The internet has a global gambling audience. But, no single legislation covers the legality of online casinos and sportsbooks for the entire world. This is why most countries have their own laws that regulate whether online gambling will be allowed for their citizens.
Sometimes these laws vary wildly from one country to the next. So, that’s what’s legal in the United Kingdom may not be legal in France. Luckily, gambling portals give sound advice about which gambling sites allow players from which countries.
The Gambling Commission
The Gambling Commission is definitely the most reputable licencing jurisdiction in the world. Any online casino or bookie that wants to serve bettors and casino players based in the UK needs to obtain a licence from the Commission.
The Gambling Commission answers to the Department for Culture, Sport and Media. It regulates the gambling industry under the Gambling Act of 2015. It ensures that gambling operators adhere and meet the strict standards.
As a result, betting and gambling has grown to be one of the biggest businesses in the UK. Now we have betting companies like bet365, Betfair, Ladbrokes, William Hill etc., that are worth billions of pounds.
The Gambling Commission’s job is to:
- prevent gambling from becoming source of crime
- ensure that gambling is conducted in fair and open way
- protect children or problem gamblers from getting exposed or harmed
For now, the Commission has been doing its job in the utmost manner.
Gambling Commission vs Off-Shore Licencing Jurisdictions
The same cannot be said about some of the off-shore licencing bodies. The reputable ones such as Gibraltar or Malta, which are whitelisted by the Commission as safe, are working well within their responsibilities.
But, other off-shore jurisdictions such as Costa Rica have a distinct lack of regulation. It’s easy for an operator to obtain a licence there. On top of that, the licence is a general one and does not pertain to casino gaming or sports betting in any manner.
This is why many rogue betting and gambling sites operate from Costa Rica. Other such jurisdictions are Panama, Belize, Seychelles and maybe Cyprus.
Antigua & Barbuda was the first off-shore licencing jurisdiction to offer gambling operators licences. It also was the jurisdiction with the most operators licenced. However, not many operators are fighting for a licence there. Instead they go in Curacao or Kahnwake, which have emerged as more reputable.
How UK Gambling Laws Affect UK Players
The effect is mostly a positive one. UK players are free to gamble online without risking persecution, which cannot be said for US players for example. Although, the situation is starting to be relaxed over there as states try to legalize online gambling.
The biggest problem is deciding where to join. Since so much operators carry a licence from the Gambling Commission wanting a piece of the UK market, the options are plenty. But, once the licence has been obtained, you know that the site is safe, regulated and secured with a set of standards.