Global Legal Status of Online Gambling in 2019

Around the World: Where is online gambling legal in 2019?

Around the World: Where is Online Gambling Legal in 2019?The legislative aura surrounding internet gambling is a constantly shifting entity of fluctuating proportions. Some countries welcome it. Others accept it begrudgingly. While others still slap prohibition upon it. And from one year to the next, some countries that fell into one category before, tend to slip there way into a different one.

The fact is, online gaming is a staggeringly lucrative industry. It’s one that governments can scarcely afford to ignore. They ban it because they don’t want money flowing out of their borders, and legalize it when they think they’ve figured out how best to capitalize on it as a vast revenue source. And for this reason, the global legal status of online gambling in 2019 looks much different than the 2018 version.

Where is Online Gambling Legal in 2019?

There are a lot of countries out there, so I’ll try to keep this as brief, yet informative, as possible. Some regions require a bit more explanation than others. We’ll take it continent by continent, (excluding Antarctica, of course) in alphabetical order.

Africa

In Africa, only one region has an expressly legal iGaming market, and that’s South Africa.

A few years back, Kenya had a legal market, but its state-run operator closed up shop. Now, Kenya is considered a “grey area”. It’s not legal or illegal. International online casinos accept Kenyans, and the government doesn’t stop them.

Asia

The majority of Asian countries do not allow online gambling, or any gambling at all.

India is the only country that specifically permits online gambling in some form, allowing wagers on “skill based games”, like poker and rummy.

Macau, China’s ‘gambling capitol of the east‘, is a “grey market”, but not a very productive one since its citizens have more than enough gambling options in their back yard.

The Philippines is a darker grey area. Operators in the country can’t accept Filipinos, but operators that have no connection to the country can accept players with no threat of recompense—much like Canada.

Australia (Oceania)

Online gambling is legal in New Zealand and all of Australia, so long as the operators are located, and licensed, therein.

Europe

The majority of Europe now regulates a legal internet gambling market. Some still subscribe to the ring-fenced variety, while others, are open to more lucrative player sharing models. Countries where iGaming is expressly legal include:

  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Gibraltar
  • Hungry
  • Italy
  • Liechtenstein
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Russia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom (collectively)

North America

Canada is a mixture of grey market and legal online gambling in 2019. Most provinces offer some form of legal iGaming, whether its just online lottery sales, or a full spectrum of online lottery, casino, poker, bingo, and more. However, online gambling at internationally regulated websites is not illegal, so whether your province of residence offers a complete iGaming package or not, you can still place your bets with offshore operators without breaking any laws.

The United States is opening its doors to regulated online gambling more than ever in 2018 and 2019; ever since sports betting became a viable option outside of Nevada. At present, legal online gambling, in one form or another, is permitted in the following states:

  • Delaware
  • Georgia*
  • Illinois*
  • Kentucky*
  • Maine*
  • Michigan*
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire*
  • New York*
  • North Carolina*
  • North Dakota*
  • Pennsylvania
  • Virginia*

* Internet Lottery only.

South America

Most regions of South America have antiquated gambling laws dating back half a century or more. As such, most of the continent falls into ‘grey market’ legal status, but not all of it.

Columbia is the only country to officially regulate and execute a legal iGaming market.

Some parts of Argentina, including both Buenos Aires (the province and capital city of the same name), legalized online gambling in late 2018, but it will take some time before websites are licensed and operating. A similar situation exists in Brazil, where online lotteries and sports betting became legal in 2018. But again, it will be 2020 at the earliest before that’s up and running.

While many other countries all over the world are considering the adoption of legal online gambling in 2019, those named above round out the list to start the year.

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