What Exactly is Online Casino Regulation?

If you were to read reviews of online casinos (and it’s always a good idea to do research before you choose a casino), then you would have come across the word ‘regulation’ quite often. This is actually a very important word in the online gambling industry since it indicates that the website in question operates as per the rules set down by a reputed regulatory body. As a matter of fact, the best known online casinos in the business come under the regulations of Malta, the United Kingdom, Alderney, and Kahnawake.

The online gambling industry is a relatively new one and also one that is expanding at a fierce pace. The health of the industry depends very much on having good laws in place because this ensures that customers get adequate protection from fraud and other bad practices. Even so, there is a lot of confusion about the legality of various gambling businesses because of the existence of conflicting laws in certain jurisdictions.

Confusing Laws

Take the example of Canada to understand how conflicting laws can create problems for the gambling industry. Canada has the Kahnawake Gaming Commission that regulates casinos operating in the First Nations territories, keeping them free of national gambling laws, which is pretty much the same in the United States. The Kahnawake Commission, originally set up for land-based casinos, now regulates online casinos, sportsbooks, and poker operations as well. Furthermore, Canadian law permits offshore casinos to offer their services to Canadians as long as their servers are based outside the country.

State Operated Gambling Requires Protection

Many local governments in Canada (and other places) aren’t very enthusiastic about legalizing online casino gambling because they already run very lucrative gambling operations of their own including casinos, horse and dog racing, lotteries, and the like. It’s clear to see that they are hesitant to see a dilution in their business. The legal scenario is even worse in the United States where the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006 prevents banks and financial service providers from enabling money transfers to and from gambling websites without specifically banning Americans from gambling online. Many gambling operators also have left the United States market because of the difficulties of operating there. Quite a few gambling companies therefore prefer to operate beyond the jurisdiction of local laws, instead choosing to operate from offshore albeit under the ambit of well-known regulators.

Government Regulation Of Casinos

Many governments have legalized online gambling in order to regulate the business well and earn revenues from it. While this move has benefited state run gambling businesses, it has adversely affected private operators because they feel that the increased taxes make them unprofitable. Interestingly, governments are unaffected by this exodus of gambling operators since they already make a lot of money from state run gambling. Countries that have regulated their gambling operations are the United Kingdom, South Africa, France, Italy, and the United States.

Uncertain Future For Online Gambling

Even though internet based gambling is expanding at a fast pace, its future is quite uncertain because many countries haven’t updated their gambling laws while many others have banned it entirely. Gambling is illegal in many Muslim countries because it goes against the tenets of Islam. It is also banned in China, except for the autonomous territory of Macau. Many countries also have stringent laws to penalize citizens who gamble online. These include Cyprus and Poland. The differences in regulatory bodies also mean that it is quite difficult to say whether online gambling is an illegal activity or not. Even so, it’s important to choose a site that has a seal from a well-known regulatory body in order to have a safe gambling experience.

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