You'd probably mention gambling if somebody asked about the most disreputable industry. Legislation of gambling sites is pretty complicated, especially for newcomers. Starting an online gambling business or developing an existing one, businessmen, first of all, wonder: which markets to target? Where is online gambling legal, and where is the licensing procedure required?
The insights below will enlighten you and help define what markets are best to target.
Where is online gambling legal: 4 geographies to consider
According to Statista, the total European gambling market is forecast to reach 126.3 billion euros by 2026. European countries organise their gambling services autonomously. Generally, Europe has been at the forefront of online gambling regulation, with several countries implementing comprehensive frameworks to govern this industry. Some prominent jurisdictions where online gambling is legal and regulated include the United Kingdom, Malta, Gibraltar, Isle of Man, and Alderney. These countries have established licensing authorities that oversee online gambling operators, ensuring consumer protection and fair play.
The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) is a dedicated organization aiming to establish a transparent, competitive, and well-regulated market for online gambling operators offering their services in Europe.
The legal status of online gambling in North America varies significantly. Gambling regulations in the United States are complex: each state has the authority to regulate or prohibit online gambling within its borders. About half of all states, including New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, have legalised online gambling as of 2022. Canada allows online gambling, but regulations vary by province.
South America has seen a mix of online gambling regulations. In Mexico, online gambling is legal, and the Ministry of the Interior regulates the industry. The same with Argentina – it is legal and regulated at the provincial level, with some provinces offering licenses to operators. Brazil has passed legislation to legalise sports betting but has yet to regulate online gambling fully. In Colombia, online gambling is legal and regulated, with a licensing system in place to ensure the industry's integrity. Generally, Latin America's online gambling gross revenue is forecast to grow until 2026 significantly.
Asia presents a diverse landscape when it comes to online gambling legality. In some countries, it is fully legal and regulated, while others have stringent restrictions or a complete ban. For instance, the Philippines is a popular hub for online gambling operators and grants licenses to companies that meet the required criteria. In contrast, China strictly prohibits all forms of gambling except welfare and sports lottery. Hong Kong and Macau, as special administrative regions, have their own legislation for online gambling. Other countries where online gambling is legal in certain regions include Japan, South Korea, and Singapore.
Australia has a well-established online gambling industry, and it is legal for Australian residents to engage in online sports betting and lottery games. For instance, the gambling industry contributed around 420 million AUD to the economy in 2022. However, the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 prohibits providing and advertising any interactive online gambling in the country. New Zealand allows online gambling, but the operators must be based outside the country. The regulatory frameworks in both countries aim to protect consumers and prevent problem gambling.
The legality of online gambling varies significantly across different regions of the world. While some countries have embraced online gambling and implemented robust regulatory frameworks, others have adopted strict regulations or outright bans.
Online gambling landscape constantly evolves, and regulations may change over time. Therefore, staying updated with the latest gambling legislation in your region is recommended to ensure compliance and a safe and enjoyable online gambling experience.
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, the activities of foreign gambling sites are subject to the requirements of 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 to 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.
Quick gambling legislation note:
- 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. The governments of these countries 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.
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Find out how to streamline your payments, expand to new markets, and increase conversion rates to succeed in online gambling.
Online gambling payments processing
Launching an online gaming business, ensure you have a reliable partner to process your gambling payments. The vital point is to enable your customers to deposit money and withdraw their winnings easily. To do so, platforms and operators should offer gamblers multiple payment options. The wider the project's geography, the more payment methods should be on the list. Please pay special attention to local and alternative payment methods, for they attract more customers.
Ensure the provider you choose offers a holistic service: reliable gambling payment processing, fraud detection mechanisms, proper risk management, and support for multiple currencies & methods. A relevant payment partner will improve your customers' experience and bring benefits to your business.
How Corefy can help?
Corefy covers all essential aspects and represents an all-in-one solution for the 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 targets.
Since our development team is located in Ukraine (Kyiv), we can't help mentioning this region on a standalone basis. Ukraine entered the gambling industry legal zone in August 2020. Since then, such verticals as online gambling, bookmaking, slot halls, and offline casinos are all legal, but casinos may only be located in hotels.
Our team is ready to assist you and share the expertise not only about the Eastern Europe market. If you’re launching a gambling business or running and developing an existing one, contact us to learn more about gambling payment processing and choose the best-suited offer for your business needs.