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Overview of Gambling Legislation Internationally

In this article, I’ll explore how different markets handle gambling legislation. Whether there is a governing body that licenses operators, if operators can offer their services freely, or if the market is closed, leaving players to play at offshore casinos.

international gambling legislation

The legality of gambling is a vast subject that can usually be reduced to a single question – is a company based in that country or territory allowed to legally offer its services to players from that country or region? And if so, can it be done online?

If it can, in all likelihood, there’s a regulatory framework in place that allows companies to make legal profits by offering gambling services.

If there is no legal path for this, playing at an operator’s website registered in another jurisdiction is sometimes an option. Then the question to ask is, can the players do so freely?

Most of the time, in jurisdictions that don’t have a regulatory body that controls the market, the country’s administration tends to ban gambling. This means players find a way to gamble online at casinos, quite happy to dodge the rules, which is riskier for players.

There is no player protection in these markets as the regulatory body doesn’t exist. Players must use casino review websites and talk to other players to find out if a casino is good and what kind of reputation it has.

Now, let’s review each major market and see the situation in that respective country.

United Kingdom

Online gambling is legal and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission. This body oversees all forms of gambling, including online casinos, and ensures the operators adhere to strict standards of fairness and security.

UK residents can gamble at any online casino with a license from the UK Gambling Commission.

UK Players can play online at unlicensed offshore-based casinos, but there is no player protection in place, and the casinos are likely to withhold funds and payments, leaving players with no leverage to get them back. These casinos are usually advertised as Non-Gamestop Casinos, which are designed to attract players with gambling problems who have previously registered with the Gamestop agency to stop themselves from playing online. This is a nasty and distasteful practice the UK authorities can do little about, so if you’re tempted to play at one of these casinos, Don’t!

Players from countries without legislation can limit their exposure to rogue operators by choosing a casino with a UKGC or MGA license. This is a good signal for those players as it demonstrates the casino is already working within a regulatory framework and is more likely to be an honest casino to play at, assuming they accept registrations from players in other countries.

Let’s look at one country with lenient gambling laws and where UKGC-licensed casinos can freely operate. After that, I’ll explain gambling regulation in some of the other large markets.


Canada was a market in which any online casino could offer its services. There was no federal law against online gambling, with online gambling laws determined by each of the 13 provinces, which all have their regulatory bodies.

However, as recently as 2022, The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) started to regulate online casinos in its province, requiring any remote casino to conform to its licensing standards. This resulted in a mass exodus of casinos previously happy to accept Ontario players for fear of getting fined.

Some operators chose to open a separate online casino targeting Ontario players who abide by the license terms, while others decided not to accept Ontario players.

The situation in the rest of Canada is favourable for the players as most casinos accept them as they are regulated elsewhere, such as Malta and The UK, which should give players the confidence they are playing at quality casinos. The casinos to look out for are the non-regulated offshore casinos typically sporting a Curacao license, which generally isn’t the benchmark for trustworthy casinos – but there are some exceptions, such as Winz Casino!

New Zealand

The Gambling Commission regulates online gambling in New Zealand. New Zealanders are allowed to gamble online, but only with casinos that are based and licensed overseas. The Department of Internal Affairs is responsible for enforcing these regulations.

This means that no casino blacklists New Zealand, so players can freely join any licensed or unlicensed casinos they find online. Since New Zealand is such an important market, many casinos allow players to gamble in their local currency, NZD.

This situation is similar to Canada’s, perhaps even better, as no local licensing exists.

However, player protection doesn’t exist, so players are at the mercy of how a given casino wants to treat them. That’s why it’s still vital for the player to do their research and only gamble at casinos that are in good standing with other players.


In India, the federal government is responsible for any laws related to the Internet. At the same time, individual states govern gambling laws, meaning there is no one cohesive regulatory body that protects players’ interests.

Generally, online gambling at licensed offshore casinos is allowed if the casinos are based offshore and offer Rupees as a deposit method.

Some states, such as Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Maharashtra, do not permit online gambling. Indians from those states caught gambling could face six months in jail and a 5,000 rupee fine. However, everyone else is OK.

The most popular games in India are Real Money Games, which have an element of skill. Of the online casino games, Crazy Time, Blackjack, and Roulette, followed by localised games such as Andar Bahar and Teen Patti, are popular.

Most Indians use their mobile phones to play.

Winz.io and CasinoDays are two offshore casinos that offer Rupees as a deposit method.


In Bangladesh, all forms of gambling, including online gambling, are illegal under the Public Gambling Act of 1867. Yes, a law from the 19th century!

In theory, this is enforced strongly with fines and even imprisonment for companies offering gambling services and individuals who are caught gambling.

However, no one has ever been fined, and many residents circumvent these laws by gambling at online casinos based overseas.

Unlike India, Bangladeshi players don’t have the luxury of playing online in their native currency, so they usually choose USD. They also often use e-wallets like Neteller and Skrill, as cards and bank accounts shouldn’t be used due to the total gambling ban.

Bangladeshi players are usually accepted by online casinos located and regulated in other territories. It’s rare for an online casino to restrict Bangladesh, but it is harder to find casinos tailored to Bangladeshi requirements. Krikya and Parimatch accept players from Bangladesh and make it easy for them to deposit and withdraw.


In the Philippines, online gambling is regulated by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). Filipinos can gamble online, but only at casinos holding a PAGCOR license. Or those owned by the agency – at least 46 casinos are on the islands.

Filipino-based casinos and sportsbooks aren’t allowed to offer their online services to Filipino players, but Filipino players can freely gamble online at offshore casinos.

The 2012 court ruling verified that Philippine gambling laws don’t prohibit Filipinos from placing wagers online – as long as the operator isn’t based in the country.

UKGC-licensed casinos usually stay away from the Philippines, though it’s not a firm rule.

Interestingly, lots of Filipino companies, 50 or more of them, offer their online services to Chinese players. This is a significant industry in the Philippines.

BC.Game accepts players from the Philippines.


In Indonesia, all forms of gambling are illegal due to the country’s adherence to Sharia law.

However, many Indonesians gamble online at casinos based overseas, as the government has no jurisdiction over these sites.

Some online casinos decide to accept Indonesia, while others restrict the territory.

South Africa

In South Africa, online gambling is illegal under the National Gambling Act of 2004.

However, South Africans could gamble legally at online casinos licensed and regulated in other countries for several years. This ended abruptly in 2010 when those casinos were declared illegal, effectively shutting down the market to any regulated online casino and leaving players at the mercy of unregulated ones.

Most online casinos that hold an important license in other jurisdictions, such as UKGC, refrain from accepting South African players.

However, some online casinos like PlayOJO accept players from South Africa and allow them to play in their native currency, the Rand.

United States

The USA has long been an unregulated area in which offshore bookmakers and casinos made a lot of money, and most of them originated on US soil, only to be moved offshore after the UIGEA Act of 2006 that banned online gambling. It took until 2018 and the federal court ruling on PASPA for the market to start opening up.

Sportsbooks were the first and still are the first gambling vertical to open up the regulated market in the US. As far as casino gambling is concerned, there are lots of land-based casinos in the country, especially on Indian reservations. Still, online casino gambling faces much stricter regulation as different interest groups battle for exclusive access.

In late 2023, only six US states allowed online casinos to get an official license and offer their services legally: Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Rhode Island is coming up as the seventh state in 2024. In almost all cases, the online casino is attached to what is primarily a sportsbook business.

In other states, players still resort to offshore operators, as do those in regulated states, if they want a change of scenery and access to games by other providers. Almost exclusively, deposits and withdrawals to offshore casinos from the USA will be made with cryptocurrency.

Casinos regulated in other jurisdictions, such as UKGC or Malta, never accept USA players. The only casinos that do are either those licensed in one of six US states or offshore casinos with usually a Curacao ‘license’.

Crucially for live dealer players, only the regulated casinos have access to games by Evolution and the others. Offshore casinos never have live dealer sections; if they do, they aren’t worth playing as the games are proprietary and, therefore, at a very low-quality level.


In Italy, online gambling is legal and regulated by the Autonomous Administration of State Monopolies (AAMS). Italians can gamble freely at any online casino with an AAMS license.

In practice, a selection of online casinos have become licensed, but many good casinos are absent from the market as they don’t have licenses.

Many offshore casinos take Italian traffic without a license, but they offer little player protection if anything goes wrong.

The onus is still on players in Italy to read casino reviews to ensure they’re playing at a good site, regardless of whether it has an AAMS license.


In Brazil, online gambling is not regulated, making it a grey area. While there are no specific laws against it, the government does not issue licenses to online casinos. Brazilians typically gamble at online casinos based overseas.

The online casino scene in Brazil is a mixture of reputable brands with strong licenses elsewhere and rogue brands targeting the grey area markets, making it difficult for  Brazilian players to know who’s good and who’s not. As the market is unprotected, Brazilian players have to rely on casino review websites to recommend the best casinos.

The Netherlands

In the Netherlands, online gambling is regulated by the Dutch Gaming Authority. Dutch residents can legally gamble at online casinos with a license from this body.

There have been many years of legal turmoil – the Brussels style of endless negotiations that don’t amount to any changes. The road was peppered with multiple delays, regime revisions, complaints, amendments, and millions of euros in fines levied against illegal operators.

In April 2021, the politics finally came up with an answer and offered a legal framework for the operators to work in.

It was an overwhelming success, as over 85% of players play at regulated casinos. The fines for operators who don’t adhere to the rules, especially those that target minors, are enormous. That’s why brands are given a strict choice – get a Dutch Gaming and Gambling Authority (KSA) license or avoid this market altogether. And that’s what most are doing, with only a handful of small casinos choosing to operate without a license.

But again, the selection of KSA-licensed casinos includes those brands that always get a license when it’s up for grabs and small brands that get a license to make themselves look good that you have never heard of in other major markets. Many excellent casinos are absent from the Netherlands’ online gaming scene.


It’s a bit of a minefield regarding licensing and regulation, with some countries banning online gambling and some implementing controls and regulations.

Regulation is seen as a way of proving control, having standards and holding casinos to account. It’s also a method to provide players with protection and support for their gambling habits. However, regulation alone isn’t a cure, and it’s entirely possible for players who live in a country where gambling is either banned or regulated to play at offshore casinos that don’t adhere to localised rules.

Players should play in a regulated environment, but many either can’t or are sick of the personal intrusion imposed by the regulators, so they play at offshore grey market casinos.

Every market is different. But one thing that’s always the same is the need for the players to research and use sources such as LiveCasinoComparer.com, which studies and recommends the best casinos and games.

So, regardless of your country of residence, read the casino reviews on this site and see which one is the best fit for your gambling needs.

Best 6 Live Casinos


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Leo Vegas Live Casino


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Playojo Live Casino


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VBet Live Casino


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Dafabet Live Casino


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Mr Green Live Casino


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About Neil’s Casino Comparer Reviews

I have tried to be objective and consistent with all my live casino reviews. Hopefully, they will strike a chord with you, but I thought it might be helpful to explain the criteria I use to mark each of the casinos. Hopefully, the categories and explanations make sense.

Playability – What is the overall impression of the casino? Did I have a good time? are the dealers nice and chatty and is everything easy to understand? Does it have a good set of games and is there a comprehensive set of betting options? Are high stakes players taken care of?

Software – What is the software like to use and does it integrate well with the rest of the casino?. Are the images clear and is the video streaming fast? Have they taken more than the default shared tables? Is it available on mobile?

Payment Options – Does the casino have a good variety of payment options? Do they payout quickly and on time?

Security – How good is the reputation of the casino amongst other players? Do they hold a valid gaming license? Are they transparent about the security measures they have in place? Are they regularly audited? Do they publish this information?

Support – Do they have multiple methods for communication with me? Is support available 24×7? Do they have instant chat and are they quick to respond? Are they able to help me immediately? Do they have an online FAQ and self-help library? Are the support people knowledgeable about the product I’m playing?

Bonuses – Do they have bonuses?. How strict are the wagering requirements? Do they offer repeat bonuses?. Do they offer loyalty points and can they be redeemed for cash or playing credits?

After all that, would I play there regularly?

Neil’s Latest Live Casino Reviews

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Parimatch Casino has live dealer games from 16 Live Casino providers, including Evolution and Pragmatic Play. Great Welcome bonus.

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