Guide to Gambling Laws
Online casino venues are enjoying a notable increase in number over the last decade and the industry keeps growing. Surfing the internet, you will encounter a plethora of casino sites offering an exquisite game selection and bonus opportunities. But, are they all legal?
Before you get into the online gambling business, it may be smart to brush up on your legal knowledge and do some proper market research. Online gambling has been a murky topic since its beginning, and each country has its own set of regulations that could affect you as a potential customer. This is why we decided to have a quick breakdown of the legality of online businesses found in every part of the globe.
Countries that Ban Online Gambling
At this moment, there are seven countries in total that ban online gambling and that includes sports betting as well. If you choose to gamble in North Korea, Lebanon, Kuwait, Singapore, Brunei, Qatar, or the United Arab Emirates — you can forget about that. The online gambling market didn’t get a chance to develop here, but let’s be clear — it exists. The market is rather small and operates under suspicious circumstances — hence why, we suggest avoiding these gambling markets.
The European Market
Europe as a whole presented a rather gambling-friendly behavior. Ever since the expansion of the online gambling industry, Europe started as the most significant market pool where this sort of behavior is not seen as taboo.
There are plenty of regulated online gambling websites based in the UK, Germany, and Spain, being the largest source of the market. In Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, and Sweden online gambling laws and residents are fully supportive towards the industry. Quite a list, right?
However, some countries have issues with gaming online, but act completely supportive towards brick-and-mortar casinos. These countries include France and Iceland. In spite of that, the residents of these countries take advantage of the online gambling opportunities in spite of the federal laws.
But, if you consider gambling in Turkey, say goodbye to that idea immediately. The attitude towards gambling is strongly affected by their religious belief since, like in most Muslim countries, gambling is strongly prohibited. The fines are severe, and they start with high financial penalties ranging from jail time to corporal punishment even.
America — the Promised Land?
When it comes to the United States, the legality varies from one individual state to another. Seen as a whole, the online gambling industry is not deemed legal or illegal by the government, and they leave this decision to every state individually. It is interesting that the vast majority of them opposes the online gambling industry. Hence, the only thing that can get past their laws is the establishment of offshore companies. These operators usually conduct shady business and have a poor reputation. They are not monitored by the government’s regulatory bodies, and paradoxically, they do not accept US players (most of the time).
In spite of these terms, online gambling is still on the rise in the United States since 70% of all the players, in fact, come from the States.
When it comes to Canada, the situation is a bit different. In Canada, gambling laws also vary from one province to another, so you should do your homework before choosing a province. They pay more attention to legal age requirements and the harmful effects of gambling, but their overall attitude towards gambling is positive.
Some countries in Central America and the Caribbean Islands are also positive towards online gambling but to some extent. However, Cuba is not a place where you should even consider gambling, it is strongly prohibited.
Africa — the Growth in Popularity
More than half of the 54 countries that are in Africa completely legalized all kinds of gambling, including online venues. However, you should be extremely careful when choosing your country of choice since the ones that prohibit gambling as a whole, implement some incredibly high penalties and even some time in jail. The countries with the most prominent gambling community in Africa include Egypt, Kenya, Cameron, Ghana, Morocco, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Uganda, and the South African Republic. Here, you will be free as a bird.
The Middle East — the Most Substantial Penalties
Since gambling is strongly prohibited in the Quran, it is only natural to see gambling communities struggling to find offers of online gambling venues. As in most countries, there is an exception to the rule.
For instance, in Lebanon, there is only one government-sanctioned brick-and-mortar casino, and that remains their only choice to this very day. While online gambling is not allowed. Dubai is the home for enormous casino resorts even though the country laws vehemently oppose gambling. The same goes for Israel, even though they thrive in the online casino industry that accepts players from different countries but their own. Our strong advice is to avoid any form of gambling in these countries since stiff punishments await those brave, or foolish, enough to try it anyways.
Asia — Diverse Attitude
Some countries used to have a really positive attitude towards gambling, and they used to see it as a form of entertainment. However, at the moment, this practice is considered to be extremely harmful. For instance, Singapore used to be an excellent gambling destination that allowed online gambling as well, but they have outlawed it recently. The situation goes the other way when it comes to Japan since this country used to be opposed to gambling and this form of entertainment was strongly forbidden. Nevertheless, times change, and at the moment you can find a wide array of land-based casinos and sport betting choices online. The same goes for Taiwan, but when it comes to South Korea and Malaysia — they have two casinos in total. But, online betting is generally allowed.
But if you thought about finding a gambling Mecca in Asia, there is one place you could visit — Macau. This is the biggest gambling market out there with a plethora of both online and land-based casinos that residents and tourists can happily take advantage of.
When it comes to India, this country banned gambling, but if you are a fan of state lotteries — India will be the place for you. Their residents have been enjoying them for hundreds of years. Still, there are some floating and online venues in some parts of India, but you will not be thrilled with the limited choice they offer.
Australia and New Zealand
This may be silly to you since, in the last decade, the gamblers from down-under used to be one of the most active gamblers in the world. No matter if it’s sports gambling or slot machines — known as pokies down there — the residents of Australia used to be obsessed with this form of entertainment. That practice was put to an end with the Gambling Bill passed in 2017 when the country banned almost all casino sites. Soon after, the operators experienced troubles with adhering to all the necessary regulations and paperwork needed to start a business there and ultimately gave up. Especially since they could be looking at severe sanctions if they decide to accept Aussie players.
The situation seems brighter in New Zealand, but they also face severe restrictions and have to look for foreign businesses. This results in many rogue operators trying to put themselves on the market. Meaning, the players sign up to unlawful gambling establishments that lack a proper license and a regulatory body which makes sure that they are safe. When there is no local authority looking after you and protecting your rights, corruption is an all-time high. So, players from Australia and New Zealand — make sure to commit to a reputable company.
There are no universal rules, and you can never be sure if you are dealing with a trusted operator due to the gambling laws that limit their options; usually, this opens the door for all kinds of rogue operations.
The gambling industry is on the rise and will continue to do so, especially if you add the endless online possibilities to the equation. But this borderless industry is a headache for every country out there and its laws. The world gambling map keeps on changing; yet, with some proper research, you can stay ahead of the curve. After all, it’s your job to protect yourself, and your sensitive data, from online predators — in this case, rogue casinos. It’s no hassle, and winnings mean absolutely nothing if you can’t cash them out, right?
Keep your priorities in mind and play safely!