Online Casino Regulations in Countries around the World
Casinos have been offering their games on the Web since the mid 90s. But when the popularity of online gambling skyrocketed, many countries decided to regulate the market and undertake appropriate measures against it. Despite this, however, in 2011, the global online gaming revenue was approximately $30 billion worldwide, and this number increased to roughly $50 billion in 2017. And if to compare it with the overall gambling revenue of $300 billion in 2011, which then grew to $400 billion in 2016, we will see the difference in 10% that has been gradually increasing from 2011.
So, it’s safe to say that online casinos are expected to become even more popular and replace land-based ones in the nearest future. Still, some countries aren’t welcoming online gambling.
Casino Regulations in Asia
Government opinions in Asia are heavily divided on this matter as most countries still ban gambling. But, Asians love games of chance due to their belief in fate, luck and fortune.
This is one of the biggest gambling regions all over the world. And its popularity and revenue have increased rapidly overtaking the Las Vegas Strip. For comparison, the total gaming revenue for Macau in 2017 was $33 billion, while Las Vegas was $7.09 billion, which only proves that Macau is the gaming center.
The legal gambling age here is 21. Online gambling websites accept bets on horse races, greyhound races, or other sports events, as well as any form of casino games. Generally, online casinos aren’t restricted here as long as they have licenses from the government bodies.
The main governing and regulatory body in Macau is the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) whose task is to define and execute the economic policies for all of the operations related to games of chance. DICJ has been known to bring some really interesting laws and regulations. As for instance, the officials banned all employees from entering casinos while they are off-duty in order to decrease the number of problem gamblers among employees.
Looking back at its history, gambling was initially allowed in 1849 when Macau was a colony of Portugal. Then Macau joined China in 1999 and became its special administrative region. Two years after, the first legal framework was introduced, called “Legal Framework for the Operations of Casino Games of Fortune”. The officials organized the bidding procedure and awarded licenses to the most successful candidates, with most of them being active even today. Right now, there are 41 casinos, offering a variety of titles for the guests.
This country outnumbers Macau by the amount of casinos and active players. Although their total gaming revenue is much smaller, reaching approximately $4 billion.
The Philippines has a long gambling history which originates from the 16th century. Historically, gambling was the hobby of the people from Manila, who played for extremely high stakes. This became a trouble for the Spaniards, and they tried to restrain Filipinos’ passion for cockfights, cards, billiards, etc. This struggle continued when the Americans arrived, but later they reconsidered their views regarding gambling and decided to profit from it. This was the time when the first gambling authority was founded – PCSO. They control gambling activities related to lotteries, keno, horse racing. Then, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) was created which supervises casino gaming.
By the way, they are known for being very open to online gambling, issuing 35 online casino licenses in 2016. These became known as POGO licenses. PAGCOR also assures that the money earned from gaming is used to improve the country. For example, Republic Act No. 7922 says that the money won from games based on luck will serve as revenue which will fund socio-civic projects such as flood control and more. They issued many Republic Acts which control gaming in the Philippines. PAGCOR’s officials frown upon the idea of native Filipinos visiting casinos, so they usually have to pay entrance fees and are imposed with various limits that might even get stricter.
Online gambling isn’t supported here as is declared in the Gambling Act 1935 and its amendment bills. A bulk of online casino sites are blocked by the government-run Internet censorship software. Gambling itself is forbidden except for betting on horse races and national Thai Lottery. But, regardless of these restrictions and prohibitions, it’s widespread for the Thais to play games of chance, especially during different celebrations and festivals. And if we look through their history, we may see that it has been a national tradition of Thais for a long time.
An immense rise of gambling was recorded in the late 19th century when foreign traders and immigrants introduced new variations of casino games. There were special gambling dens and the state approved them realizing that it was an additional source of income. But then, they were banned as the activity resulted in huge money losses for gamblers and thus fuelled crime. On April 1st, 1917 gambling became illegal. Although there was an attempt to make gambling legal with the Gambling Act of 1930, it didn’t last long. Pressed by the media and public, the government was forced to completely ban gambling in 1935.
Here, the situation with gambling is almost the same. It is taken very seriously and it has been outlawed for centuries. Although there’s no clear regulatory system regarding online gambling, running or playing via online casino websites is unlawful. Still, it’s very widespread in Vietnam to gamble online through VPN networks.
Therefore, the government bodies were taking numerous efforts to fight illegal online gambling in 2017-2018. Many believe that the main reason for this lies in the communist regime, which regards games of chance as an inappropriate capitalist pursuit.
In the late 20th century playing lotteries was finally allowed. Then, the Vietnamese authorities approved regional gaming in 2017 and announced the approval of sports betting on international football games, horse and greyhound races.
A lot of casino games are considered illegal here, and it’s enshrined in the Criminal Code, chapter 23. But there are some exceptions like betting on horse races, motor/public sports, lotteries, and so on. They are regulated by special laws and governmental corporations to grow the income of the national and local authorities and provide enjoyment for people.
As for online gambling, it’s hard for the Japanese government to monitor it as well. Thus, many online casinos and sportsbooks continue operating and serving Japanese gamblers in an illegal way.
There were some attempts initiated by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to approve casinos and encourage tourists to visit Japan. And only in July 2018, Japanese legislators signed a bill to legalize casino activities. But there are restrictions. People are allowed to attend casinos 3 times a week, or 10 times a month. Also, they will have to pay an entrance fee of 6,000 yen to support the initiative on preventing gambling addiction.
Gambling is forbidden here. The exceptions are lotteries and horse races. As for online gambling, it has experienced rapid growth in the last couple of years, but it is still heavily supervised by the officials. Although neither the Public Gambling Act of 1867, nor the Information Technology Act of 2000 refers to online gambling, and no specific bill mentions it as an illegal activity.
In general, all gambling operations are under the control of states in India, and they define the laws and gambling policy within their jurisdictions. The primary law is the Public Gambling Act of 1867, and it prohibits operating, being involved in public gambling houses, or visiting them. If someone violates it, the person will face penalties or jail terms.
Only 3 states accept gambling, and they are Goa, Daman, and Sikkim. The last one, by the way, is friendly to online gambling too, and in 2011 the authorities considered providing three online gambling licenses but unfortunately, failed.
Casino Regulations in Europe
It is difficult to talk about the overall stats for Europe, let alone regulations as these differ for every country. Some countries such as Monaco are all about gambling, while others have a pretty negative attitude towards online gaming, such as Russia.
The Island has a very long gambling tradition, especially when it comes to horse racing and betting on various sports. It is one of the countries with the broadest range of luck-based games offered online, including bingo, casino games, and more. The UK is also a pioneer when it comes to making regulations for online gambling.
The primary governing and regulatory body is the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC). They have taken problem gambling to heart, and one of the primary missions of the UKGC is to keep crime and gambling separated and to help people who may develop a problem. They are also very transparent when it comes to statistics, which means that you can find a lot of figures related to the online gambling industry. Furthermore, the UKGC deals with match-fixing and integrity, and offers consultations in order to hear the public opinion. They are required to publish business plans for every year in order to point out the key areas they want to improve, mainly focusing on raising standards and protecting consumers.
They have been doing pretty well lately, as the total gross gaming yield from April 2017 to March 2018 was £14.4 billion.
The UK is also famous for its Gambling Acts which were updated with time, the last one being the Gambling Act 2005 which mainly dealt with protecting children from gambling. This act is also important as it set the basis for regulating online gaming, being one of the first of its kind.
Sweden is one of the leaders when it comes to online gambling, with many popular companies in this industry being Swedish. In fact, Sweden has only four casinos that are land-based, while the majority of them are on the web. Svenska Spel is the main company in this country which makes up for 50% of the gambling market.
The primary governing body is called the Swedish Gambling Authority, and it makes sure that gambling in this country is trustworthy, safe, and, above all, legal. The country is also very active when it comes to regulating the gambling market with The Casinos Act (1999) and The Lotteries Act (1994) being the basis for the development of luck-based gaming. Furthermore, the Authority also focuses on statistics, publishing important annual figures and researching the market regularly which results in various active reports such as, for example, the Swedish Gambling Market 2017.
Sweden recently passed a law which limits the number and amount of bonuses players can receive. According to this law, only new players can receive welcome bonuses, but many do not consider cashbacks and similar features a bonus, sparking a debate that is currently underway in this Scandinavian country.
Gambling has been legal in Spain for more than 150 years, but only lotteries were allowed. However, that changed in the 70s when skill-based luck games were permitted. Nowadays, Spain allows both land-based and online gambling, with gross gaming revenue being approximately €300 million annually. However, the gambling market is heavily regulated by the body called the Regulation of Gambling.
There are two essential gambling acts in Spain. The first was passed in 1977, and it made gambling legal. The other one was passed in 2011, and its primary purpose was related to online gaming. The name of the law is 13/2011 which recognizes three main types of licenses that providers can receive, including bets, contests and something they refer to as ‘other games’ which mainly incorporates various casino games. The regulatory body is required to publish annual reports and other data regularly, including reports on the online gambling market, clinical studies, and more.
The Netherlands’ Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) is a regulatory body which regulates gaming clubs in this country. Online casinos have long been illegal there, and it is estimated that the players from this country usually spend approximately €800 million annually on offshore casinos. However, in February 2019 the authority passed the Remote Gaming Act, which is the first step toward regulation of online games of chance. Moreover, the regulator is going to ensure licensed gambling within the state. Finally, due to a history of widespread advertising that was out of control at one point, the KSA decided to eliminate all TV and printed media ads for online sites.
The Scandinavian country of Norway is one of those areas that frown upon gambling as it is considered illegal in this land. The companies which run everything related to gambling activities are owned by the state. These are called Norsk Tippin and Norsk Riskstoto, and they mostly offer betting on sports, Keno, lottery, and more. Norwegian citizens must also declare tax if they win gambling money in other countries.
Games of chance have a very long tradition in Italy that dates back to Ancient Rome. Nowadays, gambling is proclaimed illegal by the Gambling Criminal Law. However, they have made a distinct difference between games based on luck, and games based on skill. Therefore, games such as lottery, activities such as betting on sports, and related activities are legal and regulated.
Although gambling in Portugal is allowed, it is heavily regulated as licenses are very difficult and expensive to obtain. Therefore, players can enjoy a number of casinos, betting venues, bingo places, and more. Their main regulatory body is called SRIJ which is an abbreviated version of the official Portuguese name. It imposes huge online casino taxes which is one of the reasons why many online casinos decided to leave Portugal. The online gaming was regulated by a Decree-Law 66/2015 which was published on April 29.
Gambling in Germany is permitted at the moment, although it has had its ups and downs in recent history. For example, the federal government declared gambling illegal in 2008, and it remained that way until 2012. Since 2012, Germany has been awarding licenses for casinos, but gambling remained a sensitive issue for this country, as all venues are heavily monitored. Moreover, the online gambling actions that are allowed here include only sports betting, horse races, and various lotteries.
Right now, it seems that people in Germany love to play games and place bets since the market generates approximately €35 billion annually. There is no official supervisory body in Germany as gambling is regulated at the state level. However, the state tends to achieve some kind of uniformity in this area by signing various treaties such as the Interstate Treaty on Gambling which was revised a couple of times.
Until 2019, gambling in Switzerland was divided into two types – casino gambling and betting/lotteries and was recognized by the Swiss Constitution. These two gambling types were subject to different laws. However, all of that changed starting in 2019 when the new Money Gaming Act (MGA) was introduced, and it allows casinos to apply for online licenses. According to Fédération Suisse des Casinos, gross gaming revenue has been declining for the last couple of years, since the highest recorded was 1,000 million CHF in 2007, while the last one recorded in 2017 was approximately 700 million CHF.
Gambling is permitted in Denmark, and its law linked to gaming activities is named the Danish Act on Gambling. It has been active as of 2011 and regulates the industry. Sports betting is prevalent as it is regarded as the major revenue drive in Denmark. The main regulatory body of Denmark is called the Spillemyndigeden and the most recent publications made by them as well as the political parties is concerned with compulsive gambling and initiatives to put a stop to it.
Casino Regulations in the USA
The US is often associated with gambling activities since it is home to Atlantic City as well as Las Vegas. Gaming has been a subject of discussion in the States for a very long time and still faces many legal restrictions in some states, although it is one of the favorite pastimes for many Americans.
Approximately 730,000 people are employed in the industry, and it contributes more than $200 billion to the economy of the US. Furthermore, the gross gaming yield of that market is estimated to reach as much as $495 billion in 2019 due to the fact that sports betting was made legal in 2018.
One of the Acts that caused quite a controversy in the states was the Federal Wire Act from 1961 that essentially prohibited certain types of betting businesses. However, the Act contained vague language and was misinterpreted only to cause controversy which lasts to date.
It is up to individual states to decide to what extent gambling would be legalized. There are certain states which basically do not allow any type of luck-based games, while others such as Nevada and New Jersey turned out to be very open towards this type of entertainment.
Casinos on the web and other luck-based games are still a subject of discussion in the States as there is no law which strictly bans this type of gambling, although some might refer to the Wire Act when it comes to regulations.
Delaware has been considered one of the leading states when it comes to legalization of gambling which also includes online casinos. At the moment, the primary source of gambling income is lottery which Delaware citizens love to play. Moreover, the Delaware Lottery is the central regulatory body as well as the Delaware Division of Gaming Enforcement. The Delaware DGE actually keeps problem gambling at bay and makes sure that no illegal actions are taken in casinos. In fact, they occasionally make arrests for things such as illegal sports betting and payouts, and more. Land-based casinos are also widespread in this state as its casino market includes over 7,500 slot machines and approximately 150 table games.
Pennsylvania has been under the radar for the previous couple of years as they seem to be transitioning from a strict to liberal gambling law. This transition is in the process because of the opening of a couple of land-based casinos which should bring more income to Pennsylvania. Online gambling is declared illegal in this state at the moment, but the law doesn’t define the meaning of the word gambling, which means that there is room for online casinos to appear. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is the primary governing body which imposes all rules and regulations and gathers industry statistics. At the moment, all eyes are pointed at them, expecting their next move in the process of online gambling legalization. They have been very active lately, and even decided to film all their public meetings and put them on their official website.
New Jersey is a gambling paradise in the States along with Nevada. In other words, what Las Vegas is for Nevada – Atlantic City is for New Jersey. It was the first state to introduce the latest innovations in gambling, as residents and visitors of New Jersey can pretty much enjoy all forms of gaming. The approximate gambling revenue is made by the New Jersey Lottery, despite the fact that it is a “casino state.”
The main regulatory body in New Jersey is called the Division of Gaming Enforcement, and its mission is to guard the public interest by keeping the casino gaming industry legitimate and viable, as well as free from influences of various criminals and criminal organizations. They are known for keeping things under control, as their official site even features a detailed list of all authorized gambling-related sites.
The Casino Control Commission of New Jersey publishes a regulatory paper called The Casino Control Act which aims to provide legal information on licensing, internet gaming, casino authorization, and more.
Nevada is the single most popular state when it comes to gambling, with Las Vegas often being a synonym for casinos and casino games. The number of commercial casinos in this state is currently 324, and this tends to increase over time as new casinos are constantly being opened. The main regulatory body is the Nevada Gaming Control Board which regulates all practices, locations, persons and other gambling-related activities. You can take a look at their history of adopted regulations (and their revisions) here. They make sure to cover everything up from gambling to live entertainment.
Although West Virginia is not often associated with gambling, you’ll be surprised to know that this state actually has some very liberal gambling laws. West Virginia has a firm basis for improvement as the West Virginia Gaming Control Board does its best to keep things under control.
Horse races and lottery are the most popular gambling options. Online gambling is recognized by the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act, which was passed in late March 2019.
Casino Regulations in Canada
Gambling with real money and betting are prevalent in Canada, and its gambling laws are somewhat complicated. Gambling is allowed in Canada, and its provinces are free to choose to what extent they want to legalize this activity. However, some laws that are aimed at companies which are registered overseas are not that clear.
Therefore, if you are in Canada, you don’t need to worry whether an online casino is approved by the country, but rather whether your visit to the site is legal. However, no Canadian citizens have been arrested for gambling at overseas sites at this point to our knowledge. The country has an organization called the Canadian Gaming Association which focuses on shaping public policy and expanding access of people to gaming facilities.
One of the interesting regulatory bodies in Canada is the Kahnawake Gaming Commission which is considered illegal by many but is actually entirely legal as it is active only at the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake in Quebec which is often regarded as a separate territory where the majority of Canadian laws do not apply. They are important because the Kahnawake Gaming Commission was one of the first bodies to recognize online gambling and issue licenses to online casino operators. In fact, they actively operate in this field, regularly publishing press releases such as the 2018 Dispute Resolution Summary, and other similar pieces of news.
Casino Regulations in Australia
Aussies are breaking all the records right now as they love to play ‘pokies’ (an Australian term for slots) and other related games. Australia is the leader when it comes to individual annual spending on casino games which is approximately $990. Due to this fact, gambling is heavily controlled and continually supervised on two levels.
The central government is actively included in the industry as a regulatory body, while other organizations exist for every territory in the Land Down Under. In fact, every Australian territory has a gambling authority which you can further explore here. Online gambling is illegal here.
Casino Regulations in New Zealand
New Zealand is quite similar to Australia in everything that is related to gambling, as its residents love betting on horse races, playing lotteries and pokies (slots). The Department of Internal Affairs directly controls gambling. The industry is mostly run by state-owned institutions.
According to the Gambling Act of 2003, online gambling can be considered as legal if the casinos are located outside New Zealand. But it states that it’s not permitted to gamble online within the country. Also, all NZ residents can participate in online poker tournaments and sports betting, and their winnings will be excluded from annual income tax reports.
Gambling on the web has one problem – it is still not entirely defined and can pave the way for criminal behavior on the web. It is not uncommon for inexperienced Internet users to become scammed by casino sites and lose a lot of money. Therefore, many countries do not feel like introducing online gambling at the moment.
However, this type of entertainment has some very positive effect on countries which legalized it as it fills the state budget with additional income, thus improving the overall economy of the country.
To sum up, online gambling still faces a couple of challenges that need to be solved in order to improve safety and security of people who choose to play casino games and bet on sports on the web. If those issues are addressed, online gambling will definitely see better days.