Gambling laws in the world – differences and similarities

Although gambling is a widespread activity and probably one of the most, if not the single most popular pastime in the world, its regulations and rules are as different as you can imagine when it comes to different countries. Many people believe that gambling has the same characteristics wherever you look, but that couldn’t be more wrong. Europe, the American continents and Asia, to take the 3-biggest markets, have different implications when it comes to the ways in which they regulate their gambling. Popular as it may be, slots and pokies are the primary concern when making the laws in each and every country, the main reason being the increased popularity that those types of games have.

Even more, each country may have it states or city laws, as these organizational types of government handle things differently when it comes to allowing or banning games such as roulette, slots or blackjack. On top of all this, the legislation is constantly changing or being challenged in courts, so compliance is constantly at top of mind. Being the worldwide web by definition, not description, considerations about cross-border gaming, legal ramifications, and which laws take precedence, are all issues at play.

Should gaming operators be responsible for restricting player access – and to what extent?

Do the rules apply to the headquarters of the gaming operator or the location of the server? All this is colored by the question of the ethics of gaming.

Some look at gaming as a harmless, leisure activity.

Others look at it as a moral hazard that should be guarded against at all costs.

Regulators are given the task of creating rules that protect players, prevent money laundering and underage players, as well as ensure that social and taxation policies are met by licensees. Almost 50% of the market revenue comes from Europe, the largest player on the market and probably the most influential.

On December 7, 2017, the European Commission decided to close its infringement procedures and the treatment of complaints in the area of gambling.

However, the Commission does not make it a priority to use its copyright infringement rights and powers to promote an EU Single Market in the online gambling services.

National courts will now be the venue for these disputes and each country will be responsible for their gaming regulations.

Although the gambling regulations for each market are independent and distinct, one commonality shared is strict Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements; every player must be properly identified before playing.

In addition, the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (4AMLD) that came into force last June, required gambling operators to implement a risk-based assessment on all players to mitigate the potential

In situations involving high-risk individuals, enhanced due diligence must be performed.

These procedures are also triggered on a threshold of EU€2000 for a single transaction.

As money entering the gaming system is closely tracked and there are numerous AML procedures, the threat of money laundering “is primarily linked to unregulated operators who are offering their services outside of the EU either with no or a very low degree of regulation and supervision,”

To help make sense of the different EU regulatory models, a framework that considers how easy it is to get an online license is helpful:

A license is granted as long as numerous specific licensing criteria are met (Malta). Licenses are limited, but the process allows gaming companies from Belgium, Greece or Czechia to apply. In Poland, Slovakia, Sweden or Norway, the license is granted to only one government-owned entity that handles all of the gambling in the city.

The Gaming Act of 2005 was passed in the UK as one of the first regulations passed in Europe. It covered online gambling and it allowed the UK to be one of the most permissive countries when it comes to gambling.

The Revised AML guidance for casinos and gambling operators was passed in September 2017 by the UK Gambling Commission, is the latest act that is in place and governs the gambling.

Electronic identity verification (eIDV) is an acceptable method of verifying an individual’s identity, as long as certain standards are met. The standard level of confirmation must provide one match on an individual’s full name and current address AND a second match on an individual’s full name and either his

Operators need accurate and complete information that should be considered sufficiently extensive and reliable in order for the transactions to be considered legal and all of the account details to be in order.

As opposed to the clarity of the UK model, Germany gaming laws are a mess.

Each and every single state in Germany has its own laws in regards to gambling, so the Government only needs to approve the changes and not initiate them. The Interstate Treaty on Gambling regulates the relationship and transactions between states and keeps a structure of laws in place.

On top of that, election results bring in new state governments that then change their respective laws.

Speaking about the Interstate Treaty on Gambling 2018, Jörg Hofmann, senior partner at Melcher’s law firm, stated “The commission has accurately described the many weaknesses of the proposed new regulation. The failure of the inadequately modified Interstate Treaty is predestined. Private online casinos are not permitted, although sports betting may be permitted under certain conditions and specific indications.