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Regulation and the Online Casino Industry

Online casinos are rapidly becoming one of the best loved adult pastimes for people from all walks of life. Their popularity has spread across the globe, leading to an interesting situation that the broader gambling industry has never seen before.

Unlike other leisure activities, such as watching a movie or playing a non-casino related online game, gambling carries extra social and regulatory baggage with it. In some countries, for example the UK, it has long been an accepted part of life. Walk along any high street and you will see several bookmakers, and step into a pub and there will be slot machines in which to try your luck. Every town has at least one casino, where you can play blackjack, roulette and other popular games, with the chance to win big money.

In other countries, such as Russia and India, gambling is prohibited and you will not see a casino or bookmaker anywhere. And then there is the case of the USA, where things vary state by state. In Nevada, you can find Las Vegas, the gambling centre of the world, while in other states, the pastime is completely banned under state law.

How about online casinos?

The thing about the internet is that it has scant regard for national boundaries. This has resulted in confusion and a regulatory minefield. It has also provided the possibility for the vast number of new online casinos cropping up every day to attract players from new markets.

We mentioned India and the USA earlier. These are two examples of countries where the rules are struggling to keep up. In the former, while physical gambling is illegal, there is no law against gambling online. So Indian casino enthusiasts can simply log on to a site in the UK or elsewhere and play as much as they wish. In the States, there is legislation that prohibits US banks from making transfers in connection with gambling activities. So we have the bizarre situation whereby a US citizen is allowed to gamble online, but the bank is not allowed to transfer his money to the casino.

In both cases, the biggest question is which casino is going to best serve the needs of the player. This is particularly so for the US gambler, who might, for example, search for a site that accepts Bitcoin payments to get around the US banking issues. With so many casinos to choose from, this is where websites like casino-ratings can be extremely useful, putting the various online casinos, old and new, side by side so that players can make an informed choice as to which one they should visit.
Increasing regulation

It is a fact of life that the legal process is a slow one, whichever country you are looking at, and it certainly has little hope of keeping pace with technology. Having said that, regulatory bodies are moving to try and catch up, in order to both close loopholes and gather any available tax revenue on which they might be missing out.

The Bitcoin issue is a particular case in point. Governments the world over are seeking to regulate the use of Bitcoin and levy appropriate taxes, but until they can reach consensus on exactly how Bitcoin should be categorised, this is a long way from coming into force.

While lawmaker continue to debate, players can continue to make the most of the opportunity to enjoy their online casinos, wherever they are based.
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