If somebody asks you about the most disreputable industry, chances are you’d mention gambling. Legislation regarding 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 gaming sites are legally regulated and subject to specific 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 four groups based on where online gambling is legal, forbidden or specifically regulated.
Countries where online casinos are legal
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 entirely prohibited on the Cayman Islands territory, and residents are criminally liable for participating in any gambling activities.
- 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).
Countries where local regulators’ license is needed
These countries use the most competent approach to gambling regulation. Each operator, whether local or foreign, must purchase a license following specific legal requirements. Conditions are equal for everyone. Everyone is obliged to pay taxes to the budget. Only in this case, they can act legally. 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, Saint Martin, US Virgin Islands);
- South America (Falkland Islands, French Guiana);
- Oceania (French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna).
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; it is not required in some countries. 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).
Countries without restrictions on gambling sites
There is a large group of countries where online gambling is legal. 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 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 technological development, do not have the necessary resources or tools to prevent foreign companies from operating in their territories.
- 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 license — for example, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Great Britain, Netherlands, etc.
- 28 countries ban residents from gambling and block the sites of local 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 quickly 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 the geography you cover, the more payment methods you should provide. Please pay special attention to local and alternative payment methods to 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 customer's experience and deliver benefits for your business.
How Corefy helps to accept online gambling payments
Corefy covers all essential aspects and represents a full-fledged solution for your online gambling business. We combine 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. If you plan to target this geography, now is the best time. Our team is ready to assist you and share our expertise in the Ukrainian market.
Are you 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 manage all financial aspects of your business. We love to see your companies developing and your income multiplying. Contact us to know more and choose the best-suited offer for your business needs.