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The Legal Side of Online Gambling Around the World

October 21, 2013 by  

While a trip to Las Vegas guarantees a visitor with endless opportunities to roll the dice, play a hand or spin the wheel, those who are anticipating their trip might not be able to practice their skills online before they head to the famous city.

Online gambling allows users to play those games we casinos are famous for – roulette, poker, blackjack and more – either through animated gaming systems or through live casino formats, which stream video from a real casino. However, the different legal rules throughout the world may forbid potential online gamblers from being able to play these games online, by restricting their availability.

For example, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 prevents bank transactions to online gambling sites in America. The FBI shut down three of the largest poker sites operating online in the US, accusing them of doing just that – accepting finance in connection with internet gambling, deemed unlawful. While it was argued that the nature of poker, a game of skill rather than chance, should mean that this specific type of online gambling should not be penalised as it is not a game of chance, but the likelihood of winning is based on the user’s skill. In response to this, some states have changed their opinion on the ruling, introducing laws that allow certain types of online gambling games. This includes New Jersey, for example, which passed a bill which legalized forms such as poker games, casino games and slots.

French rules on online gambling are simpler. A 2009 bill proposed that the licenses need to be held by those who host online gambling, but the country felt it was important for their gambling market to respond to ‘internet reality’. The stance reflected an understanding of the valid interest and enjoyment many users gain from playing games like poker, blackjack and roulette online, but works to control its presentation online to ensure standards of fairness are maintained.

The United Kingdom’s legal attitude towards online gambling is more open, but still with strict rules. Online gaming is legal as long as businesses correspond to certain regulations, including obtaining a licence. This carries several caveats that they must adhere to. For example, the UK Gambling Commission certifies that online gaming cannot have any link with crime, must be carried out in a fair and open manner, and that children and vulnerable adults are protected from harm. As such, no-one under 18 is allowed to gamble.

Therefore, depending on your location, you may be able to participate in online gambling as a way of practising your skills and tactics before a visit to a real casino, or even the gambling mecca of Las Vegas. The experience of playing online is one that is engaging, entertaining and fun, allowing you to play your favourite casino games before you get there for real. Usually online gambling is permitted if it’s done through a certified online gambling business which holds a license. Sites like Paddy Power, for example, provide an example of a company which provides a fair, open and engaging online gambling experience, which corresponds with licensing laws.

Being able to have access to online gaming sites, and the increase in state laws changing to allow this, reflects the entertainment value of playing such games online. Whether you can’t get to a casino, or want to build up anticipation and excitement for your gambling holiday, online gaming makes an entertaining activity for the meantime, before you can splash the cash in Vegas!

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