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Regulatory Challenges Abound in the Global iGaming Industry

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The global iGaming industry is a complex market tangled in webs of strict regulations – navigating it can often feel like peeling an onion.

Operators must understand the legal minefields across different regions to ensure they remain on the right side of the legal line in each jurisdiction.

Read on as we assess the regulatory iGaming frameworks in Europe, the United States (US) and the Rest of the World (ROW) to highlight crucial differences.

Europe: A Unified Approach with Individual Twists

Europe has developed some of the most trustworthy iGaming regulations, many of which have been adopted by legislators in other jurisdictions.

The European Union (EU) laid a solid foundation with the 2014 Gambling Act. The legislation focuses on licensing, taxation, consumer protection and responsible gambling.

However, individual countries can supplement the EU’s framework with regulations for their unique situation. These differences allow nations to tailor the Act to suit their circumstances.

The United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland are prime examples of this multi-layered approach. While the UK now sits outside the EU, much of its gambling framework was created while it was a member.

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is a highly respected regulatory body with strict licensing procedures. They are famed for demanding remarkably high standards of fairness, transparency and responsible gambling practices.

This gives players of popular online blackjack games and other elements of iGaming platforms peace of mind that the industry operates in a fair and trustworthy manner.

Ireland is a little more liberal with their licensing. They adhere to the EU’s strict principles, but the Irish Revenue Commissioners are far more relaxed than their UK counterparts.

Consequently, Ireland has become an attractive option for many operators, but it is important to note that responsible gambling measures are still a priority for them.

Other European nations have their own regulatory nuances. For example, Italy heavily limits online gambling adverts. Their legislative decrees are already incredibly complex, and they keep fortifying the industry with new rules.

The Italian Board of Ministry recently approved new reforms guiding online gambling and the award of remote gaming licenses.

Meanwhile, Sweden does not allow operators to use welcome bonuses to entice potential customers. Operators continue to fight this rule to date to no avail.

The US: A Complicated Patchwork of Laws

While the laws of Europe regarding iGaming are clear and unified, the regulations are a complex patchwork of federal and state laws in the US.

States such as Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania have fully embraced online casinos and sports betting, but others have completely outlawed it.

Many states fall somewhere in between. They don’t have a clear stance on iGaming, creating a confusing environment for operators and players.

Federal laws such as the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) further complicates the matter. The UIGEA does not allow payment processors to handle illegal online gambling-related transactions.

However, they have never defined what constitutes an illegality, but leave the states to decide on what is legal and illegal.

The US introduced the Wire Act of 1961 to curb interstate sports betting, but it has also been applied to some forms of online gambling, further complicating the picture.

However, things may be turning around. In 2018, the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992, a regulation prohibiting sports gambling under state law.

Since the law was overturned, many states have started exploring and enacting online wagering regulations. As more states embrace online gambling, the US may adopt a more unified approach.

The Rest of the World: A Diverse Setting with Emerging Markets

Several countries on the Asian continent oppose online betting, and the ones that allow it hover strictly due to cultural attitudes and concerns about addiction and crime.

China has outlawed most forms of gambling, although there are exceptions in Macau, an administrative and autonomous region on the south coast.

South Korea banned all forms of gambling but allowed select options like horse racing and lottery. Japan recently legalized integrated resorts with casinos, but strict rules are in place to set limitations.

Many Latin American nations have established regulated iGaming markets. Colombia, Mexico, Argentina and Costa Rica allow operators to apply for licences. They create a stable environment where consumers are protected and operators can also thrive.

However, their regulations are still evolving, and operators need a thorough understanding of local laws to avoid any trouble.

South Africa opened its doors to online wagering in the early 2000s and consequently developed the largest gambling market in Africa.

The industry reportedly generates around $1.8 billion yearly, with online casinos flooding the market to cater to potential customers.

The South African National Gaming Board (SANGB) monitors gambling in the country and ensures that providers are licensed.

Nigeria also has a boisterous iGaming market that continues to develop. The 2005 National Lottery Act guides all gambling within the country.