The Politics of Gambling Online
Looking at the data collected starting in 2016 the entire online gambling industry was expected to grow another $11 billion in two years. This massive amount of growth is the result of players moving away from a traditional casino format and embracing the new form of entertainment available online. Also, the new technology that rapidly evolves has contributed to the creation of better games and more realistic features from the online casino than ever before. However, the governments in charge of their respective countries haven’t necessarily kept up with the times. Many countries still have deep restrictions regarding online gambling, but things are seemingly starting to chance. Players in nations where online gambling is prevalent can expect various types of legislation.
Canada Online Casinos
Online casinos in Canada have some freedom to operate at the current time, but there is a catch. Gambling online is not prohibited for Canadian players, though it is illegal for an online casino to provide its services without having a license from or being outright owned by a provincial government. This means that players are limited in their choices when choosing an online gambling service. However, this has not stopped offshore companies from providing online casinos and real money gaming to those who reside in Canada. The government has shown its willingness to prosecute unlicensed online casino providers in the past but has only followed through on one documented account. Most provinces in Canada provide their gambling service through the lottery, but their quality fails to compare to privatized online casinos.
UK Online Casinos
Although some online casinos are not allowed to operate in the United Kingdom, the region still has one of the most progressive and comprehensive structures in regards to permitted gambling online. The best online casinos UK players can visit have changed over recent years due to enforcement of legislation. In 2003, updates to the law were implemented to become relevant related to new online casinos. This shift included the formation of the UK Gambling Commission. The Commission is responsible for issuing licenses and permits. It is also directly involved with monitoring online casino operations and ensuring that gambling content reaches players with safe and fair standards. UKGC protects underage players and adults with gambling problems from wrongful treatment and enforces the legal gambling age of 18 years old.
German Online Casinos
While it is incredibly difficult for an online casino to become licensed by the German government, there is no specific law prohibiting players from playing online at a casino. This exception leads to players accessing the online casinos that operate offshores because they are somewhat impervious to prosecution by the government. Online casinos are an incredibly popular in Germany, but not a single player has ever faced repercussions for doing so. Since most of these online casinos are not regulated or licensed by the German government, players are advised to game carefully. There is virtually no recourse for lost deposits or theft.
The Rest of Europe
Most countries in Europe allow the operation of online casinos with the appropriate regulation. France adopted new laws back in the year of 2009 to regulate and monitor online casino activity, and this was done to adapt to the new online form of gambling that was quickly becoming mainstream. In fact, most countries involved in the European Union have some form of legalized online gambling. These countries primarily focus on the proper regulation of online casinos, instead of an outright ban on private operators. Many regions in Europe even support the local online casino companies and software developers that are responsible for much of the gaming content that players see on the internet.
Australia Online Casinos
The politics involved regarding AU online casinos are a bit strange. Officials in the Australian government passed what is known the Interactive Gambling Act back in 2001. Abbreviated as IGA, this bill was passed as an effort to protect the citizens of Australia from the detrimental effects of gambling. The law, when enforced, would apply to any providers of online gambling that is accessed by an Australian citizen. This includes locally-owned companies as well as businesses that operate offshores. Although the bill has remained in effect since its passing, it does little to make an impact among Australian casino players. It is not an offense for a citizen to play casino games or online poker. Also, players in Australia are permitted to wager real money on sports betting.
Varying Degrees of Government Involvement
Legislation and specific ordinances vary from country to country regarding online gambling. The industry has a history of being controversial because of players going through financial hardship, criminal activity, moral dilemmas and other reasons. The controversy has made for a messy landscape on which online casinos build their foundation. However, the models for gambling can mostly be broken down into three parts.
Regulated Open Market
The regulated model is what the player sees throughout most of Europe, and this is proving to be the most useful structure for both government agencies and online casinos. The appropriate governing body allows online casinos to operate freely, providing that the casinos remain licensed according to guidelines. Each online casino has more freedom in delivering content to players, and the government gains revenue from license fees, taxes, and other forms of income. This trend in lightly regulated online casino markets is rapidly growing and will more than likely be the norm across the globe in the future.
When a country uses the hybrid structure model, it is similar to the regulated open market, but only to a degree. The government’s agency that oversees gambling is solely responsible for choosing what private online casinos can operate within the country. Also, the agency’s lottery creates its games and features that it aggressively pushes on players over the content of a private provider. While this system allows for some amount of choice on the player’s side, government-sanctioned games typically don’t have the same quality as the selection from an experienced developer. This system is seen in some Canadian provinces, with underwhelming numbers reported from the lottery.
The monopoly model involves complete control over the online gambling industry of a country by the government agency in charge. In this case, private online casinos and other gambling providers are banned from operation within the country. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that players will be prosecuted for gambling online. The most common scenario is a government-run lottery, either on a state level or national level. This has not proven to sway players, though, and millions of individuals still access offshore online casinos regardless. While there are some benefits to a lottery system, it is resulting in lost revenue for many nations around the world.