The Global State of Online Gambling Regulation

Online gambling is becoming more and more popular, but how do governments regulate this lucrative industry? Photo: Rawf8, Bigstock

Online gambling has without a doubt proven to be an incredibly profitable and popular part of the casino industry and one of the fastest growing market sectors. in the world. It is certainly true that people enjoy the thrill of casino gambling from the comfort of their own homes and they are eager to browse the latest games, online specials and free spins bonuses.

Despite the success of the concept, not all jurisdictions around the world share the same views on online gambling. Gambling alone has long been a taboo subject in many countries, and many people choose to gamble illegally if they cannot find a legal way to do so.

People who choose to gamble illegally online run the risk of either being scammed by an unscrupulous service or being sued by the authorities. Regardless, it is clear that online gambling regulations vary widely around the world based on cultural attitudes towards the industry.

For these reasons, it is good for regular gamers to be aware of the different gambling regulations around the world. Let’s take a look at how different nations have regulated online gambling.

United States

First, let’s take a look at one of the richest nations in the world and the most culturally ambiguous when it comes to gambling regulations. In America, the powerful gambling tycoons who run brick-and-mortar casinos are strongly opposed to the growth of online gambling, which explains the slowing rate of growth in the United States.

In December 2011, fantastic sports betting, real money casino games and online poker were removed from the wire law. The Wire Act was the background document that explained why online gambling was illegal in the United States and this change means that it is up to states to decide their individual laws.

Unsurprisingly, the first jurisdictions to legalize online gambling were New Jersey and Delaware, both accompanied by Nevada, the home state of iconic gambling city Las Vegas. It didn’t take long for the US market to be explored by major online gambling sites and it is likely that more states will embrace the industry as the societal stigma dissipates.


The State of Online Gaming Regulation Around the World
Australia’s online gambling laws have a loophole that means Australians don’t need to go by. Photo: Antonio Guillem, Bigstock

Traveling halfway around the world, Australia has its own interesting remote gambling laws. In 2001, the government pushed the Interactive Games Act which banned the supply of online games to Australians.

Despite this law, there is a legal loophole that says playing at online gambling destinations is not an offense; so many people simply ignore the Interactive Gambling Act. While online casino games and online poker are considered illegal, online sports betting is completely legalized and systematically activated by the Australian government.


Online gambling is very popular and widely adopted by European countries such as Germany, UK and Spain to name a few with very active online markets. The UK is certainly one of the largest online gambling markets with a huge range of established providers and a large customer base.

While Europe offers much more freedom with regard to accepted forms of online gambling, many jurisdictions require operators to first obtain gambling licenses. UK, Sweden, Netherlands and Denmark all issue remote gaming licenses that allow operators to serve customers in their territory.

Spain also allows these types of gambling and operators can apply for a 10-year license that allows them to serve the Spanish. In Germany, online gambling services were a legal gray area and were at one point banned before specific types were re-authorized.

Internet gambling exploded in Germany when the state of Schleswig-Holstein began create more liberal laws to regulate the market and has been able to grant numerous licenses to potential operators.

Other countries

The State of Global Online Gambling Regulation
Despite the growing acceptance of online gambling, some countries are still strictly against it for fear of creating gambling addicts. Photo: AAW, Bigstock

When it comes to countries that are not as open-minded when it comes to online gambling, Russia, China, and Turkey are good examples. In Turkey, there is only one point of sale through which online gambling can be legally practiced throughout the country.

For the Chinese, all forms of internet gambling are illegal, but they routinely circumvent these regulations by going to internationally hosted websites. In 2006, all forms of online gambling or any game using telecommunications equipment was completely banned in China.

Why the controversy?

Gambling has been part of human culture since people had valuables to trade and has developed through the use of economics, technology, and mathematics. These days, gambling is an incredibly lucrative industry that makes a huge amount of money from people who lose bets.

Gambling was already a controversial activity before it could be practically practiced from a computer or smartphone. With access to gambling services now in people’s pockets through their phones, industry critics argue that people are more likely to develop a gambling addiction.

What’s the next step for the industry?

Ultimately, it appears that the regulations surrounding online gambling take a common sense approach that allows consenting adults to participate in a fun activity without the need to visit a casino. The rise in no deposit online casinos has made participating in the online game less intimidating for those who are trying it for the first time.

It is certainly true that the regulation of online gambling around the world is very much dependent on pre-existing cultural acceptance or lack thereof. Countries that are more cautious about this practice will take longer to adapt to this huge and continuously growing industry.

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