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How Is Online Gambling Regulated Throughout The World?

Online gambling is a globally popular pastime for countless punters. Read below to learn more about different gambling legislation around the world.

Online Gambling Legislation & Regulation: How It Works

Most punters don’t consider gambling industry legislation and regulations when enjoying online gambling. It makes sense that any such industry should boast globally uniformed regulation, but that is not the case. However, it would help if you thought about the various legal implications of indulging in this pastime for several reasons.

The global internet gambling industry is still in its infancy. However, this sector’s popularity skyrocketed in recent years, and most lawmakers were slow on the uptake. Consequently, internet gambling regulations were late to the party in most countries worldwide. Nowadays, some regions continue to rely on outdated laws, others make efforts to keep up with the industry’s development, but the situation is looking up.

Understanding that most countries have different and unique online gaming regulations is crucial. In the article below, we’ll take a look at the importance of considering this legislation and how various countries tackle this ever-evolving challenge. Let’s begin.

Online Gambling Regulations: The Importance Of Understanding

The most critical consideration with online gaming and betting is “giving” your money to third parties you don’t know. These “faceless” entities receive funds from countless punters worldwide. But, very few players know about the people or companies operating the various gambling sites. Ultimately, transparency is a vital regulation point within the industry. The reason is that players should understand they are dealing with trustworthy organizations and can deposit funds with them safely.

There are three primary purposes of online gambling regulation, and these include:

  • Ensuring online gamblers receive fair and safe treatment
  • Ensuring gambling sites operate ethically
  • Ensuring gambling sites work lawfully.

Depending on the region or country, gambling sites should comply with all relevant laws. Ethical operation and practices are another crucial obligation, with numerous other requirements. For example, each operator’s advertising should not be misleading, and each site should incorporate anti-underage gambling and anti-money laundering measures.

Transparency of terms and conditions is just as vital, including customer deposit protection. Receiving winnings within a reasonable period and having a fair winning change also make the cut in terms of ethical operation and appropriate treatment criteria.

The key takeaway here is that online gambling regulation’s primary purpose is to protect players. However, such legislation only works if you play on licensed and legal sites. Therefore, you should stay informed about certain casinos’ legitimity and avoid rogue operators. Unfortunately, while such sites are few, they still exist and occasionally manage to slip through the cracks to survive.

How Different Countries Tackle Internet Gambling Regulation

Let’s inspect more closely how various countries cope with online betting and gaming regulation. The regions we’ll observe are:

  • The United States
  • The United Kingdom
  • Canada
  • Europe
  • Asia
  • Australia & New Zealand
  • Africa
  • South America.

The United States

This country is one where land-based gambling has old and turbulent roots, but things are not so clear with its online counterpart. The reason is that US residents have enjoyed internet gambling for years without issues. However, the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) somewhat changed things in 2006.

This act prohibited financial institutions from processing transactions between gambling sites and US residents. As a result, some operators withdrew from the market, but some remained. As of recently, individual states have openly welcomed numerous operators, with some planning the same and others still undecided.

The United Kingdom

This country has legalized internet gambling and adorned it with clear, precise, and fair regulations. As a result, countless sites can operate outside and inside the country and provide gambling services to the country’s residents as of 2014. However, the UKGC (United Kingdom Gambling Commission) must first directly audit and license each operator.

Before 2014, gambling operators needed to have one of several white-listed licenses to accept UK punters. Consequently, the change in legislation makes the region highly appealing for operators, but the high tax rates somewhat dampen the business potential.


Similar to the United States, Canadian internet gambling legislation is confusing. On the one hand, legislation is in place that prevents gambling operators without a government-issued license to offer services to Canadians. On the other hand, no laws prevent Canadians from engaging in online gambling on overseas sites.

Similarly, individual Canadian provinces can regulate internet gambling in their regions independently. There are several examples of local governments owning and operating unique gaming and betting outlets.


There are numerous countries throughout Europe, and each region regulates internet gambling independently. The European Commission governs the European Union member countries to a certain level, affecting what these countries can and cannot do. But, the Commission does not represent a centralized governing body, meaning each country can pass individual legislation as it wishes.

Consequently, some countries boast high-level regulation, and others less so. The most attractive European markets are Norway, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Russia.


This region is similar to Europe in that each country can freely pass individual gambling regulations. However, the continent does not feature a uniform approach to land-based or internet gambling. As a result, some areas feature completely legal brick-and-mortar gambling venues while this activity is prohibited in other regions. Regardless, the most popular areas include Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Japan, China, India, Israel, Thailand, and Malaysia.

Australia & New Zealand

In 2001, the government in Australia passed the Interactive Gambling Act (IGA) to regulate online gambling. As a result, Australian residents can only engage in lottery games and sports betting that Australian companies offer. The local governments work together with the central government to enforce the IGA, but nothing prevents Australians from registering and playing at foreign gambling sites.

In New Zealand, punters rely on the straightforward Gambling Act of 2003. This act prevents domestic companies from offering gambling and sports betting services to New Zealanders. However, no law explicitly forbids New Zealand residents from using gambling sites overseas.


Numerous African countries look favorably upon different gambling forms. You’ll find brick-and-mortar casinos in multiple African regions, but South Africa is among the most popular choices for tourists. This country is at the forefront of online gambling regulation and is one of the few countries in the continent to have passed internet gambling legislation.

South America

Most South American countries also have a welcoming position on gambling’s legality but in varying forms. For instance, Brazil legally allows its residents to partake in lotteries and horse racing. Additionally, most of South America also allows foreign website online gambling.