Online Gambling Laws: Why is gambling illegal?

Playing casino games is within reach, thanks to mobile and Internet technologies. But even though online gambling is legal in most states, some countries still take a hard line on the activity. So why is gambling illegal these days? Are there any valid reasons to criminalize it?

Where is gambling illegal?

The harsh reality is that gambling is illegal in many countries, although most are making significant progress in this area, for example, the dream catcher game. And even in legal gambling areas, the rules can be so strict that they can scare off some operators. In the UK, for example, credit card gambling and VIP gambling are illegal under new UKGC laws.

In the United States, betting remains a divisive issue in most states. In 2018, the country's Supreme Court ruled against PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act), which had criminalized gambling in 1992. But even with this landmark decision, some states are dragging their feet on legalizing gambling. Currently, gambling is legal in 18 states, with most laws covering only sports betting.

In Canada, bettors can bet on sporting events at any bookmaker with a government-issued license. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission regulates the betting market. But like their American counterparts, Canadian gaming sites do not offer online casino games. So overall, it depends on your local gambling laws. 

Why is gambling illegal in some countries?

The fact is that different countries have different reasons for criminalizing gambling within their borders. This mainly comes down to their social and cultural view of the activity. Here are some of the reasons:

Underage gambling:

Underage gambling is an issue that plagues the gambling industry. While most casinos are doing their part to prevent this vice, some governments are often quick to ban the activity. 

Money laundering:

Casinos, especially land-based ones, are prime destinations for money laundering. Some players only use dirty money to cash in the form of a check or Bitcoin and claim the money is clean. 

Religious and Social Beliefs:

Religious views on online gambling vary, although there is common agreement on betting. Gambling is currently illegal in almost all Islamic countries, with heavy penalties for anyone who breaks the law. Qatar, Brunei and the United Arab Emirates are good examples. 

Gambling addiction:

Without proper regulation, gambling addiction can be a real problem in most countries. For example, Cambodian legislators passed the Gambling Suppression Law in 1996 to criminalize the activity and limit problem gambling. 

Can you gamble online in countries where gambling is illegal?

Interestingly, no one has been prosecuted for illegal online gambling to date. This means that players can play online and get away with it. For example, the law allows a loophole for punters to play at online gambling sites in Japan, India, and Cambodia. So, to put it simply, most countries are still lagging behind when it comes to laws governing online gambling. Operators are using this mistake to accept players, even from the United States.

But if you insist on playing at an offshore site, make sure that a legitimate organization authorizes it. Some reliable names include the UK Gambling Commission, Kahnawake Gambling Commission, Swedish Gaming Authority, Curacao e-Gaming, and Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). Online casinos with these licenses are legitimate and reliable.