International Online Gaming Laws

There is one type of global business which is proving to be a nightmare and a legal minefield in regards to worldwide legislation and that is the online gambling industry, having been around since the early 1990’s one would have thought that with this industry fast approaching 20 years of existence each different country would have a robust set of rules, laws and legislation in place to cover it.

However nothing could be further than the truth, as this has proven to be an industry which has become one of the fastest growing and hugely successful online phenomenons where governments across the globe have been very slow to react, and even now the legal aspects of gambling online can often be cloudy and obscure.

Some countries however have been very welcoming of online gambling, places like Gibraltar and the Caribbean as well as Malta and Kahnawakee have quickly become established legal jurisdictions for gambling companies, and these places have in place a robust set of rules and regulations in place which allows them to both monitor and regulate this industry whilst also taxing and licensing such gambling businesses.

There are however some countries who have been dragging their feet in regards to online gambling, one noticeable country is the US, in 2006 they passed piece of legislation that made it illegal to send money to a gambling site, however this didn’t cover customers in that country actually placing wagers at such a gambling site and as such many companies are circumventing this law.

In the UK they recently brought in their Gambling Commissions set of rules and regulations in regards to licensing and regulating such sites, and as such any online gambling site wishing to have their servers based in the UK could and would have to pay taxes and licensing fees to do so. However this was not readily taken up by online gambling companies as the fees and taxes charged were much higher than other jurisdictions.

Another aspect of the Gambling Commissions policies which added much confusion and compounded the problem was that they issued a list of what are known as white listed jurisdictions, these are licensing jurisdictions which the Gambling Commission recognizes and as such if an online gambling company holds a license in such a jurisdiction they can legally promote their company to UK residents.

This meant an operator of a gambling site could quite easily get a much lower cost of operating license and pay a much lower rate of tax by simply getting licensed in one of these other jurisdictions, and could then legally advertise their product and gambling services to UK residents.

The UK Gambling Commission are now urgently reviewing and amending their Gambling Laws in the hope that they will attract more licensees and make becoming licensed and regulated in the UK more cost efficient for operators.

Some other European countries have also been bringing out their own rules and laws in regards to online gambling and this adds even more confusion in regards to gambling site operators offering services to residents of those countries.

Spain have recently brought in their own laws in regards to online gambling and as such any operator wanting to legally promote their business and allow Spanish citizens or residents of Spain to legally gamble at their respective gambling sites now need to apply for and get a Spanish online gambling license.

Due to the confusion caused by the many different and unique online gambling laws and regulations from different countries, there are lots of online gambling companies operating online casinos, online better sites as well as online bingo and poker sites who simply do not comply with any individual countries laws in regards to whom they permit to gamble at their respective sites.

Many such companies simply apply for a gambling license or even a simple company license in a country offering them at reduced rates and then permit anyone to gamble at their sites, and as such this often puts the users of these gambling sites at great risk, as they have no legal protection or help available should they run into any problems at such a site. This is one industry that really does need to be heavily supervised and monitored, and eventually it may be, but currently it most certainly isn’t!