Have you ever come across an online casino website saying that gambling in your country is blocked? Surely you must have experienced such restrictions at least once. Seeing such messages can be annoying but it also makes you think about the most important question. Is gambling illegal? And what if it is not?
Over the years the number of misconceptions regarding online gambling and casinos has been increasing. Many people fear the legal consequences they might face. Therefore, numerous people interested in iGaming postpone taking the first step into playing online.
Is gambling online illegal, or are online casinos legal? Time to debunk some popular myths.
Is Online Gambling Illegal? What Is Legal Gambling?
What is legal in one country, might not meet the law’s requirements in another. Thus, when it comes to asking if is gambling illegal or legal, the answers might vary from state to state. In fact, there are many factors worth explaining in order to get a grip on this diverse subject.
In short, legal gambling stands for actions that a legal online casino performs in alignment with national law. These activities can be different in specific regions of the world, as well as countries, and even smaller administrative units. For example, there are significant differences in understanding what is illegal gambling between Nevada and New Jersey.
What makes gambling legal is usually defined by the local gaming law, which is usually a set of regulations from a couple of law areas. These principles can include the minimum age of a player, taxation of winnings, and many other aspects. We will cover all of them a bit later.
Understanding Casino Legality
You might wonder why is gambling illegal in certain nations while being legitimate in others. Sincere to say, most nations on the planet support online gaming in some kind. It is critical to comprehend the elements that must be taken into account when it comes to the issue of legality:
- Gaming law. Countries where gambling is illegal tend to describe penalized activities in the local laws. These can include using both stationary casinos and online iGaming platforms.
- Casino license. When choosing an online legal casino, you ought to review the company’s license. In general, licensed casinos work in compliance with international laws, thus being safe and secure.
- Regulations. Once obtaining a casino license, such platforms become regulated by the right authorities. These organizations include the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority (GRA), and the UK’s Gambling Commission.
- Age of restriction. How old do you have to be in your country to gamble legally? Sometimes it is 18 (most EU countries), 21 (the US), or even 22 (Ukraine), so you would be advised to comply with your state law.
Generally speaking, the diversity of regulations is what makes many people ask if is gambling illegal or legal. Well, it depends. Before diving deeper, we need to explore what makes a certain online casino legitimate.
Legalization and Regulation
When looking for a legal casino online, you may run into hundreds of different sites from around the globe. How can you be certain that the website you visit is legitimately legal and will not scam you? Straight to the point: legalization and regulation are what makes iGaming sites legit.
An online legal casino needs to be regulated by a gaming control board. There are multiple government agencies, which are bound to propagate guidelines and protocols describing the state of gaming within a specific jurisdiction. If an Internet casino is regulated, you will find such information on its website, along with its license number.
To resolve doubts while checking is gambling illegal, take a look at the following inter-regional gaming control boards:
- Gaming Regulators European Forum (GREF)
- International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR)
- North American Gaming Regulators Association (NAGRA)
There are also numerous national regulators across Asia and Europe, among which you can find the most popular ones:
- Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau
- Casino Regulatory Authority of Singapore
- Gibraltar Regulatory Authority
- Malta Gaming Authority
- Gambling Commission (UK)
- Alderney Gambling Control Commission
- Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission
What about North America? In the United States, gambling is governed by federal law as well as state-specific regional regulations. Each Canadian province regulates gambling under its own set of legislation but also in collaboration with the Canadian gambling Association (CGA),.
Licensing and Compliance
Is gambling illegal at all if there are professional institutions taking care of the market? In fact, world-renowned gaming regulators are responsible not only for controlling how a legal gambling website work. They also possess the right to grant or reject gaming licenses. Each company that applies for a license needs to acknowledge the terms of veracity, trustworthiness, and consistency.
In other words, each new gaming company that wants to legalize its activities needs to apply for a license. Here is the legalization process explained in a few simple steps (details may vary based on the authority board):
- Registering the company under local regulations.
- Gathering all the compulsory papers needed to run a company.
- Opening a bank account.
- Completing the casino license application form of a specific jurisdiction.
- Paying all application fees required by the gaming control board.
- Acquiring a temporary license while the application is being processed.
- Reviewing the online casino website hosting.
- Obtaining the license once everything is in order.
What is important, the application process involves a thorough investigation of any online casinos that would like to be licensed. Specific actions are carried out by a gaming control board to exclude any potential crooked deals and scammers. These include groups involved in organized crime, which play an important part in places where online gambling is illegal.
Once granted the official permission to organize online gambling by one of the regulators, a casino needs to comply with its principles. Its license can be revoked if a platform gets involved in any unlawful or prohibited acts.
Debunking the Myth of Illegality
So, taking regulations and licenses into consideration, is gambling online illegal?
Sharing the view on the illegality of casino games is a popular myth made to discredit gaming platforms that work in accordance with the rules of law. The time has come to debunk that myth. Let us contemplate this matter for a while.
If an Internet casino has an active license and is regulated by an authorized association, it is 100% legal. Nevertheless, there are several countries that try to restrict residing users from accessing such iGaming websites.
A good example is Poland. Why is gambling illegal in this EU country? The answer is derived from the novelization of the local gaming act, which came to life in 2017. Based on that regulation, there is only one, state-controlled online casino, which is called “legal”. Access to foreign gaming websites operating under license is blocked for all players, who use a Polish IP address.
Therefore, if you travel to Poland, you might be deprived of experiencing your favorite casino operator. Still, it does not make a legal casino online illegitimate. The best advice before any journey would be to explore countries, in which gambling is illegal due to a national monopoly.
It is crucial to underline that creating the myth of iGaming illegality can be harmful to both the players and the gaming platforms. Such actions stop citizens in some places from playing online games. Licensed casinos must fight all accusations and claims that online gambling is illegal.
Is Gambling Illegal? Misconceptions and Stereotypes
When asking are online casino legal, there are various misconceptions and stereotypes regarding the topic. To debunk some popular myths, we need to address some of the most commonly shared false impressions:
|Gambling stereotype||What people believe||What is the truth|
|Online gaming is illegal and a criminal activity||Countless people think gambling makes players criminals.||Choosing legal online casinos is completely lawful. Even if a player uses an illegal gambling site, they might do so out of ignorance, rather than criminal intentions.|
|Gamblers should be excluded from society||Casino adversaries often treat players without respect, claiming their activities are bad behavior||Gaming enthusiasts often choose online games out of different underlying factors. These include economic difficulties, addiction, or peer pressure. Instead of exclusion, these people could use a helping hand in fighting their personal issues.|
|Casinos online are controlled by illegitimate establishments||Many people share stories that organized crime is responsible for all iGaming sites||An online legal casino falls under strict regulations in terms of getting a gaming license and continuing its undertakings. Thus, these platforms can be trusted.|
|Gambling on the Internet is a scam||Some say that all online games are rigged so that the player cannot win any serious money||Legal gaming websites share only games provided by regulated developers. These games use the Random Number Generator (RNG) technology to secure fair and square outcomes.|
|Gaming sites steal your personal and financial data||Others believe that casinos are responsible for security breaches that make people lose their money or IDs||All licensed casinos use the most sophisticated security measures and encryption methods. They rely only on payment methods that ensure the highest quality of safety for their users online.|
Legal Casinos Worldwide
The good news is that you do not need to travel to Las Vegas or Monte Carlo if you want to play in a casino. You can enjoy a spin or two in the comfort of your own home.
By now you should already know what is illegal gambling. Moving on, the time has come to disclose some of the most reputable legal casinos worldwide. Websites that possess a gaming control board license and work in compliance with the regulator’s rules, can be accessed from different parts of the world. This information might come in handy, especially to those gamblers who travel a lot.
Disclaimer: Always check if the nations’ laws allow local IP addresses to access a legal casino online. In some cases using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) might be necessary to use a gaming website. Especially, if you travel where is gambling illegal.
Look at a few of the nations where internet gambling is permitted. You might want to put one of them on your bucket list of places to visit:
- Puerto Rico
- South Africa
- United Kingdom
- United States
Is gambling illegal in the rest of the world? Of course not! However, if you are going to visit a city abroad, learn how local gaming law affects online casinos. Since there are various legal gambling websites operating worldwide, it would be reasonable to find the best one for you.
How to Choose the Best Legal Casino Online?
When searching for a reliable iGaming platform, you might want to check a few things. First and foremost, find out if is gambling illegal or legal in your destination country. Once you establish that, you will be able to use the Internet in a correct manner.
Before you start playing, review the casino’s license, availability, accepted payment methods, and game offer. Moreover, if you find yourself in a state where is gambling illegal, you might want to use your legal casino with a VPN turned on. This way you will be able to get around any geo-restrictions.
Compliance with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Measures
In recent years we have witnessed new international gaming regulations coming to life. One of the most important documents is the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) policy. New EU measures made MEPs from the Economic and Monetary Affairs and Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committees adopt the latest changes in this legislation.
What does it mean for casinos in Europe and abroad? Is gambling online illegal in the European Union? No need to worry – this new law simply straightens up the gaming market.
Nowadays, gaming websites are required to adhere to the new AML/CFT policy regulations. These regulations guarantee openness and stop any illicit acts for all participants and governments. Understanding the modifications made by the most recent EU rules to stop money laundering is crucial:
- Payment method providers are required to verify their user’s identity.
- Cash and cryptocurrency transactions, in which the customer cannot be identified, will be capped. The limits are €7000 for cash transfers and €1000 for crypto payments.
With that in mind, all casino providers should abide by these regulations. For players, it can mean only one thing: online slots and other games have just become safer than ever.
Benefits of Regulated Casinos – Economic Impact
Those who ask if is gambling illegal need to understand that regulations and licenses are a way to secure the users’ safety. As a casino enthusiast and an active player, you should always strive to take advantage of legal gambling dens. One of the major benefits of such a decision is its potential economic impact.
On sites where online gambling is illegal (due to the lack of licenses and regulations), your personal finances are at risk. Gambling portals working illegally often tend to restrict their user’s freedom. Casinos with no license could potentially:
- Rig games in their own favor.
- Place unfair limits on players with bigger bankrolls.
- Refuse withdrawals of your winnings due to unknown reasons.
- Sell your personal data (including e-mail address and telephone number) to third-party companies.
- Block your account with money on it.
Is there a way to avoid all these unnecessary complications? Of course, there is, and it is called a legal online casino. Remember to always choose regulated gambling websites, which ensure your economic safety. This is the most reliable way to achieve an enjoyable experience while placing bets on your favorite games.
Another crucial economical factor concerns the potential taxes you will have to pay in case of winning real money. Each country has its own law regulations that describe such measures in detail. It might be useful to get to know your local financial law to understand how gambling taxation works.
There are countries where gambling winnings do not require you to pay income tax. Is gambling illegal in such places? Not at all! Instead, any online legal casino must pay a percentage of its gross gaming revenue. Such rules are imposed in the following countries:
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom
What all the aforementioned countries have in common, is they are able to benefit economically from gambling. There are more players using gaming sites in these states because they know their winnings are tax-free. This is a win-win situation for everyone: the players, the casino providers, and the governments.
Casino enthusiasts should understand what is illegal gambling and how it can have an impact on their safety online. Whenever you want to spin some slots or bet on live casino games, be sure to choose a legal online casino. Any regulated and licensed platform will ensure the highest player protection possible.
Such security measures are possible thanks to the use of modern and up-to-date technology. Sophisticated encryption methods, SSL certificates, and working in compliance with AML rules – all of this create a safe space for players.
There is one more thing that needs underlining. Gambling may cause addiction. The top-class legal casinos online should always inform about that fact. Moreover, the very best iGaming sites take special measures to protect the players’ well-being. These include the possibility to set personal limits on time and money spent on gaming.
What about the countries where gambling is illegal? They also have their own ways to ensure protection on the Internet. A good example is blacklisting casino websites for local players. While traveling to such a country, it would be wise to start using a VPN, if you want to access your favorite gambling platform.
Conclusion – Is Online Gambling Illegal?
Hopefully, by now you are fully aware of gambling legality worldwide. In the article, we did our best to address a very important question – is gambling illegal? Taking many crucial factors and approaches into consideration, we strived to have a comprehensive look at that matter.
Let us emphasize it once again – claiming that online gambling is illegal is a myth. There are numerous websites, which operate completely legitimately and in accordance with the law. Moreover, in most countries, iGaming is controlled by local laws that let the users play without boundaries.
Summing up, there is one last thing to add. If you would like to spice up your life with casino games, always choose 100% legal online casinos. Look for gambling sites that possess a valid license and are regulated by authority boards. This way you will be sure that your personal data is protected, and the games are not rigged.
Enjoy the time spent gaming!
FAQ: Popular Questions About Legal Gambling
What are the advantages of legalizing and regulating gambling activities?
Legalization and regulations ensure player protection, increase the number of casino users, and help governments control the legal gambling market.
How does legal gambling contribute to the economy and generate tax revenue?
Some countries tax the players’ winnings, others tax the casino’s revenue. This economic impact is impossible when casinos operate illegally.
Can legal gambling help combat illegal gambling and associated criminal activities?
Yes. Governments are able to control the market in a more organized fashion, leading to the downsizing of illegal activity.
Are there any social benefits to legalizing gambling, such as funding for public services or community programs?
Interestingly, legalizing gambling can help addicts. With special programs, these people are bound to receive the help they actually need.
What are the potential drawbacks or challenges of legalizing gambling in a jurisdiction?
The wider the access to legal casinos, the more people can become addicted or potentially lose more money while wagering.