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Online gambling worldwide analysis

Thursday, January 5, 2017 10:35
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Online gambling worldwide analysis

 

There has been historical evidence of gambling activities as early as 2300 BC, but some historians estimated that even the caveman might have been involved in such activities. It’s an inherited trait in all animals really – the lust for instant gratification and high, intensified, risk. Some people like to go on rollercoasters, others go on hunting trips, and some people just plainly enjoy shooting dice.

Until very recent history, gambling was never forbidden by law, but in the 20th century, governments have completely and utterly ignored some of the most basic human rights, and stripped the working class from them, and the right to gamble just happened to be one of them.

The excuses they came up with are almost as ludicrous as the war on drugs. “It’s bad for society”, they say. “It’s bad for the country”, they relentlessly suggest.

It might be the case, but governments can’t prevent that from happening. Folks that are into gambling are bound to find someplace, legal or illegal, domestic or abroad, where they can wager their funds freely. Either way, whether they go to illegal parlors, or legitimate institutes abroad, their tax money is forever gone.

More importantly even is the fact that it’s none of the government’s business to tell people what they can and can’t do. There are enough limitations in life for every man, and woman, that prevent us from fulfilling our true selves. It is certainly not a bad thing to sink into an activity like gambling to forget the day’s troubles and chores for even a brief moment, as long as it’s done in moderation (which by itself is an individual choice, rather than something that can be dictated from above).

Online Gambling – a research

 

My research, based on this information from website KeytoCasino.com which was also used by PwC for their quarterly report on the topic, has concluded that:

  1. Brick and mortar casinos are banned in 42% of the countries in the world, and 11% of the countries have strict limitations on gambling.
  2. Online casinos, on the other hand, are completely banned in 17% of the countries, but are properly licensed in only 14% of the countries. Everything else is a different shade of a grey area in how legal it is for online casinos to onboard clients. In these grey-area jurisdictions, although gambling is not strictly illegal, it is still somewhat intimidating for prospective clients to gamble online.  
  3. The online gambling market is safely but surely moving backwards in terms of freedom to play! When online gambling just emerged in the mid-90′s and early 2000′s, there were hardly any countries taking pro-active measures against online casinos. Only the most censor-happy  countries / dictatorships in the world were applying measures like IP blockage and domain confiscation back then. After 2006′s USA’s Anti Online Gambling Law (also known as the unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement), more and more countries felt it is “OK” to block companies under different criteria.

Tom Wilson, who is the chief editor at BestCasinoCanada.com, has been playing at various casinos for real money in the past 10 years. He lived in 5 different countries during this period, and he explains how local authorities treated online gambling during this period:

“I lived in the USA after the UIGE law has passed. There were still many casinos accepting local clients and it was rather easy to deposit through credit and debit cards, as well as bank transfers and e-wallet. As time passed, the selection was narrowed down. Trustworthy casinos with good clientele outside the U.S decided to take a beat instead of risking being persecuted in the U.S.

When I lived in Turkey I was utterly surprised with how anti-gambling their laws are. Gambling is forbidden by Islamic law but Turkey was supposed to be very much a part of Europe (or at least it did, several years ago). In any case, all foreign online casinos were forbidden. There were local brands which knew how to handle Turkish clients and were constantly changing their URL but it felt to me like it can all collapse one day without being able to withdraw the funds back to my Turkish account.

 

Italy before regulation passed was also much harsher than I would have expected on gambling rules. There AAMS (local regulator) chased down sites that were operating illegally (with a permit… when no permits were handed out besides to local sites like the national lottery). And still, their screening wasn’t as nearly as meticulous as Turkey. It was quite easy to find a casino to play and even easier to deposit and withdraw. The EU laws are very much pro freedom of internet and thus, they always opposed Italy and prevented it from going “all out” against online gambling.

 

I lived in Australia and had no trouble signing up with casinos which even had local support with Australian operating hours. Felt natural but I recently heard the regulation is becoming much stricter there.

 

I returned home to Canada in the past few years and have been playing at various casinos. I had the smoothest experiences signing up, getting verified, depositing money, and withdrawing it. Although (besides in BC) it is not ‘legal’ for online casinos to operate, it is also not illegal. It is illegal to operate an online casino without a license if based within Canada, but all operators are based offshore. Thus, the criminal conduct code does not explicitly say it is illegal to play in online casinos. I can say that Canada is online gambling tolerant as it is for other things, as one of the world’s most liberal countries.

It must be stated that in any of these countries where I resided, no players were ever persecuted for playing. Even in Turkey, as far as I know.”

Where is 2017 heading to in online gambling regulation?

It is difficult to predict what 2017 lies ahead, but there are a few educated guesses to make:

  • In the USA, President-Elect Trump, online gambling will continue to be illegal and USA-facing online casinos and poker rooms will continue to be persecuted. President elect has strong ties in the brick and mortar casino industry, including his own hotels and casinos.
  • In Australia, it is expected for regulation to tighten up and seek for online casinos that accept Australian players. It is rumored in the industry that most operators have either pulled out or in the process of pulling out.
  • In Germany, it was voted by the heads of the 16 states to amend the country’s Interstate Treaty on Gambling. It is expected that by this time next year, there would already be fully licensed operators in the region.
  • In Sweden, it is rumored there will be a full regulation, finally. So far, the market is operating quite freely, and it is expected to continue so even when regulation takes places.

The overall trend is mixed. European countries are more leaning towards regulation, whether as a free-market as Sweden is anticipated to become, or as a “licensed casinos” market like in France, Italy, Austria and Denmark. 

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