Legality & LawsOne of the hottest questions currently discussed when it comes to playing on real money casino platforms is the legality of it all. It’s also one of the most difficult questions to answer, since its answer largely depends on where players reside and their own local laws. This is the first port of call when it comes to answering questions concerning legality and players should always contact their local authorities to ask whether or not online gambling is permitted in their area. However, let’s take a further look at where exceptions and bans exist.

North America

One of the most difficult countries to answer questions concerning the legality of online gaming in the United States. Since 2002, The Federal Wire Act has governed much of what the online gaming scene in the States has experienced in terms of turmoil over the past decade and was the driving force that was behind the Black Friday events that completely devastated the online poker community in America.

However, that’s not to say these laws still exist. While they exist at a federal level, it is still up to the state to govern its own standings on online gambling. A new framework for online gambling in the States was introduced in December, 2009 and allowed experts to weigh in on ideas concerning online security and consumer safety. The bill, codenamed H.R. 2267, passed in July 2010 and legalized online poker and some other forms of online gaming, like sportsbooks. New Jersey was the first state to adopt this bill to create a virtual Atlantic City and was closely trailed by other neighbouring states and Nevada. However, that’s not to say gambling activities are legal nationwide. Montana has strict anti-gambling laws that explicitly include online casinos and there are several other states that have similar sorts of measures in place. This is why it’s so important for players to talk with their local authorities regarding the legality of online casino games because these laws are ever changing in the US and state-level actions can be made against players even if they’re in compliance with federal rulings at the time (visit Wikipedia for more).

Canada has adopted a more relaxed approach to online casino games. However, they are still regulated at a provincial level and players must permanently reside in the province where they’re choosing to game. Unless inter-provincial rulings exist, then those who reside in Ontario must play on Ontario-based services.

United Kingdom and Europe

The United Kingdom, much like many of the European Union member states, have very relaxed laws towards online gaming. The UK in particular has a very favourable impression of online gaming and regulatory bodies have commented on the growth of online gaming leading to sustained employment opportunities across 225 prospective employers. Sportsbooks and betting options are the most popular form of online gambling in the United Kingdom, with bingo and online casinos immediately following behind.

In order to operate in the Untied Kingdom, casinos must declare that their services aren’t in connection with any organized criminal activity, that odds are constructed fairly and openly, and that the most vulnerable of the population (particularly children and problem gamblers) remain protected by providing community resources to allow the vulnerable to address their needs through other avenues. Failure to do this carries a punishment including fines and imprisonment.

Germany is an exception to the European rule, where online gambling was recently made illegal despite being in direct violation of European Union rules. The country banned all forms of online gambling with the exception of sportsbooks who specialized in horse racing. European courts ruled that Germany didn’t have the power to do this and required them to liberalize their gambling laws. From 2012, Germany declared Schleswig-Holstein a gambling-friendly zone and have allowed operators to apply for casino licenses in this region only.

Australia

The scene down under changed recently. In June, 2001 the Australian Government passed the Interactive Gambling Act that was brought into force to help protect Australians from problem gambling. The act allows players who reside in Australia to connect to online casinos and other gaming services, but those platforms cannot specifically market their materials towards Australians. Sportsbooks are also popular and remain completely legal in Australia, with several government licensed bookies in operation.