legalities of online gambling worldwide - a Grande Vegas update.

Online gambling has witnessed significant growth in recent years. Today, millions of gamers around the world participate in various forms of internet-based betting and gaming. However, the legal landscape surrounding online gambling varies greatly from one country to another.

There’s a complex web of regulations, restrictions, and uncertainties in many regions. Some governments support online casino gaming but legislate it carefully while in other areas, it’s the gamers themselves who must be careful.

What are some of the key issues, trends, and challenges of online gaming in the world’s main gaming centers?

North America

In the United States the legality of online gambling is a patchwork of federal and state regulations but for the most part, gambling is legislated by each individual state jurisdiction. Some states permit specific forms of online wagering, notably sports betting which has been legal in the United States only since 2018.

Within those parameters there’s a wide range of mixes-and-matches – some states allow both land-based and online betting while other states have legislated for online gambling only. In states where there are existing land-based casinos, online betting options have not been welcomed by those casinos but in an increasing number of those regions, the retail casinos have begun to push for online betting so that they can facilitate those operations.

For many years, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) tried to prevent online casinos from operating in the U.S.A. but today, with the proliferation of sports betting, UIGEA has been reinterpreted in a way that discourages the Federal government from restricting online casino operations.


Like the United States, online gambling regulations in Canada fall primarily under provincial jurisdiction. In some provinces, online gaming flourishes but other provinces maintain more restrictive approaches. Most provinces have their own provincial gambling authorities that operate and manage gaming operations in the province but offshore operators also operate in these areas.

To better regulate these offshore operators, Ontario, the largest of Canada’s provinces, has created an iGaming Ontario site which supervises private Internet gaming operators who want to offer their games and services to Ontario players.

iGaming Ontario is a sister-agency of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) which offers casino games, lottery games and sports betting to Ontario residents. In recognition of the fact that offshore casinos operate in Canada, the OLG created iGaming Ontario which informs players about the certifications and licensing of private internet gaming operators who operate in Ontario.


The United Kingdom has a well-established and regulated online gambling market. Operators must obtain licenses from the UK Gambling Commission to offer services to UK residents. All UK-based operators of remote gambling are required to be licensed and offshore operators who are licensed in EEA countries, Alderney, Antigua and Barbuda Gibraltar, Tasmania or the Island of Man may operate in the UK. The Gambling Commission has recently been given new powers to block unlicensed operators from operating in the UK.

Another new regulation involves the requirement that casino operators, both retail and online, conduct player protection checks on high-stakes players to make sure that they are not incurring harmful losses.

The Gambling Commission has also announced that it will be reviewing bonus offers (free bets, free spins, etc) that casinos promote to make sure that such offers are not constructed or targeted to be harmful.


The authority responsible for licensing gambling operators in German is the Joint Gambling Supervisory Authority. This means that supervision and regulation of gambling is no longer in the hands of Germany’s 16 States but licensing for specific games is in the hands of the individual Federal States.


The Swedish Gambling Authority regulates all casino gaming and lotteries in Sweden including online gaming. All gambling directed at the Swedish market must be via an operator with a Swedish license. These regulations do not apply to games of skill but winnings from games of skill are taxed as income in Sweden.


Over the course of the past few years the Australian government has introduced the National Framework, a set of laws and regulations that ensure consumer protections for online gamers. These measures include:

  • Prohibiting gaming operators from accepting payments in credit for people who gamble on their app or site.
  • Prohibiting operators from offering “payday lending” to gamers (which is a form of credit).
  • Ensuring maximum customer verification to quickly identify customer age and individuals who have self-excluded
  • Restricting operators from offering customers incentives to open an account or incentives to refer others to open an account.
  • Providing transparent information to customers about how to close an account.
  • Placing deposit limits on wagers.
  • Providing a voluntary opt-out pre-commitment scheme.
  • Sending scheduled activity statements to raise consumers’ awareness of their wins, losses and overall spending.
  • Using consistent and effective messaging about safe gambling practices through direct marketing, advertising, websites and direct communications with consumers.
  • Staying updated with the National Self-Exclusion Register.

The legalities of online gambling worldwide present a complex and evolving landscape. As the industry continues to expand and adapt to technological innovations, legal frameworks will continue to undergo changes which address the associated challenges and opportunities. Stick with Grande Vegas to stay updated.


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