Gambling Laws Around The World

Gambling is a subject fraught with strong convictions. These convictions, both for and against increased regulation, find their way into parliament. The bills passed as a result of these legal discussions are often confusing – with laws varying between regions, between forms of gambling, and whether the games are housed in brick-and-mortar establishments or online.

With so many variables at play and pressure from various public sectors, it’s no surprise that the world of gambling gives lawmakers a headache. Let’s take a look at some case studies from around the world to see what methods have worked and why.

Gambling In America

America has one of the oldest histories of legal gambling save for certain European countries. The US has always been a stickler for personal liberties, and gambling is no exception. Legality changes from state to state, but certain cities (notably Las Vegas and Atlantic City) are world-famous gambling destinations.

The creation of the Las Vegas we know today was born out of a post-great depression need for wealth-generation in an otherwise-barren state. Appropriate regulation and legitimate investment has turned Las Vegas into a massive economic centre whilst eradicating criminal elements, taking money away from gangs and creating a reliable source of revenue for the state. In the past two decades, the subject of online gambling has become a point of discussion in the US house of representatives as online access to different forms of gambling has been a way for players to avoid state law. The resulting bill – The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 has been widely criticized as being inconclusive and stimulating the growth of illegal gambling sites by side-lining established, legitimate online casinos.

Gambling In The Middle East

In a region fraught with anti-gambling legislation, many gamblers have turned to online gambling as a way to circumvent the lack of access to legal brick-and-mortar casinos. The UAE, Iran and Turkey, never normally lumped together in any discussion pertaining to Middle-Eastern politics, have all essentially banned any form of gambling.

Egypt has some casinos, but these are only open to foreign nationals. Israel, a secular nation, has legal sports betting but casino games are only accessible via specialised boats that go into international waters to avoid prosecution.

Gambling In Norway And Sweden

Norway and Sweden, though very similar neighbours on many accounts, have fairly different approaches to gambling laws. Although both countries feature only state-run major casinos, in Sweden gambling is legal whilst in Norway it’s almost entirely outlawed. It’s for this reason that the new laws soon to be passed establishing a state monopoly on online gambling is a heated debate in Norway, with detractors saying that restrictions will be clunky and ineffectual. Norwegian citizens’ positive relationship with the state has set the country apart but in this issue, many are wondering if their freedoms are being curtailed.

Gambling is a contentious political issue, and it seems that even those who normally have the answers are struggling to reach conclusions. Case studies, however, can give us a better idea of what strategies have and haven’t worked.