Let’s go back to 1994. That year, a small company from Isle of Man set up the world’s first online casino. At least, that is what that company claims.
Thinking about it, it is pretty fascinating. Back then, most households would wait for quite some years before even getting an Internet connection.
Surfing the World Wide Web was very different from what it is today. Blogs were yet to be discovered. Creating an online casino was way ahead of its time.
Today, almost everybody in the developed world has Internet access – at home, on the phone, at work or in school. Or anywhere.
Therefore, it is not difficult to understand how casino technology has managed to evolve and online gaming has become so widespread.
In light of this, more and more countries pass a gambling legality bill. Still, regulations vary greatly between nations.
If you are into online gambling it can get quite confusing. Therefore, we decided to make a brief overview of the state of play for online casinos in the world.
Online casinos allowed in most countries
Let us begin with a bold statement: online casinos are allowed in most countries. It is only when we start looking into the details that we find out that there are quite some nuances. Here is an overview of the legality of gambling online in the world.
Mixed messages from the US
To start with, the situation in the US is rather complex since much of what is legal or not is regulated on a state by state basis. For example, online casinos are legal in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Additionally, online sports betting is allowed in Nevada, Indiana and West Virginia.
Total prohibition: mainly in traditional societies
Even if online gaming has become increasingly accepted, there is still total prohibition in some countries. Many of these are considered pretty traditional by most standards. Here we find countries like Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Sudan and Saudi Arabia. But there are bans on online gambling also in some rather developed countries like China, Russia and Ukraine.
Legal, but not completely
Some countries have chosen to ban local casinos while allowing its population to play on international casinos online. According to online casino guide NZ, New Zealanders can play as much as they like on foreign online casinos as long as they have a valid gambling license somewhere. Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, Australia, Japan and a few other countries have similar regulations.
Same rules for everybody
In Europe, most countries have chosen to allow gambling online by applying the same license requirement to all operators, both domestic and foreign. According to this system, online gambling is accepted, but it requires a license regardless of where the casino’s servers are located. The benefit of this system is that it gives regulators some degree of control while making the rules clear for everybody – operators as well as the population.
License only for local casinos
In some countries, the tough rules only apply for local casinos. In Sweden for example, any casino that wants to advertise needs to have a license there. At the same time, citizens are not prohibited to play on foreign casinos, regardless of them having a license or not. Greece, Romania, Portugal and Canada have similar gambling legislation.
Countries where all kinds of online casinos are allowed
Lastly, we have a group of countries were all kinds of online gambling is allowed. In many of those countries being “allowed” simply means the absence of any regulation against gambling online. Here, we find a majority of the countries in Africa, along with India and half of Latin America. Until recently, this was also the case in many European countries. However, regulators who have caught up on developments have understood the benefits of introducing a license-based system.