The internet is a very hard thing to legislate. While you’re able to walk into a brick-and-mortar casino and know the laws of the land apply, the same can’t strictly be said of an online website as you don’t know where they are based and which rules they are following unless you do a bit of research.
This means that we live in a world where each region has different laws to try and regulate online gambling. This is why you’ll see many websites aim to attract customers from one country while actually being based in another. This can often be seen in the UK where a large number of the online casinos used will either be based in the likes of Malta or Gibraltar.
Companies Try to Get Around the Law
This allows a company to avoid paying their full complement of tax while also abiding by laws that might not be as strict. Countries still have a choice though and can ban websites if they see fit. In the UK they have banned any website that offers bootleg downloads and they could easily do the same to a company that was violating their laws.
One aspect that generally applies to all gambling companies is that they have to be given a license with which to operate. This license will be granted on the basis that the company will adhere to all the rules on fixed odds and the payouts expected. If a company breaches these rules then its license can be withdrawn and it will no longer be able to operate.
How does the United States Regulate It?
If the online gambling laws are not easy to follow from country to country, in the United States it is a much more difficult story as the rules can vary wildly from state to state. The laws which were introduced in 2006 clouded the issue as it made it unlawful for banks to process payments between US residents and such gaming sites which led many to feel as though it was illegal.
Recently though more states have been open to online casinos for real money with some licenses now being given. The gambling situation in America is often fluid and confusing, with residents in the same country having to play by many different rules.
How does the Rest of the World Legislate for Online Gambling?
Canada is another country that has a confusing situation regarding online gambling. It is illegal for companies to provide any kind of betting and gaming services to Canadian citizens but those citizens are free to use any foreign website. Much like America, some provinces now have their own rules and have started operating their own online betting outlets.
In the United Kingdom if you want to participate in online gambling, then it is completely legal while being very well regulated. Only certain territories are able to advertise and support UK residents, and there is very clear legislation on what is and isn’t allowed. Due to the high taxes imposed by the UK government though a lot of companies that operate for UK customers are in those allowed territories we previously mentioned.
In mainland Europe, countries are able to enforce online gambling laws as they wish with guidance from the European Commission. Where it is permitted – there is heavy legislation; and where it is not – it’s very difficult to be able to gamble due to the restrictions that are in place.
The situation is mainly the same in Asia where one county will vary to the next without a standard practice of regulating online gambling. In South America the situation is different as gambling is more accepted but a lot of foreign websites are used. In Africa land-based casinos are increasingly popular but online casinos are more of a rarity, with South Africa being a notable exception.
Circumventing the Rules
While many countries won’t give a license to any gambling company on their own shores they often don’t have specific rules relating to gambling with overseas companies. Therefore, it can be very hard to stop their residents from using them, especially with the ever-increasing ways that someone can deposit money into an online casino.
There are many jurisdictions around the world that are happy to support gambling companies that focus on residents from a different country. You have places like Antigua and Barbuda which are famous for their gambling licenses as are the likes of Gibraltar and Malta among others. They all have strict rules on gambling but offer companies a safe haven from which to operate.
For Some it’s Too Difficult
With an ever-increasing knowledge of online systems though we could see a boost in online gambling from people who would otherwise not be permitted to do it. If an individual knows how to hide their IP address and has a PayPal account then there is very little that a country could do in order to stop them from gambling. Whether someone would want to go to this extreme amount of steps or not is another question.
Countries Do the Best They Can
For a country, trying to regulate something that is worldwide is very difficult but there are ways to stop it, just as the UK has done with websites which offer torrents and bootlegs. If you put barriers in front of people though they will learn to get around them.
Instead, most counties and states who permit online gambling will have their own specific set of criteria that the gambling companies have to live by if they want to get a license. These laws help keep customers protected by ensuring fair odds and fair payouts on their games.
If a country has no rules against overseas gambling though then they are powerless to enforce anything and are instead reliant on the licenses from other countries to keep their residents safe. Regulating online gambling is a tricky business and many countries are confused about how to do it.
Author Bio: Julia Beyers