdays are video poker day. For every $52 a player wagers on video poker, she gets an entry into a drawing for a grand prize of $5200. Also, video poker players are eligible for a $52 bonus after earning 52 entries into the drawing.
Thursdays are perhaps the best day, because it’s 2 for 1 bonuses all day long. Any deposit a player makes on a Thursday is rewarded with a 100% matching bonus. So, for example, if you deposit $100, you’ll receive an additional $100 to play with.
Poker players receive a different bonus offer. They’re eligible for a 100% matching bonus of up to $1000 on their first deposit.
Their racebook offers rebates instead of signup bonuses. All straight bets (win, place, or show) are eligible for a 3% cash rebate, and all exotic bets are eligible for a 5% cash rebate.
Customer service is available via toll free number or via email. I’ve seen feedback regarding the customer service at Bovada on various player forums, and the feedback was mostly positive. The most common observations were that the customer service reps there replied helpfully and quickly and that their issues were solved. The only issues I saw complaints about were the time it took to process a payout, which sometimes takes two or three weeks. Given the legal situation regarding Internet gambling in the United States and the UIGEA regulations in place, it’s not a surprise that it might take a little time to get a check. I’ve seen other players say that it only took 2 hours to process their payment and that they received their check within 3 working days after processing, so it probably has a lot to do with how busy their accounting department is. For example, if you’re expecting a quick payout right after Super Bowl weekend, you’re dreaming. Imagine how much action they see the week before and after that event.
Fewer than 100 different jurisdictions in the world license Internet casinos. Some of them, like the government of New Zealand, only license a single site. Others, like Kahnawake, might license and regulate several dozen gambling sites. Which is better? It’s hard to say.
But when it comes to sites who accept players from the United States, who want to play for real money, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option than Bovada, regardless of who licenses them.