Posted January 30, 2014 by John Baintree in News

Where is Online Gambling Illegal?


We’re living in the Digital Age – a time when instant communication is bringing us together online.  We can buy stuff online from all four corners of the globe – the world is actually losing its boundaries.  However, keeping things legal online is becoming a challenge for governments around the world and we’ve seen plenty of cases where people have been prosecuted for online activities (think Twitter and Facebook in particular here).  When it comes to online gambling – how do we know whether it’s legal or not.  Different countries have different laws on gambling, so finding out whether you’re allowed to bet online can be difficult, to say the least.

Online gambling actually began as far back as 1994 and was followed in 1996 by the establishment of the Kahnawake Gaming Commission which regulated the online gaming activity from the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake and issued licences to many of the world’s online casinos and poker rooms.  The internet has made it possible to develop other types of online gambling and with recent improvements in technology internet gambling has become one of the most lucrative and popular businesses online.

However, online gambling isn’t legal everywhere and, with constantly changing legislation from different countries around the world; it can be hard to keep au fait with where it’s legal to gamble online and where it’s not.  In the USA, it’s legal in some states and not in others – if you want to bet online, you need to be in Nevada, New Jersey or Delaware (but pundits predict that it’s only a matter of time before it becomes legal in more states).

The UK is a different kettle of fish – while it’s perfectly legal for UK residents to gamble online, the only online casinos allowed to advertise in the UK are those based in recognised jurisdictions like Malta, Gibraltar, the Isla of Man and Alderney.

Most European countries have strict online gambling laws, it’s illegal (but undergoing review) in France, but legal in areas of Germany and the Netherlands where state run operations exist.

Legislation is difficult to enforce and many online gambling platforms have software in place that will ‘block’ users attempting to log in from a different country.  This is not a watertight situation though – there are plenty of companies offering services that will allow you to bypass geographical restrictions over a secure encrypted channel.  People are using these services all the time to unblock Facebook and Skype and to unblock YouTube videos that have geographical restrictions.  Some ex pats are paying for these services so that they can download ebooks from their hometown libraries!

With online gambling becoming such a major part of the internet and legislation struggling to keep up with technological advances, it’s pretty safe to say that we’re still in a time of flux.  So many people now are travelling from country to country and finding out whether online gambling is legal where you are at any given moment in time can be difficult.  Suffice to say, if you can’t reach a website directly, without having to use some other service, it’s not safe to gamble online from where you are at that present moment in time.

Keeping up to date with the situation, it’s worth checking out the legality issues on the Wiki page for online gambling, but be careful.  Wiki is not invincible and it relies on the users to keep it up to date.  If in doubt, some quick internet research on the country you are in should answer your question for you.