Gambling is legal and well regulated in most countries in the world today. But in Islamic countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, it remains illegal and highly prohibited due to religious beliefs. Nonetheless, internet gambling has rapidly grown in recent years to become one of the biggest industries in the world. More gamblers are looking for better ways to enjoy placing bets and winning from their mobile and desktop devices.
In the United States of America, both levels of government - the federal government and the state governments - actively participate in drafting and enforcing gambling laws and regulations. It's, however, essential to note that different states have different legal frameworks in place. Gambling is an intricate part of the culture in the UK, and the country is more inclusive. They have a universal gambling commission that administers regulatory control on all gambling activity, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC).
Online Gaming Licenses
Licensing is one of the most critical factors in online gaming. To be considered legitimate, providers must be fully licensed and regulated by a reputable gambling body. Some of the most reputable gaming bodies include the UK Gambling Commission, the Malta Gaming Authority, and the Curaçao Gaming Control Board.
Gaming providers highly covet these licenses since they are a mark of quality. They are also widely accepted in the industry. Most jurisdictions will approve providers with only one of these licenses without the need to apply for a local license.
Online Gambling in the UK
The UK was one of the first 'big' countries to legalize online gaming. This came about when the UK Gambling Commission was formed after the gambling act of 2005 was passed into law by the government when Tony Blair was Prime Minister. The act dictates the rules and regulations for online casinos, betting sites, lottery betting, and other legal gambling avenues in the UK.
The gambling act 2005 also provided the legal frameworks for licensing gambling services providers in and out of the country. The act also laid out clear definitions to help the commission keep up with the rapid changes in tech. This makes the UKGC one of the most reputable gambling authorities.
Online Gambling Legal Regulation
Gambling is legal in the UK so long as the provider is licensed by the UKGC - including remote providers. After the Gambling Act 2014, which mostly addressed licensing, advertising was passed. The act aimed to plug the loopholes being exploited by offshore gambling operators.
Before then, offshore and remote providers were only required to obtain a license if they owned or partnered with a provider located within the country. Any completely remote provider would not need to be licensed, meaning they operated outside the regulation of the UKGC. After the law was passed, any provider offering gambling services must obtain a UKGC license regardless of their location.
To date, the online gambling legal framework in the UK remains one of the best, most relaxed, and less stringent in the world. This makes the industry one of the fastest-growing in the world. However, this growth has attracted a fair share of criticism from various sectors of society.
Some claim that the loosening of the gambling laws from 2005 onward has unleashed the corrosive industry and shattered lives. Other reputable activists believe that the industry is rapidly becoming toxic. They estimate that over two million people in the UK are either problem gamblers or verge of fatal addiction.
Online Gambling in the US
In the US, gambling, in general, has several significant laws that affect gambling regulations throughout the country. Each rule has an explanation and reason behind its drafting and implementation. Some are controversial, like The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. It was signed into law by then-President George Bush. The act criminalized sports betting across the country except for only four states - Delaware, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon.
However, this has been subject to numerous changes attributed to the rapid growth of the gambling industry and, more importantly, technology. The US has also adopted a unique, distributed system regulating online gambling.
Each state has the right to pass and enforce its laws dependent on numerous factors, such as the forms of gambling entertainment available. Federal regulations, however, remain superior to state laws and cut across all states.
Online Gambling Regulations at State Level
Numerous agencies play a part in regulating gambling at the Federal level in the US. These include the FBI, Congress, the Department of Justice, and the House of Representatives. Subsequently, members of Congress and senators discuss, draft, and pass possible gambling regulations at the state level.
However, some states have created and commissioned independent gaming control boards and commissions. These bodies supervise and regulate legal gambling activities within their state. They seek to complement and enhance the Federal laws.
States also enter into agreements with other states to legally offer gambling services to their residents. This is mainly because states have more robust laws and regulations than others and thus look at forming pacts with other states to expand their markets and reach a larger pool of players. This has become one of the latest trends in the US gaming market, and it seems to be successful at spreading and embracing the growing demand.
While some have entirely legalized the industry, each state can allow or prohibit its residents from engaging in certain forms of gambling. Each state can also independently enforce further gambling restrictions, such as the legal age of gambling - in most states the legal age is between eighteen and twenty-one.
Gambling has been in existence for centuries and, for a long time, has been illegal in most parts of the world. Online gambling has become one of the biggest industries we have today. This is mainly aided by rapidly increasing and improving technology.
However, with the growth comes a lot of challenges in regulating the legal online gambling industry. Most countries have legalized it but not as effectively as the UK and the US. Both are arguably the biggest markets in the industry. The industry needs more effort from investors and society in the future to achieve its maximum potential.