Updated: 23 Sep 2020

Country Overviews

Since the iGaming revolution took the world by storm just over a decade ago, the legislative landscape has changed dramatically. Where the land was once singular and smooth, it's now contoured to suit different regions.

Arguably the major catalyst for legislative change was the 2006 US Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). Attached to the SAFE Port Act, this legislation essentially outlawed payment processing between US residents and online betting sites.

Following the advent of UIGEA, a number of iGaming operators left the US. Some, however, stayed and that prompted the FBI and DOJ to get involved on April 15, 2011. Colloquially known as Black Friday, this day saw the US iGaming economy shut down overnight; a move which, subsequently, forced other countries to examine their own iGaming laws.

Today, online gambling is largely regulated by individual countries. While there are still exceptions to this rule, there has been an epistemic shift over the last few years and that has resulted in more and more regions writing their own iGaming laws. To ensure you're gambling legally, always stay up to date on the country's laws from which you are gambling.

Country Overviews List

Major iGaming Licensing Bodies

Before the iGaming world fractured into regulatory regions, the industry's operators were required to obtain a general licence from one of the following organisations:

Although these licensing bodies still exist, they now have less influence than they once did. The organisations based in Malta, the Isle of Man, Gibraltar and Alderney are still used to licence operators in markets without national regulations.

However, in countries where there are rules governing iGaming, each operator must now hold a specific licence for that market. If you're anteing up online in the following countries, you need to look out for licensing marks from these organisations:

Types of iGaming Licences

In general, there are three main types of iGaming licence: universal, regional and segregated. As you'd expect, universal iGaming licences are valid around the world, except for regions where national laws take precedence.

The remaining licence types are reserved for the countries listed above. Depending on a government's stance, iGaming operators can be forced to segregate national players or simply filter them through a specific portal.

To illustrate this point, let's consider the online poker market in France and the UK: As it stands, both countries have national regulations that require operators to hold national licences.

However, for UK residents, it's still possible to compete against international players (i.e. countries without law preventing cross-border competition). In contrast, residents of France may only play against other residents.

In both countries an operator must hold a valid licence; however, the freedom players have within each country is different.

Obtaining a Licence

When it comes to licensing and regulating online gaming, major legislative bodies, like the familiar eCOGRA, are there to ensure players are protected at all times. To achieve this goal, these organisations assess all operators using the following credentials:

Once an operator has met these standards, it is then required to pay a licensing fee to each relevant body as well as an annual levy.

More Changes Ahead

At present the flow of iGaming regulation has seen a number of markets segregated. From Italy and France to the United States, local players have been cut off from larger, more lucrative markets. Although this has allowed certain regions to exercise tighter controls, it's come at the cost of liquidity.

As the industry continues to grow and evolve, it's likely we'll see various regions agreeing pacts that will allow operators to serve more players. Indeed, in the US, where only three states have legalised online gambling, two of those (Nevada and Delaware) now share playerpools.

This trend is likely to continue over the next few years as operators and governments look for ways to increase revenue. Moreover, as players demand greater freedom to play, it's likely that governments will have to respond by removing some of the fences that currently subdue millions of players.

Recommended Gambling Sites

shiled of trust Secure trusted partners Trusted verified Verified
  1. 1

    100% Welcome Bonus up to £250

  2. 2

    100% Welcome Bonus up to £200 + 25 Extra Spins Promo Code: WINTER100

    18+ New Players only. Gamble responsibly. www.begambleaware.org Terms Apply 18+. New players only. Free Spins (FS) expire in 14 days. FS wins credited in bonus. FS & bonus valid for selected games only. Bonus wins capped at £500. 30x wagering -req. vary by game- in 90 days. UK only - deposit balance available for withdrawal at any time. General withdrawal restrictions & full T&Cs apply. Visit Site
  3. 3

    100% Welcome Bonus up to £300 + 100 Zee Spins + 500 Zee Points

    18+ New Players only. Gamble responsibly. www.begambleaware.org Terms Apply 18+. New players only. Valid for 15 days after 1st deposit. Min Deposit £20 Max Bonus Bet £5 Winnings from spins capped at £50 First 100 Zee spins: 10/day. Spins must be used within 24 hours, Funds within 30 days. Bonus funds are separate to Cash funds, and are subject to 35 wagering (bonus + cash). 18+. T&Cs apply. BeGambleAware.org Visit Site
  4. 4

    Wager £10, Get £70 in Bonuses + 50 Extra Spins

    18+ New Players only. Gamble responsibly. www.begambleaware.org Terms Apply New customers only. Opt in, Deposit via card payments only and wager £10 within 7 days of opening new account. Receive 2 x £20 bonuses, 3 x £10 bonuses for selected games up to 60x wagering. Max redeemable £3,500 from Casino bonuses. Bonuses expire in 7 days. Free Spins credited over 5 days, no wagering requirements and expire in 1 day. Geographical Restrictions and T&C's Apply, see below. Please Gamble Responsibly 18+ Visit Site
  5. 5

    Play £10, Get 30 Free Spins on Double Bubble

  6. 6

    Unlock up to £100 Cash & 20 Wager-Free Spins

  7. 7

    £10 Free No Deposit Bonus + 100% Welcome Bonus up to £100

    18+ New Players only. Gamble responsibly. www.begambleaware.org Terms Apply 18+ New Players only. Gamble responsibly. www.begambleaware.org Visit Site
  8. 8

    100% Welcome Bonus up to £400 + 50 Bonus Spins

alert Advertiser Disclosure
Every online gambler deserves a safe and fair place to play. Our mission at Gambling.com is to create a safe online environment for players through free, impartial and independent reviews of the UK's best online gambling companies so that you can play with confidence and security. All ratings and reviews are made independently of the operator by our team of gaming experts and with every company being fully UK licensed they can be trusted to offer fair play. We accept compensation from the companies advertised on this page and this may affect the brand positioning. We endeavour to continuously update this list so we can bring you the most current sites and the best available offers but we cannot review every site in the market.
alert Advertiser Disclosure
Every online gambler deserves a safe and fair place to play. Our mission at Gambling.com is to create a safe online environment for players through free, impartial and independent reviews of the UK's best online gambling companies so that you can play with confidence and security. All ratings and reviews are made independently of the operator by our team of gaming experts and with every company being fully UK licensed they can be trusted to offer fair play. We accept compensation from the companies advertised on this page and this may affect the brand positioning. We endeavour to continuously update this list so we can bring you the most current sites and the best available offers but we cannot review every site in the market.

DISCLAIMER: Online Wagering is illegal in some Jurisdictions. It is your responsibility to check your local regulations before playing online. GDC Trading Ltd takes no responsibility for your actions.
© 2011-2021 GDC Trading Limited. All Rights Reserved. Gambling.com is a registered trademark of GDC Trading Limited.
Terms and Conditions  |   Privacy Policy

Asset 4 Android GET IT ON facebook Download_on_the_App_Store_Badge_US-UK_RGB_blk_4SVG_092917 twitter
×