| 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.
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
How about online
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
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
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.