Updated Sep 29, 2023
Online gambling has been around for a few decades now. Ever since first online casinos emerged back in the 90s, the iGaming industry has been growing at an exceptional rate. And, while this growth has its positive sides, there are definitely some negatives that need to be discussed.
One of the biggest issues that’s been in the focus lately is legalization of online gambling or, more precisely, putting internet gambling inside a legal framework. While there are many arguments for and against this, the practice shows that those countries that have actually legalized online gambling have done well for themselves.
Is Legalization a Good Thing?
Often, when there is talk about regulating online gambling, people have initial negative thoughts. They see it as a way for the state to restrict their playing options, impose taxes, and in general exercise a higher degree of control over their lives. However, by focusing on the negatives, actual benefits of legalization are pushed aside.
Countries with online gambling laws have strict procedures in place when it comes to determining who can receive an operating license. This helps get rid of dishonest businesses and provides players with the selection of trusted and reputable businesses to choose from. This is important, as these operators adhere to strict rules when it comes to handling your private data and they won’t just ignore you when you want to withdraw your winnings.
Talking about taxation, good laws don’t necessarily have to hurt players, either. Many countries have arranged things so that the operator has to pay the extra cost (Tax) of offering their services and this additional income is also a good thing. It cuts the casinos’ bottom line and instead pumps the portion of the money back into the local economy in a variety of ways.
Online Gambling Laws Across the Globe
There are around 80 countries around the world that have regulated internet gambling in one way or another. These laws vary from quite liberal, over unclear, to rather restrictive. Some of the best known examples used in this discussion are the following:
- United Kingdom allows remote operators to offer their services in the country. However, to do so, they need to acquire a license from the UK Gambling Commission. Rules for acquiring this license are quite strict, so players from the UK enjoy a great level of protection. See the licensed UK online casinos here
Germany -, online gambling in Germany has undergone significant changes in terms of its legal framework.Previously, Germany’s gambling market was regulated by the State Treaty on Gambling 2012 (“Glücksspielstaatsvertrag”), which essentially prohibited the majority of online gambling activities except for betting on horse races. The individual states in Germany had their own interpretations and implementations of the treaty, with Schleswig-Holstein being notable for its more liberal stance and issuing online casino licenses for a brief period in 2012.
However, after lengthy negotiations, the German states agreed upon a new regulation: the Glücksspielneuregulierungstaatsvertrag (GlüNeuRStV), or the State Treaty on the New Regulation of Gambling. This treaty came into effect on July 1, 2021.
Under the new regulations:
- Online casinos and poker are now legal.
- Strict deposit limits are imposed on players.
- Live betting is restricted to certain markets like next goal scorer or final results.
- Advertisements for gambling products face timing restrictions.
Despite the federal framework, the 16 German states retain the authority to set further regulations and licensure within their jurisdictions. Players can expect significant consumer protection measures, such as mandatory deposit limits, stake limits, and more.
It’s crucial to note that regulations might evolve, and specifics could vary among states. If you’re considering participating in online gambling activities in Germany, you should always consult with the most recent local regulations or seek legal advice to ensure compliance
Canada Provincial Level: Each of Canada’s 10 provinces and 3 territories has the authority to regulate and license gambling within their borders, including online gambling. As a result, the rules can vary widely across the country:
- Some provinces, such as British Columbia, Quebec, and Ontario, have set up their own online casinos or sports betting sites to offer regulated online gambling options to residents.
- Ontario also lets online casinos from around the world, offer gambling in Ontario but they need a licensee from the iAGCO. You can see the best online casinos for players from rest of the Provinces here
- Others may not offer provincially regulated online gambling platforms but don’t necessarily prohibit residents from accessing and using offshore online gambling sites.
- Sports Betting: Historically, Canadians could only make parlay bets (betting on multiple games) if they wanted to wager on sports events through provincial platforms. However, in 2021, Bill C-218 was passed, amending the Criminal Code to allow for single-event sports betting, paving the way for provinces to regulate and offer such services. This change is seen as significant and aligns Canada more closely with its neighbor, the U.S., and other global markets in terms of sports betting offerings.
Future Outlook: With the change in sports betting laws and the ever-growing popularity of online gambling, it’s anticipated that Canadian provinces might expand their online offerings or further clarify online gambling regulations in the coming years.
Indigenous-run Casinos: Some First Nations in Canada also operate gaming sites, arguing that they have the sovereign right to do so without provincial interference. This adds another layer to the already complex regulatory environment in Canada.Canada
Online gambling in Canada is a bit of a complex topic, largely because of the nation’s unique division of powers between federal and provincial governments. Here’s a more detailed look at the situation as of January 2022:
- Australia doesn’t allow online gambling anymore. However, the law in place only applies to operators. Players from Australia aren’t breaking any laws by playing at an online casino that chooses to ignore the law and offers its services in the country.
There are also many other European countries that have put online gambling in the legal framework. Some of them only allow state-operated casinos, maintaining the state monopoly over gambling. These types of monopolistic laws are often challenged as they go against certain free trade rules in place in the EU.
Looking at a Big Picture
One of the most important things about these gambling laws is for lawmakers to approach the issue from different aspects. Often, they’ll only focus on the potential income from regulating online gambling but will fail to see things from the operators’ or players’ points of view, leading to some strange stipulations and restrictions.
While there are no perfect laws and every law needs to be reviewed and amended from time to time, legalization of online gambling is generally a positive thing. The quick growth of the iGaming sector has led to many questionable practices that have become commonplace and that hurt players on many levels. Setting up a solid legal framework helps deal with many of these issues.
At the end of the day, everyone is happier to play at a casino where they know their sensitive personal information is kept safe and their money won’t just disappear overnight. As long as lawmakers take time to properly address the issue of regulating online gambling and consider all parties involved before making final decisions, it can only be a good thing.