Is Online Casino Legal?

Online gambling is still a relatively young “economy branch”, so this seems like a logical question.

Along with the development of the internet and other advanced technologies, online casino advances as well. It gets new forms over and over, so law regulations are changing as well. Therefore, it is hard to give a straight answer to this question.

Of course, some things are pretty clear, as certain things are allowed while others are completely banned. However, a vast majority of online gambling still remains in the grey zone. After all, this “industry” brings billions of dollars every year, so we could debate all day long about the reasons why things aren’t completely settled. In the following paragraphs, we will focus on the things you’re allowed, as well as on the things you shouldn’t do.

Online gambling is largely in the grey zone but that doesn’t mean you need to know the law extremely well if you want to play an online casino. Basically, it all depends on the part of the world you’re living in. In most countries, there is no legal act that directly forbids you to wager. In practice, this means that you won’t be sanctioned if you play on off-shore websites. This may sound great but also brings a couple of issues from the player’s perspective, especially in terms of possible frauds.

From that side, you are pretty much safe. On the other side, it is critical to know where a certain online casino is located. In many countries of the world, including the United States, you’re not allowed to put bets in casinos that are placed in the U.S. Therefore, check the casino’s location and then take a look at the country’s law regulations. Still,  a good thing is that a lot of legal authority has been transferred to states, so it’s quite easy to find parts of the U.S. where you can gamble without any fear of possible consequences. The states that are considered to be most advanced in this legal field and that allow various forms of online gambling are New Jersey and Pennsylvania. More and more states are starting to follow this example.

Generally, online casinos are allowed in most countries of South America, Australia, Carribean etc. In countries like Russia and China, the situation is pretty much the same as in the United States. Online Gambling is also banned in many Asian countries, including India and most Arabic countries.

The UK is widely recognized as one of the most online casino-friendly countries in the world. Yes, taxes are very high but in return, both players and operators get full legal protection. Pretty much all forms of online betting are legal and a good thing to know that the government has a well-organized system in terms of gambling addiction prevention.

In most European countries, as well as in Canada, various kinds of licenses are required. These licenses are less or more strict, depending on the state, so you should be quite cautious in this case.

According to Hector Brown at Foxbonus (an international comparison site for casinos), the regulations in Europe are changing at a faster pace than ever before with a clear trend that European countries are regulating their market to protect players as well as receiving tax income based on revenue or profit on the licenced operators.

Another interesting thing we should mention in terms of European online casino legislation is that, even though the EU government is trying to align its members in terms of legislation, many fields are still in an early phase. Online gambling is one of them and the regulations can largely differ from country to country.

For example, countries like France, Portugal and Italy recognized online gambling years ago. On the other side, countries like Germany and Netherlands have finally come with new sets of laws that will apply in July. According to them, online gambling will finally be completely legalized, though that doesn’t mean there won’t be restrictions.

Speaking of restrictions, online gambling won’t be advertised before 9 PM, while taxes will be quite high, both in cases of operators and players. Of course, the classic licensing method will be practiced, which means that operators will have to meet a number of requirements in order to get permission to provide services in certain countries.

When it comes to what’s not allowed, there is a couple of things that are pretty straightforward. For example, you’re definitely not allowed to advertise online betting on your website. Even giants companies are not protected.

We saw in the past that even companies like Google or Microsoft were fined for advertising online gambling. Also, banks are not allowed to transfer funds that originate from online casinos. For these reasons, there is a big number of casinos from different parts of the world that don’t accept bets from players that are located in the United States, Russia, and China.

Still, most abroad casinos will accept bets from these countries. As I’ve already mentioned, online gambling is still largely in the grey zone and still has to be regulated by law more precisely. Therefore, it seems also impossible to declare online wagering against the law.

As you can see, things are pretty complicated with an online casino, as they are in many other aspects of the internet business. A lot of things are yet to be regulated but a good thing is that most governments won’t take advantage of players if certain fields are still non-regulated. Therefore, even if you live in a country where there are no domestic operators, you can still enjoy online gambling (in most parts of the world). The catch is in sticking with the websites that operate in countries that are well known for their online gambling regulations, where licensing requirements are relatively high. A perfect example would be Malta.

All in all, our recommendation would be to keep in mind all the mentioned things in this article and to stick to websites that are registered in countries where the online casino is allowed. If there’s no such thing in your country, stick with the websites that operate in part of th world where these fields are completely regulated. We’ve already mentioned a couple of good examples.

You can read more about the future of the iGaming industry here.