Still a major taboo for some, mostly those in governmental power. Casinos and gambling, the two words that strike fear into the political heart. We take a look at two sides of the argument when it comes to the legalization of gambling and licensing casinos, both online and as land-based establishments.
We will be reviewing the American stance on the gambling industry, and that of the EU’s position. What are the differences, why is there a gulf in approach, how licenses are able to work and how it has an effect on players on both sides of the pond?
Why the issues with gambling?
We all know the terms that it’s a political hot potato, no one really wants to deal with it or handle it. For a government to openly say they support gambling is voter suicide. So, when it comes to the allowance of casinos and betting sites how is it that there is a form of unspoken agreement, as long as it’s not overly in the public eye?
Orla Byrne, Editor-in-Chief of BetinIreland, spoke of the issues of unclear communication between governments and the public regarding the interest of betting sites.
“In Ireland, there is a huge betting community and interest especially with sport, most noticeably the Irish horse racing out here. With no communication, it’s the player that suffers most. From not having the guidance to legal sites, to falling foul of gambling addiction and not knowing how to seek help. Our service steps in to make sure players in Ireland are fully aware of what can and cannot be done and we’re proud to help people find licensed casinos that can support Irish players.”
On an economic basis and from this standpoint, gambling is a massive contributor to taxes if they are imposed by a government. Revenues can reach high into the billions and this is much needed income for certain countries.
Gambling, betting, playing, however, you paint the activity, tell people you do this and there is an unease, so ingrained into us that it’s bad, it is a taboo that will long remain.
What does betting offer?
From a player’s perspective, betting online offers an abundance of services. Betting online can be free in cases of bonuses. When you join an online casino, a welcome bonus is granted to new players that make their first deposit to play. Inside the betting sites, you have a huge selection of games, offering the best games and sports markets to place your bets on. The customers can stake their money on more sports and markets than what they can do at the local bookmaker, that’s if there are any local bookmakers for the public to use.
Casinos online and betting sites have fewer restrictions, and in the area of banking, a customer can have many ways of depositing into their casino account and withdrawing.
These are just standard elements of betting, but on a personal level, betting is an escape, a means of enjoyment and entertainment, and for some, it is a source of income that could be much needed.
Even with free games, there is still an interest in playing despite free options being mainly demo games with no real cash reward, but so entertaining are they, people will still play games with no real return.
Betting is different, there is the reward, it’s something beyond simple casino gaming, there is an element of knowledge involved. It puts punters in a position not that of the player versus the bookmaker, but they become the team they are backing. It’s more personal this way, especially if they are personally invested in a sporting team.
With betting sites online, there is the added appeal of live streaming, you can bet on games in real-time and place in-play bets during a game with fluctuating odds. Because the platform of betting is global, no days pass without some form of sporting fixture taking place. It really is a world of betting that lasts 365 days of the year.
The Laws in the USA
When it comes to the US laws on gambling, you first might think they are somewhat relaxed given that the entire state of Las Vegas is the mecca of gambling in the world. This is not the case and a huge misconception.
The laws in the US are similar to a few other countries, Canada, Australia, and India to name a few.
In the United States of America, you have federal law and state law. The federal laws are made by the overseeing government and the Senate, when it comes to state law, these are controlled and ordered by that one state alone.
At a federal level gambling is banned, online and offline. So, how does Las Vegas even exist? Well, this is where the state takes control. The governor of Nevada state will overrule the federal law and control the state of gambling within that area. They can, to a degree, allow for online gambling, however, often is the case that when local law controls all i.e lotteries and casinos, they do not want individual businesses taking business away from the state, especially if you can tax people who win.
So, what about the US Powerball? The US Powerball Lottery which covers 45 states is a multi-state lottery association, again, bypassing federal law.
In Canada, this is the same with their provinces, and with the states inside India.
So, what is the catch? Well, the catch is that US laws are only bound to US soil. The internet is a far too complex an entity when trying to write it into law. At most, you can stop foreign casinos from advertising, that is clear enough. They cannot, however, stop players from using foreign casinos. This is the loophole in the law that actually makes it legal for players inside of America to gamble inside of casinos online that are registered and licensed outside of the US borders. Those casinos then benefit from not having to pay business tax, get millions of players and the US lose out because of the political hot potato that the religious sect of America would frown on and take their votes away.
The Laws in the EU
In the EU, there is no one specific rule of law to say all is accepted. With it being a Union, countries like the states of America can make their own laws. This is the TFEU treaty of the EU rule, and to give it the full name, Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Gambling has the freedom to be provided as a service or business in another EU country.
For the laws on online gambling, there is a similar diversity regulatory framework that allows for business in this field as long as it is compliant with the EU laws and that of the national regulator.
In the EU there are only a handful of licensing regulators, the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority, the Malta Gaming Authority and formally of the EU, the UK Gambling Commission.
Of many of the sites you will find online, most will be licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority. The service of a casino licensed by such a body is able to serve any nation it wishes, it is merely down to the casino to set its own banking requirements as it would be for any online business to arrange the banking setup of foreign currencies.
This forms a complete circle of service as these are the very casinos that players from the US are able to join and play in.