Read on for the rules and regulations
Online gambling is a major industry nowadays, with over 70 countries around the world legalising and regulating it so that it’s easily accessible, safe and available to any one who wants to play within the countries borders. But the rules and regulations differ across the globe and if you’re thinking of doing some world travelling while still playing your favourite casino games, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on what the local law is to make sure you don’t fall on the wrong side!
Home of great gambling sites like Betfair online casino, the United Kingdom is a great example of what online gambling legislation should look like. There are lots of rules and regulations and conditions that have to be met before before being granted a license that guarantees anyone playing will be protected and have a decent chance of winning. By contrast, the only restriction on players are that you must meet the minimum age requirements of being 18+. This is probably the optimal situation for online gamblers – as long as you’re over 18 you can play to your hearts content and, provided the operator you’re dealing with is legitimate, you have legal protections in place to make sure you’re protected. Other countries though can be somewhat more draconian.
Sweden’s laws are a little peculiar, at present they have only one licensed operator which is the state-run Svenska Spel that’s got a bit of a monopoly. Sweden is looking at moving to a license distributing model either this year or next. It’s estimated that for the first nine months of 2017, unregulated iGaming made up approximately a quarter of the country’s whole gambling sector with a revenue of SEK4.045 billion. With a colossal amount of money on offer, it’s no surprise that Sweden’s hoping to start taxing that. If you’re a player in Sweden, it looks like there’s only the one game in town right now. Fortunately, a few operators also have sites available in Sweden on an associated license so they can be played at too by Swedish players. At least until they approve legislation to license other operators.
New Zealand has a peculiar policy, in 2003 they passed the Gambling Act that has a few peculiarities in its wording that makes it a little difficult to play online. There’s a passage that prohibits “remote interactive gambling” so things like taking a bet over the phone and, frustratingly, accessing an online casino are limited while gambling at a casino or race-track would be totally legal. Fortunately, the wording of the law only concerns gambling in New Zealand, it’s not illegal to bet or play casino games if the site itself is based overseas. It might be a bit of a struggle but as long as the site is overseas then you’re covered. Slightly more generous than the Australian government allows their players, since 2016 Australian punters aren’t allowed to access casino or poker sites and are only allowed to bet on sporting events.
Germany is a peculiar example as they effectively banned internet gambling in 2008 with their Interstate Treaty on Gambling that was signed by nearly every state involved. In 2012 they amended the treaty after pressure from the EU with 20 potential licenses that operators could apply for, the cut-off date for the governments decision has been extended multiple times and the licenses have still not been granted. However, also in 2012, the state of Schleswig-Holstein, the northernmost state in Germany, decided to have its own gambling laws and issued about 50 licenses before signing the same ITG as every other state in 2013. However, the licenses couldn’t be revoked so a handful of sites operated in a hazy grey area with their license set to run out this year. What Germany does next isn’t clear but if you’re gambling in Germany, it would be worth keeping an eye out to make sure your favourite site is still legal!
Saving the most complex for last, America’s relationship with gambling (both off and online) is a muddled one where certain states allow gambling and casinos while others will have strict laws against it. There’s no federal law against it, so nothing that covers the entire of America, but state by state the laws change and morph depending on where you are and what you bet on. Generally speaking, as with New Zealand, you can bet on international online casinos but it might be dangerous to do so. Sports bets are 100% illegal at a federal level, but only for the person taking the bet. Provided you’re covered at state level, you ought to be alright with your bets but it’s definitely worth checking.
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