Legal Situation for Online Casino Players
Online gambling is a legally “grey area” in most parts of the world, which is why online players are free to do whatever they like with their money in many countries. But even where this activity is forbidden by law, it is very difficult to prosecute individual players because they gamble from the privacy of their own homes. That is why there is a constantly increasing number of countries that have regulated online gambling. Their governments enforced laws which require the operators to hold licences issued by the respective home commissions if they want to serve players living there. To help you get the overall picture, we’ll just mention that the prime example of that practice is the United Kingdom where things are neatly organised and regulated as opposed to other countries.
The Current State of Matters in the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom is one of those countries that have managed to regulate online casino gaming in the best possible way. The government passed the Gambling Act 2005 which covers every activity that could be classified as real-money games of fortune over the Internet. The authority that regulates the status of online operators in the UK is the Gambling Commission. It requires that casino providers get a gambling licence, if they want to offer their services to customers in Britain. So, basically every internet gaming supplier that advertises and offers their services to UK citizens needs to file in their application to the Gambling Commission. The authority is funded mainly from the fees with which it charges online casino operators for their licences.
The Commission’s tasks involve more than issuing licences for remote gambling. The body is also responsible for monitoring their licencees and ensuring that they are in line with all the provisions of the Gambling Act 2005. In addition, it oversees if they actually keep to the code of conduct stipulated by the law, whether they adhere to the industry standards, if they help players who struggle with gambling addiction and if they help protect vulnerable individuals, such as minors, from being affected from gambling. The said code proscribes that every online casino operator should conduct gambling in a fair and open way and be socially responsible. All this makes online gambling in the UK perfectly safe.
Many of the reputable online casino operators that offer not just casino games but also other services like sports betting, poker, bingo and lotteries are actually well-established companies that have been offering gambling opportunities to UK citizens for decades. Some of them are between 50 and 100 years old, but, as online action got so popular, they decided to join, too. Such brands are referred to as UK online casinos. One such company is William Hill, whose review you may read here. Because the majority of online casinos that provide gambling to citizens in the United Kingdom are based outside of the country and used to hold licences issued in other jurisdictions, it was harder for the Government to prosecute them if they wouldn’t comply with the laws in the UK. Therefore, the Gambling Commission stipulated that all apply for a proper home permission in order to work with UK citizens.
Furthermore, as of November 2014, all online casinos that offer services to UK-based customers are required to pay taxes in the UK. This regulation goes for every online gaming website no matter if it’s based in the United Kingdom or overseas. Under its provisions, all operators are expected to pay a 15% tax on all gross profits from bets that were placed by bettors residing in the country. As for the players themselves, they are not required to pay any taxes for what they do. It would be really tough if the UK Government would pass a law requesting payment of taxes on each winning.
What Do Things Look Like in Europe?
Every European country has its own set of laws regarding online casinos and gambling. This is because the European Union hasn’t offered any uniform legislation for this activity, yet. When that happens, each EU member-state will have to enforce it. Therefore, everything is still on an individual basis and you will find that every country has regulated online gambling in its own way. That is why it is legal in some EU countries. There are also those where it is definitely forbidden, and those where no particular regulation is in place, which makes it “not illegal”.
We expect that the EU will regulate online gaming in the future. As a matter of fact, the majority of EU states are not hostile towards it at all. Quite naturally, some governments are less favourable towards cross-border gambling. For example, the Belgian government is more rigorous towards international casinos and has even set up blacklists in order to protect its own state monopoly. The situation with France and Germany is similar, which is why there are many online casinos that don’t accept players from these countries. Anyway, many of them began to relax their laws and are now more open to the issue.