The gambling industry today is very different than it was several years ago. It has undergone some major changes due to the fast growing world we live in. The technical advancement made it possible for various land-based casinos to have a web-based counterpart and this way reach players from all over the world. Long gone are the days when the only way to gamble was to go to a brick and mortar casino.
Presently, you can play a wide range of casino games at the most convenient time and place for you. You can enjoy roulette, blackjack, craps, video poker, baccarat and many other exciting games at the comfort of your home. What is more, if you are an avid player, you can even play on the move. However, ever since the online casinos have gained popularity, many players rose the inevitable question whether they are legal or not. Another highly discussed topic concerned their fairness and credibility.
Laws and Regulations
When it comes to online casinos and gambling regulations, it all comes down to the country you reside in. There is no universal gambling law that applies to every part of the world, despite the Internet being a global network. Whether it is legal to play at an online casino entirely depends on your current location. Some countries completely forbid gambling, whereas others impose partial restrictions on some activities related with real-money betting. In general, most of the gambling laws concern the online casinos rather than the players.
One thing that differs from one country to another is the legal status of online gambling which determines to a great extent the gambling market in the country. Generally speaking, online gambling can be considered either legal or illegal. However, it is also possible for a particular country to have some additional requirements or restrictions that revolve around this matter. If in one territory online gambling is declared legal, this means that all gambling activities are regulated and there is no need for the online casinos to obtain a license.
In some other cases, this type of entertainment is also legal, but all of the casino operators that offer online games are required to get a license. Some of the countries in which the gambling market is regulated and all of the online casinos are required to possess a valid license are the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Belgium and others.
A bit different is the situation in the countries where all of the gambling activities are declared illegal. In very few countries, it is completely illegal to gamble for real money online and players are even prosecuted for doing so. These countries are Poland, Cyprus, North Korea, Cambodia, Brunei, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. In most cases, even if online gambling is officially established as illegal, players are not prosecuted. Some of the territories in which the gambling market is black are Australia, the USA and France.
Furthermore, the gambling activities in some countries are not regulated, meaning that there are either no laws regarding this matter or they are simply inapplicable. Some of the countries which have an unregulated gambling market are Finland, Switzerland and Sweden. There are also countries in which the gambling laws that concern the online casinos are not clearly stated for one reason or another. In such cases, the online gambling activities belong to the so-called grey markets. Up to this moment, some of these countries include Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Canada and Sweden.
Generally speaking, most gambling laws focus on pursuing rogue online casinos and preventing them from offering online activities that are illegal, rather than the actual players who have placed bets. As already indicated, when it comes to online gambling, the laws strictly depend on the country you reside in.
However, this is not the only factor that determines whether you are allowed to play in a particular online casino. You should know that this also greatly depends on the online casino of your choice as every online gambling website has its own country restrictions. This means that every casino has the freedom to choose where to provide its services and from which countries to accept players. Moreover, bear in mind that whenever you decide to register at a particular online casino, you have to accept its terms and conditions. Therefore, it is very important to get familiar with the gambling laws that apply in your country as this is your responsibility.
It should be noted that there is one more way you can be prevented from placing bets online. If you don’t meet the requirement regarding the age limit, set by the website and the country, you won’t be able to gamble. Failing to comply with this regulation can lead to a lot of troubles. The minimum age that is set by most gambling jurisdictions is eighteen.
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Regulatory Gaming Bodies
In the countries that require from casino operators to obtain a license in order to provide online games, the gambling industry is regulated by regulatory gaming bodies. There are several regions, located in various parts of the world, from where licensing authorities are allowed to issue licenses. In order to be able to offer gambling services legally in a particular territory, the online casinos have to apply for a license that is appropriate for the respective region.
One online casino can have several licenses, issued by different authorities, thanks to which it can operate in various countries. These independent authorities are different for every country and they are responsible for monitoring the activity of the online casinos and making sure that the operators are crime-free. For instance, the authority that is responsible for issuing licenses in the United Kingdom is the UK Gambling Commission. The online casinos that would like to provide online games to UK citizens are granted such a license, providing that they have met all of the established requirements and that they have successfully undergone the verification process.
The online casinos can also obtain a license from offshore gambling authorities such as Curacao e-Gaming Licensing Authority, Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission, Kahnawake Gaming Commission, Malta Lotteries & Gaming Authority and the Gibraltar Licensing Authority. If a particular online casino has a license issued by any of the above-mentioned authorities, this is a good indicator that it offers fair games and legal gambling activities.
To sum up, whether online gambling is legal or not entirely depends on the country you reside in. When it comes to online casinos, there is no universal gambling law that applies to all parts of the world. This is the reason why it is essential to get familiar with the regulations of your own country. It is also advisable to double check these regulations from time to time because the online gambling industry is constantly changing. Some countries are currently in the process of imposing more restrictions on online casinos, whereas others are reconsidering their current gambling laws.
How safe is online gambling?
In general, gambling online is just as safe as playing in a land-based casino. The incredible technological progress made it possible for a number of online casinos to upgrade their security systems and improve the quality of protection of players’ financial and personal data. In order to achieve this goal, most online casinos use a 128-bit SSL encryption technology.
It is essential to double check this aspect in advance to make sure that the online casino of your choice is reliable enough. Also, it is highly advisable to play in only well-established online casinos which have proven to be secure and trustworthy.
Are online casino games fair?
Every fully-licensed online casino offers online games which use a Random Number Generator, often abbreviated simply as RNG. This device is responsible for producing a series of numbers at random which are later translated into particular elements – cards, dices, etc. The outcome of the respective game is different every time and it cannot be predicted. Furthermore, there are several approved independent testing agencies such as eCOGRA and Technical Systems Testing which specialise in RNG evaluations.
Who can legally play at online casinos?
In order to determine whether you can legally place bets online and play a casino game, you need to take into account two major factors – the gambling laws in your country of residence and your age. In the best-case scenario, the laws regarding this matter should state that wagering real-money online is permitted and your age should be at least eighteen.
However, gambling regulations are much more complicated and there might be some other requirements which you have to meet. Since gambling laws greatly vary, it is best to get familiar with the ones that apply in your country in order to make sure you will be able to comply with them. It should be noted that some countries don’t have clearly established laws for online gambling, whereas others have but they focus on the casino operators rather than the players.
Who regulates the online gambling market?
The online gambling market differs from one country to another since the gambling laws that apply on a particular territory are not the same. Several types of markets can be distinguished – regulated, unregulated, grey and black, depending on the requirements of the respective country. In some countries such as the UK, special regulatory bodies are responsible for regulating the market and preventing illegal gambling from taking place. All casino operators are required to obtain a license by a main regulatory body which is, in this case, the UK Gambling Commission.