Internet gambling and the law

Different countries have different rules for gambling and this means that the legality of gambling and especially internet gambling often turns into a complicated legal conundrum. While most people know whether or not different types of gambling are legal in their home area, they often become quite confused when asked if online gambling is legal or if foreign sport books are allowed to operate within their country. This is especially true within the European Union where the laws of member states are not always in sync with EU regulation.

As a gambler it might be tempting to say that the law of the country where the gambling site is based should apply, and that you should be able to play legally if it is legal for you to play in the country where the site is based. It is however possible for nations to enact age restriction or gambling bans that prohibit you from playing in your home country even if you elect to play in online casino, sport books or poker rooms. Despite this, it is common for people who live in areas where they are not legally able to play to turn to the internet. The choice of playing online can often have a political and civil disobedience side to it, as players to not think their government should try to prevent them from playing.

Registering to play online from an area where gambling or online gambling is illegal is seldom something that is going to get you into trouble in your native country (please note that some countries are an exception from this). The government and its law enforcement agencies are more likely to chase those who arrange and run illegal gambling or illegally promote gambling in your country that to go after individual players. Gambling individuals are rarely given any type of penalty. This is in no small part because those are the individuals the gambling bans are supposed to protect, the perceived victims. This is also why the government is more interested in catching those who arrange games than trying to punish individual gamblers.

The fact that you are unlikely to get punished does however not mean that it is a good idea to register and gamble from an area where it is illegal. This is due to the fact that this element will add a lot of extra risks to your gambling. If you for example win big and the government hear about it, there is a risk that they confiscate the winnings due to gambling being outlawed. Also, if the casino do not want to pay out your big winnings (potentially because they discovered that you played from an area where it is illegal) you have no one to turn to. You can not turn to the police or to civil court for help as they can not help you to obtain your winnings from illegal gambling.

Generally speaking, it is usually best to accept the local laws and save gambling for vacations in areas where it is legal. If you despite this want to play online you should choose a casino with a good reputation as a less reputable internet casino might try to use your locale to withhold any withdrawals. Make sure you follow all the rules for the online casino if you decide to register from an area where gambling is illegal, and please note that many casinos have sections in their TOS that state that the player is charged with making sure that he or she does not break any laws playing at the casino. This means that playing from a country where gambling is illegal is a breach of the TOS and the casino is then within its right to cancel your membership at any time.