Online Casino Games Legal, just Not for Locals
Throughout the ages, many governments have elected to legalize various forms of gambling as a means of generating tax dollars. This is nothing new, nor uncommon. A more peculiar and markedly egregious style of regulation, however, permits the operation of things like live and/or online casino games, but forbids locals to patronize them.
This form of regulatory design has become strangely popular among some governments, especially those where conservative religious beliefs are deeply ingrained into society. For example, Israel allows operators of online casino games to base operations within their borders, but prohibits them from accepting Israeli punters.
A similar situation exists in Australia, where operators are permitted to host online gambling activities. Obtaining a licence to do so, however, comes with the stipulation that Aussies may not deposit or wager on casino or poker games. Only sports betting, horse racing and lotteries are legal forms of online betting for locals.
Australians can, however, patronize land-based casinos in the country. Crown Perth, Crown Melbourne, Jupiter’s Casino, Gold Coast – these are just a few of the prominent gambling destinations, as well as the slot machines (or pokies, as they call them) that riddle pubs, clubs and hotels throughout much of the country, that are perfectly acceptable for locals.
Costa Rica was one of the first popular licencing jurisdictions for operators of online casino games, and was also among the first to stipulate that locals could not participate. Historically, the jurisdiction has never really enforced any regulations upon its licencees, except that one.
Hypocritical Laws of Canada
Canada has similar laws, but is widely viewed as a grey-market when it comes to online gambling. Several jurisdictions host provincially-run online casino, poker and other gambling pastimes. Offshore operators are deemed illegal, but current laws do little to stop Canadians from accessing them.
The nation takes no issue with playing host to online gambling operators and software suppliers that aren’t authorized to provide their services to Canadians, so long as they comply with that rule.
PokerStars, for instance, has been based out of Montreal, Quebec ever since Amaya Gaming purchased its parent company in 2014. Since then, PokerStars has complied with local laws, staunchly refusing to accept Canadian poker players.
Land-Based Casinos Not For Locals
The situation gets even stranger when it comes to land-based casino laws. In some countries, like Singapore and Vietnam, casinos are geared solely towards tourists.
Singapore casinos are considered some of the most elaborate in the world, catering to high-rolling VIPs with designer suits and exorbitant bankrolls. Locals are strictly forbidden from even entering the country’s two integrated resorts, which include Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa.
In Vietnam, locals are clearly fans of gambling, but they aren’t allowed to do so on native soil. Instead, they are forced to travel across the Cambodian border to get their wagers on, or visit one of the region’s equally shady underground gambling dens.
When Religion Plays A Role
From a religious perspective, it makes a bit more sense, albeit it a highly hypocritical stance. In Jewish society, for example, gambling is frowned upon as a degenerative activity. Money is meant to be made and spent on needful things, not squandered on what will inevitably (in their opinion) become a downward spiral into addiction.
Thus Israel chose to maintain its prohibition against gambling, invoked in 1977 and updated in 2005 to include online casino games. Being ever vigilant in the pursuit of wealth, however, collecting taxes from native iGaming operators seems to fall just within their range of moralistic values.
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