Entering the gaming industry: where is online gambling legal
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Entering the gaming industry: where is online gambling legal

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If somebody asks you about the most disreputable industry, chances are you’d mention gambling. Legislation of gambling sites is pretty complicated, especially for newcomers. Opening a new or developing an existing online gambling project, operators, first of all, wonder: which markets to target? Where is online gambling legal, and where is the licensing procedure required?

Researching the issue, we have compiled a list of countries where online gambling is currently allowed. It includes the states where the activities of gambling sites are legally regulated and subject to certain requirements. Countries, where online casinos’ activities are neither regulated nor prohibited, are also on the list.

Where is online gambling legal: 4 geographies to consider

Depending on different regulation approaches, all countries fall into 4 groups based on licensing online gambling requirements.

Group 1. Online casinos are not blocked

No local legal requirements are applied to foreign gambling sites in these states. A foreign gambling site can be licensed by any jurisdiction or even operate without it. However, gambling is legal not in all of these countries. For instance, gambling is completely prohibited on the Cayman Islands territory, and residents are criminally liable for participating in gambling.

  • Europe (Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Iceland, Luxembourg, Serbia, Slovakia);
  • Asia (Azerbaijan, Brunei, Hong Kong, Japan, Kyrgyz Republic, Laos, Malaysia, Qatar, Singapore, Uzbekistan, Yemen);
  • Africa (Eritrea, Nigeria);
  • North America (Cayman Islands, El Salvador, Mexico);
  • South America (Brazil);
  • Oceania (American Samoa (formerly Eastern Samoa), Australia, Guam, New Zealand).

Group 2. A local regulator must license gambling sites

These countries use the most competent approach in gambling regulation. Each operator (no matter local or foreign) must purchase a license following certain legal requirements. Conditions are equal for everyone. Everyone is obliged to pay taxes to the budget. Only in this case, the gambling site has the right to absolutely legal activity. Otherwise, the online resource will be blocked.

  • Africa (Ethiopia, Mayotte, Reunion Island);
  • Asia (Georgia, Sri Lanka);
  • Europe (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain, United Kingdom);
  • North America (Antigua and Barbuda, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Panama, Saint Barthelemy (or Saint Barthelemy), Saint Martin, US Virgin Islands);
  • South America (Falkland Islands, French Guiana);
  • Oceania (French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna).

online gambling legislation map

Group 3. Only local gambling sites require a local regulator license

As in the first group, no legal requirements from local authorities are applied to foreign sites here. A foreign operator can have any license in any jurisdiction, and in some countries, it is not required at all. However, local operators must undergo the licensing procedure with the regulator and pay taxes to local budgets.

  • Africa (Comoros, Gambia, Guinea, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles);
  • Asia (Armenia);
  • Europe (Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Monaco, Norway, Montenegro, Portugal, San Marino, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland);
  • North America (Aruba, Belize, Canada, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Greenland);
  • Oceania (Fiji, Vanuatu).

Group 4. No restrictions for gambling sites at all

This is the largest group of countries. In many of them, gambling activities are not regulated at all.

  • Africa (Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, West Sahara, Zambia, Zimbabwe);
  • Asia (Bangladesh, Macau, India, Mongolia, Myanmar, Tajikistan);
  • Europe (Albania, Andorra, Belarus, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Isle Of Man, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Malta);
  • North America (Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Costa Rica, Djibouti, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Turks and Caicos);
  • South America (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela);
  • Oceania (Cook Islands, Kiribati, Micronesia, Nauru, Northern Mariana Islands, Republic of Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, East Timor, Tonga).

World gambling business regulation

Virtually every country has its own rules for regulating the gambling industry today. However, the situation with online gambling laws is quite ambiguous. As you see, the attitude towards local and foreign operators differs fundamentally from state to state.

For example, in the European Union, foreign gambling sites’ activities are subject to the requirements of the EU legislation. That means the countries from the EU must comply with it. However, not all states support the idea that foreign operators do not pay taxes to the local treasury. Contrary to EU requirements, they re-subordinate foreign operators to their regulation rules, forcing them to obtain a local gambling license and pay taxes to the local budget. This is what France, Germany, and Italy do, for example. The second reason for such a difference in attitude towards local and foreign operators is that many countries (especially those with weak technologic development) do not have the necessary resources or tools of influence to prevent foreign companies from operating in their territories.

Summing up:

  • 32 countries prohibit locals from working without a license, but gambling sites from abroad can safely offer their services to residents. Among them are the following countries: Seychelles, Armenia, Dominican Republic, Greece, Monaco, Norway, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, etc.
  • 32 countries allow all gambling sites to operate only under a local gambling license — for example, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Great Britain, Netherlands, etc.
  • 28 countries ban residents from gambling and block the sites of local gambling operators. However, foreign sites can operate freely, even if they do not have a license. These countries’ governments are either unwilling or unable to prevent them — for example, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Mexico, Japan, Singapore, Nigeria, etc.
  • 93 countries do not ban or license online casinos. These include the following countries: Bolivia, Uruguay, Venezuela, Bahamas, Argentina, Egypt, Kenya, Tunisia, Kosovo, Gibraltar, etc.

Online gambling payments processing

Entering the online gaming business, make sure you have a reliable payment partner. The vital point is to enable your customers to easily pay for your services and get paid when they win. It’s advisable to have multiple payment options for added convenience and customer satisfaction. The wider is the geography you cover, the more payment methods you should provide. Please pay special attention to local and alternative payment methods, for they attract more customers. Choose a provider who offers a complete service: reliable payment processing, fraud detection mechanisms, proper risk management, and support for multiple currencies & methods. A relevant payment partner will improve your customers’ experience and deliver benefits for your business.

Corefy covers all essential aspects and represents a full-fledged solution for your online gambling business. We bring together everything required to accept payments and send payouts globally — 650+ payment service providers and 400+ payment methods to cover all geographies your business is targeting.

Since our development team is located in Ukraine (Kyiv), we can’t help mentioning this region on a standalone basis. Ukraine has recently entered the gambling industry legal zone. The country’s president signed the Gambling Act into law in August 2020. Under the bill, such verticals as online gambling, bookmaking, slot halls, and offline casinos are all legal, but casinos may only be located in hotels. In case you planned to target this geography, now is the best time. Our team is ready to assist you and share our expertise about the Ukrainian market.

Starting your business in gambling or running and developing an existing one? We’ll cover you up, bringing a unified platform with smart tools to process payments and payouts, tackle day-to-day operations, and managing all financial aspects of your business. We love to see your businesses developing and your income multiplying. Contact us to know more and choose the best-suited offer for your business needs.

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