Understanding Gambling Law & Games Around the World

Author: samanvya Published on: October 31, 2023

People have been betting since the dawn of time. Even when there’s no money involved, social betting between friends is incredibly common. The outcome is usually who’s paying for a dinner or embarrassing themselves in public, but a bet is a bet.

For some people, this is just not enough. Some people are so passionate about luck-based games that even a console like PlayStation Plus cannot sate their thirst for adrenaline. They need 24/7 access to new bets and much higher stakes to feel the thrill of the game. Unfortunately for them, gambling is not legal everywhere on the globe.

Different regions have different gambling laws, ranging from incredibly lax to completely restricting. So, we’ll try to address some of these differences and trends that are currently dominant. 

Most liberal gambling laws

Generally speaking, the UK and the rest of the Commonwealth are regarded as some of the areas with the most liberal gambling laws in the world. These are also the countries with the most liberal stance toward online gambling. 

To further prove this point, on any serious list of places with the most liberal gambling laws in the world, you’ll find places like:

  • United Kingdom
  • Malta (Crown Colony of the UK until 1964)
  • Isle of Man (self-governing British Crown Dependency)
  • Australia and New Zealand (former colonies and parts of the Dominion)
  • Canada (former colony and still a part of the British Commonwealth)
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Some Scandinavian countries like Denmark and Sweden also have well-regulated gambling markets, issuing licenses to numerous online gambling operators.

The same goes for the Netherlands, which is a newcomer to this list of gambling-friendly European countries but still deserves its place on its list. This is hardly surprising since the Netherlands spearheads legalization in numerous other fields (substances or industries).

Of course, mentioning so many European locations without mentioning the Las Vegas of Europe – Monaco would be unfair. This place is famous (or notorious) for its nightlife and gambling (a well-earned reputation). 

Prohibited or available through offshore casinos

It comes as no surprise that in countries like Saudi Arabia, where Sharia law is in effect, gambling is completely prohibited by law, and punishments for it may be severe.

A similar thing happens in places like Brunei, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (except the Emirate of Dubai, which has a few casinos that can serve foreign tourists). 

However, while betting (aside from state lottery and horse races) is illegal in countries like Malaysia, offshore betting is legal. According to Basketball Insiders Malaysia, the number of people playing via these offshore sites is rapidly increasing.  

In some of these countries, some casinos are only available to foreigners. This rule even extends to online betting sites. A perfect example of this is Singapore, home to one of the largest casinos in the world, which only accepts tourists as its patrons.

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Naturally, in authoritarian states like North Korea, gambling is completely illegal, and potential punishments for the perpetrators can be severe. The problem is that we lack data from studies and concrete examples. 

Gambling on the North American continent

There’s a growing trend of gambling legalization across various states in the US. North Carolina and Vermont are the latest states to legalize sports gambling. This makes it 37 states where online gambling is currently legal in some shape or form.

The fact that California still hasn’t passed the law may seem surprising, but let’s face it. When it comes to California (considering that this is a growing trend), it’s more of a question of “when” rather than “will it?” Sure, states like Utah have a big question mark on them, but even if betting is not legal in all 50 states, it’s still not a big deal.

In Canada, online betting has recently been proclaimed legal in Ontario. This industry has already far exceeded anyone’s expectations regarding the tax revenue it has brought in and the new jobs it has created. It has already made all the experts readjust their forecasts. It has also created an avid interest in the future of this trend in Canada. There are many sites focused on any movements in terms of new laws or regulations being passed. 

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Key takeaways

In the end, with so many offshore gambling sites and the fact that almost 7 billion people have access to a smartphone, the question of gambling legalization is no longer as big. Now, it’s just a question of whether the states and countries are willing to miss out on tax revenue and job creation since players will always find a way to bet. In more and more regions, the answer to this question is a resounding “NO!”

Author: samanvya

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