The legal status of online gambling varies around the world. In some regions there is clear legislation and regulation, while in others the situation is more complicated. Since most our readers come from the following regions, we’ll provide a quick overview of these areas here.
Real money online gambling in the United States sits in a kind of legal grey area. There are no federal laws against simply betting or gaming online, but some states do have legislation that technically prohibits this. However, millions of US citizens gamble online every year and we have never once heard of someone getting in trouble for playing a few hands of blackjack.
The laws in the United States mostly target banking institutions and gambling sites themselves. It most definitely IS illegal to start your own gambling site and accept players in the States. It’s also illegal to operate any type of financial institution (such as a payment processor) that facilitates payments to and from such sites.
If you’re just a simple gambler in the United States, you probably don’t have anything to worry about. However, we’re going to tell you up front that we are not lawyers. If you have any questions about the law, you should seek a licensed attorney for advice.
Please note that, in recent years, several states have introduced legislation that legalizes certain forms of online gambling with licensed operators.
The UK is a very pro-gambling nation. Online gambling has been 100% legal there for years and citizens are free to gamble when, how, and where they want. There is a regulated licensing system in place that allows for gambling sites to operate in the region, whether they are physically based there or elsewhere.
If you live in the UK and want to gamble online, you’re good to go. There are dozens of legal sites to choose from, and some of them even accept PayPal as a payment method. The only thing you shouldn’t do is start your own site without getting the proper licenses.
The online gambling laws in Canada are unclear, which means they are open to interpretation to some extent. This has resulted in a similar situation to the US, where it’s really something of a grey area. Also similar to the US is the fact that there are laws that apply to the whole country, and local laws too.
There are some state-owned gambling sites, which operate legally and are legal to use, but outside of those things are not so straightforward. What is definitely illegal is to operate a gambling site in the country without the express permission of the government. There is no law that makes it specifically illegal to use a gambling site though, so our view is that it’s reasonable to do so without fear of any legal consequences.
Online gambling in Australia is governed by the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001. This made it illegal for Australian based companies to offer certain forms of gambling to Australian residents. Sports betting was the biggest exception, but any company wishing to offer online sports betting has to be fully licensed and comply with a strict set of regulatory requirements.
From the consumer point of view, the relevant laws are fairly straightforward. There is nothing that specifically makes it illegal for an Australian to use a gambling site of any kind, whether that site is based in Australia or not. Residents can therefore choose to use whichever sites they want without breaking the law.
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