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Gambling Legality Q&A
Understanding the legality of online gambling is made easier with these general legality answers and specific answers for different regions and even different games.
What age must you be to gamble and is it at all legal where you live? These and other frequently asked questions about the legality of online gambling are provided here.
Are there age limits for online gambling?
It is the responsibility of all licensed and registered online casinos to take seriously their role as responsible gaming operators. To this end it must be stressed that policing online casino sites is more difficult as a rule. However the socially responsible operators do only permit gamblers who are 21 years old or older to play at their online casinos. Due to different geographic and legal constraints however in some jurisdictions this age may well be as low as 18.
Do I need to pay tax on my winnings?
The answer to this question changes from country to country so you need to check the laws of where you live.
Does legislation target players or operators?
From a first glance it appears that legislation is aimed at both players and gambling operators, but in fact it's operators who bear the brunt of the law. Most current legislative efforts are being aimed at the online casino and their facilitators such as credit card companies and payment processors. This is an important distinction and means that aside from several exceptions, it is not illegal for a player to play online regardless of residence.
How is online gambling regulated?
Even if online gambling is prohibited in your country, no one can really monitor your private actions within your own confines. So, the core of online gambling regulation is payment methods. For example, in the United States, real money wagering is made inaccessible to gamblers by banning their available forms of payment. The place in which online gambling occurs is then determined according to the location of the payment method company. As such, certain aspects of the transaction may take place in your country, such as through your bank, so be careful. Double check all transaction details in order to stay out of trouble.
Is it legal to gamble online in the USA?
The UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling and Enforcement Act) was passed on October 13th 2006 and explicitly forbids the transfer of funds via American banks to at online casinos. It's a tricky slice of legislation but essentially there are no legal online casinos registered in the USA, most or all have now moved offshore and several are facing lawsuits. Many publicly traded online gambling and poker sites have ceased taking wagers from US based players. Players may be unable to gamble at certain casinos because they are legally prohibited from taking a player's business.
Is it legal to use the 'play for free' option at online casinos?
Online casinos, despite paid or unpaid gambling activity face stiff challenges in multiple jurisdictions. It must be borne in mind that gambling without one's own money is essentially risking nothing so it cannot be considered as anything but fun play. However, online casinos that use 'free gambling' to lure players into depositing money are no longer operating a free service and then the specific geographic region's laws will come into play. Overall though, the EU is becoming increasingly more liberal while the USA is more conservative in its attitude to online gambling.
Is online gambling legal?
Different jurisdictions have different laws and regulations so the answer depends on your location. You should check the laws of the country in which you live.There are varying legal opinions on this matter with some officials saying it's against the law to wager over the Internet/telephone while others argue that the illegal component is gambling operation. Online gambling operations are illegal in the USA and that is the reason why these operators move offshore to ply their trade. Note that in many European countries there are regulations permitting only state-run monopolies to run gambling operations such as the national lottery. Legislation is easing in many EU countries.
Is online gambling safe?
Like all questions of security, this depends on a number of factors, and your decisions play a big role in this. Firstly, the casino in which you choose to play should always be licensed by a legitimate jurisdiction. Secondly, the casino should provide a legal security statement and terms and conditions page. Thirdly, avoid gambling online in countries in which it is prohibited. If you do however, be sure that your chosen form of payment method is not located in your country, and does not process any financial transactions in your country, as they can be regulated. Additionally, independently produced gaming software is usually not as trustworthy as reputable large company ones, such as Microgaming. If you can checkbox all these things, then there is no reason why gambling online should not be safe. In fact, most casinos will adopt additional security measures to ensure your ultimate safety and maximum comfort.
What is the legal gambling age in Las Vegas?
At the present time, the legal age for gambling in the State of Nevada is 21. That means that no persons under the age of 21 will be permitted entry into a casino in the State of Nevada. And no person under 21 is allowed to linger in the casino domain while a parent is gambling. Recently there has been talk of lowering the legal gambling age to 18, but as the law stands, that change is not on the cards. Casinos follow an extremely strict code of conduct in order to maintain their gambling licenses.
What is the legal online gambling age?
The legal age to gamble online varies from country to country around the world (and even state to state in the United States). In some countries you must be 21 years old and in others there is a minimum age limit of just 18 years old. You should always check the terms and conditions of an online casino you are considering playing at beforehand.
What is the legal position on gambling in the UK?
The Gambling Act of 2005 spells out the UK position clearly. The new Act provides an all encompassing piece of law to cover all forms of gambling in the United Kingdom with the exception of the National Lottery and Spread Betting. The Gambling Act of 2005 supersedes all other gambling legislation. All legally registered/licensed and administered gambling entities can offer their services to British residents. It is completely legal for all legal-age and responsible British residents to gamble from home.
Where can I find a comprehensive listing of countries and the legality of online gambling?
Online Casino Reports (OCR) has compiled a fully comprehensive list of the major gambling centers in the world and the legality of online gambling in those jurisdictions. Four major categories have been established: Legalized, Banned, Partly Legalized and Undetermined. Countries from the USA to Macau are listed, as is the status of online gambling in these territories.
Where can I find a legal sportsbook?
Sportsbooks are a plentiful in the world of online gaming. These operators provide players with many ways to wager on the outcomes of sports games. But amongst these operators are shady outfits. It is best to gamble only with reputable online sportsbooks. These can be found at the OCR directory of trusted online sportsbooks.
Which are the most pro-gambling countries?
Defining the term 'pro-gambling' takes some doing. Because there are essentially two types of gambling that players can engage in: land-based casino gambling and online gambling. The USA has a plethora of land-based casinos in Las Vegas, Nevada and Atlantic City, New Jersey. And there are many others in tribal Indian lands scattered throughout the country. South Africa is heavily pro-gambling and sports casinos and online casinos galore. The UK is Bingo crazy and they are leading the European charge for free player access to online gambling. For a full list of countries see the OCR Gambling List.