Online gambling laws did not appear yesterday or even a couple of years ago. Many casino laws are centuries old. Is it necessary to know about them before you start playing? Absolutely. You don’t start a game before you know about online gambling regulations.
The problem is that gambling laws by countries differ significantly. Therefore, it may take you months to learn all the peculiarities. But do not be frightened; we have collected all the most critical information in this article. From it, you will learn about:
- Countries where gambling is legal
- Countries where gambling is illegal
- Why every online casino player should know online gambling law
The good news is that you don’t need to study online gambling laws at all; the knowledge you get now will be enough.
Gambling laws in Europe
European Union (EU)
A few e-gaming/online gaming concerns have been addressed by EU law, although the rules and regulations of individual EU member states are primarily unaffected. No EU-wide framework exists for gambling, and it is uncertain if one will ever be established. Regarding gambling, the European Commission ended infringement procedures and complaint handling in 2017. Promoting an EU Digital Single Market for online gambling services does not rank high on the Commission’s list of priorities. It’s now up to each country’s national courts to settle these kinds of issues.
Every player must be appropriately recognized before playing under the stringent Know Your Customer (KYC) requirement, which is common law. The EU’s Anti-Money Laundering Directive also mandates that gaming operators conduct a risk-based evaluation of all players. In general, there aren’t many rules prohibiting people from gambling online. Consumer protection is the primary purpose of online gambling rules, which are often applied to the gaming industry.
Even though the United Kingdom is not a member of the EU, its legal system is worth investigating.
The Gaming Act of 2005 clearly states that online and land-based gambling is lawful if the United Kingdom Gambling Commission regulates the supplier. Gambling regulators in the United Kingdom are among the harshest in the world. Poker, bingo, sports betting, and other popular casino games are under the authority of the Commission.
In general, the Commission is in charge of awarding operating permits and levying fines on entities found in violation of applicable regulations. Aside from ensuring that innocent consumers and gamblers are treated fairly in the gaming industry, they work with casinos to maintain a safe and fair gambling environment by providing numerous tools that assist players in regulating their spending on the platform.
Federal and cantonal gaming legislation exists in Switzerland (state). The Swiss Federal Casino Commission is in charge of awarding gambling licenses throughout the country (ESBK). Comlot, the Swiss Lottery and Betting Board, is to run Swiss lotteries and sports betting.
It was enacted in 2018 that the IP addresses of international gambling websites will be blocked. This was done to ensure that operators were paying their fair amount of taxes. After a transitional period, the law entered into force on January 1, 2019, except for particular websites and applications. All unlicensed gaming alternatives have been shut down as of June. So now there are only legal Swiss online casinos can work.
The Turkish Penal Code imposes jail time, and a monetary punishment for anybody found guilty of providing a place or opportunity for gambling.
The use of information technologies to commit this crime is deemed an aggravated offence under the same statute. Gambling is a misdemeanour under the Misdemeanour Law, which carries an administrative punishment for violators. A cease-and-desist order is issued to any establishment where gambling is taking place.
Gambling laws in North America
Section 201-207 of the Criminal Code of Canada, which deals with bets and gambling, governs federally regulated gaming in Canada. It is illegal in Canada to gamble. However, there are several exceptions to this rule. Section 204 of the Act mentioned above exempts activities such as wagering on legal sporting events and the pari-mutuel system of horse racing and trotting from the prohibition.
Betting on agricultural issues falls under the purview of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. In addition, Section 207 of the same Act states that lotteries are legal if the government regulates them.
Additionally, each state has its regulations, such as the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation Act, 1999 in Ontario, and the Gaming Control Act in New Brunswick.
The United States of America
In the United States, gambling is governed by federal, state, and municipal legislation.
Tribes of Native American descent can control gaming on their grounds, thanks to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988. For example, if it is outlawed by criminal law rather than public policy or any other federal legislation, such games are regulated by the federal government.
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 is another federal legislation that expresses federal regulation of online gambling. The Act stipulated that restricted transactions’ should not be utilized for any purpose of online gambling, focusing on financial transactions. The Interstate Wire Act of 1961 is an essential piece of legislation that outlaws interstate wagering on any sporting event or game via a wire communication service. Still, it exempts it if it is allowed in both the states to which the funds are being moved.
Gambling laws in South America
The gaming industry in Latin America has the potential to surpass that of both Europe and Canada.
However, gaming legislation varies from country to country, and some of these regulations limit the market’s potential for expansion. Nevertheless, as the UK has proven, legislation may benefit the operator, the players, and the country.
Brazil. Because the rules in Brazil were drafted before the internet existed, they do not consider any online activities. As a result, mega-Sena, administered by Caixa Economica Federal, the largest state-owned financial institution in Latin America, does not fall within the definition of unlawful gambling. In Brazil, gambling is legal and widespread, but it is not regulated, and there are no safeguards in place to protect participants.
Argentina. All types of gambling, including sports betting, are legal in Argentina. States, on the other hand, are allowed to pass their legislation. Thus people’s access to games may vary according to where they live. Online gambling is available from certain local providers, although most sports betting is done through overseas bookmakers.
Gambling laws in Africa
There are almost 40 casinos in South Africa alone, which is 30 of Africa’s 54 nations that allow online and offline gambling. Botswana, Ghana, Egypt, Cameron, Kenya, Namibia, Uganda, Morocco, Zimbabwe, and South Africa are some of the largest markets. It’s no secret that the gaming industry is exploding across the continent.
In Africa, finding a legal site to gamble is the biggest problem. If you’re discovered utilizing an unlawful casino on the continent, you might be sentenced to prison and fined. In addition, any money won at these venues will be forfeited.
Gambling laws in Australia
Every state in Australia has regulations regarding gambling, and federal legislation is enforced across the country. The federal law governing gambling in Australia is the Interactive Gambling Act, 2001. Regulators are in place for both online and land-based gaming in Australia. In addition, fair gaming is emphasized by requiring licences and exclusion of lottery services. Aside from that, each state has its own set of rules governing the legality of casino gaming.
For example, the Casino Control Act 1991 and the Gambling Regulation Act, 2003 are among the legislation in place in Victoria, among others. There is also the Betting & Racing Act, 1998 in New South Wales, as well as the Casino Control Act, 1992. This means that gaming is governed mainly by state laws, while the federal legislation regulates gambling in all states on a high level.
Gambling laws in Asia
Islamic law governs most nations in the Middle East, which means they strictly enforce the Quran’s prohibition against gambling save for charitable purposes. Gambling is illegal in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Brunei. If you are caught, you will be punished.
But there are some exceptions. Despite being a part of the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is home to some of the world’s largest casinos. While Lebanon prohibits all kinds of gambling save for those conducted in the country’s one land-based casino, Israel also has a plethora.
Most nations in East Asia have vastly varied legal systems. For example, only sports betting is permitted in Japan and land-based casinos, but Singapore has prohibited even this. All types of gambling are banned in Taiwan unless they are related to sports.
Countries Where Gambling Is Banned
This sort of activity has been firmly outlawed in Cambodia as the country suffered a spike in gambling addiction and problem gambling in the past. Despite this, Cambodians can still participate in five private lotteries authorized by the government. These prohibitions, however, do not apply to foreigners under the Suppression of Gambling Act of 1996. You may participate in various gambling activities at Cambodia’s numerous casinos, so keep that in mind if you ever plan to visit the country.
The Middle East
While certain nations in the Middle East are less traditional and uptight than others, as a general rule of thumb, gambling tends to be forbidden in all of them, as the Quran condemns it unless it’s done for charitable purposes.
North Korea is another country where gambling is prohibited for its residents. Tourists can, however, participate in gambling if they are on a guided tour. Unfortunately, North Korea has only one casino in Pyongyang, so unless you plan to visit this part of the country, you won’t be able to gamble.
How old do you need to be to gamble?
In Europe, players must be at least 18 years old to participate in legal gambling.
This rule isn’t universal, of course. You must be at least 21 years old to bet in numerous countries, including Germany, Ireland, and Belgium.
In Greece, you must be at least 23 years old to bet. Players in Portugal casinos must be at least 25 years old to compete. If you’re from the United Kingdom and plan to visit Portugal, you’ll need to be at least 18 years old to do so.
Except in Alaska, Idaho, Minnesota, and Wyoming, where you may bet for real money if you’re over 18, gamers in the United States must be 21 years old to do so.
In this article, you have learned the most important things about online gambling laws, and now you know all the countries where gambling is legal, which significantly reduces the chance of getting into all sorts of trouble related to local laws. Also, remember that casino laws change regularly, so we recommend you to watch for updates.