Anyone who has ever gambled online is likely to recognise the sheer scope of the online casino sector. Arguably numbering among the most competitive industries in the world, it’s provided by people from across the globe, offering an exceptional degree of choice to players.
However, this can lead to some confusion, especially among the amateur and ill-informed. Presented with so many different gambling outlets, all of them promising enticing bonuses and attractive special offers, consumers are left wondering where their best option lies. To find the best offerings they must first understand an important distinction – between regulated markets and their unregulated counterparts – and this is not as simple as it may appear on the surface.
The difference between regulated and unregulated markets
Gambling is a popular pastime across the globe, with millions of players from dozens of different countries enjoying its thrilling highs and exhilarating lows, but not everyone who gambles will share the same experience. Much of this comes down to the individual provider, and more widely, the global gaming market they belong to. That’s because these broadly fall into two categories: they’re either regulated or unregulated.
Importantly, this is not as black and white as it seems on paper, for while regulated markets are often safer and come with an inherent guarantee that players will be treated fairly, there are also unregulated markets that can offer much the same.
It’s important to understand how this distinction is defined. Essentially, regulated markets are ones in which online betting is legal and governed by the laws of that country. In these regions, bookmakers can openly advertise their services. Equally, as there is a legal structure in place these services are held to high standards of transparency and trustworthiness.
It’s less easy to define what an unregulated market looks like, as these can differ widely from country to country. While in some areas, the activity is banned entirely, in others it is not that gambling is prohibited, and more that it has not been explicitly legalised.
Is it safe to gamble when a market is unregulated?
This distinction between regulated and unregulated markets leads to an obvious question: is it safe to gamble on the latter? The answer is not a simple one, and in large part, it depends on the specific provider and the country they’re registered in.
For example, some of the world’s foremost markets are located in unregulated countries, including Canada, New Zealand, the United States, South Africa, and Australia. This means that while it’s not necessarily a bad idea to use a provider who is registered in one of these regions, players may not have the same degree of protection to fall back on as they otherwise would.
So, should they avoid these markets entirely? The answer is to proceed with caution. We’ll take Norway as an example. While its market is technically classed as unregulated, there are certain companies that are authorised to offer gambling services, with gaming strictly controlled by the government and several player protections in place.
What’s more, a body known as the Lotteri-og Stiftelsestilsynet exists, functioning as a gambling authority in much the same way as the UK’s Gambling Commission, which is often held up as a model for regulation and monitoring performed correctly.
This means that if a player were to stumble across a Norwegian provider online, via a respectable casino guide, they would not necessarily need to discount it as an option (assuming that other factors, such as pricing and special offers, made it seem particularly attractive). That’s because of sites such as the one linked to only feature reputable and trustworthy providers, who have been judged as safe by a panel of industry experts and are properly licensed. While they may operate in an unregulated market, they can thus be deemed safe to use.
When it comes to deciding between regulated and unregulated gaming markets, it’s very much a case of proceeding with caution, with players always urged to do their research and look to their own interests before committing to any individual provider.
Please play responsibly. For more information and advice visit www.begambleaware.org