The world is getting smaller every day. With the internet connecting us in ways we never thought possible before, new personal relationships and professional endeavours are being formed across countries. One great example is the online sports betting and casino business, a sector which has been taking over the world since the first gambling site launched in 1995. This multi-billion dollar industry enjoys massive popularity with bettors, whether they prefer sports betting, casino games, racebooks or poker rooms. However, with the ease of access afforded by online gaming comes a whole host of legal pitfalls.
Every country has its own views on gambling and different ways to deal with it. The UK liberalised their laws in 2003 because they felt betting had changed and become more socially acceptable. They decreed that as long as it was not connected to crime and disorder, it was positive and the industry should be supported. Most member states of the EU agree except Germany who have banned all types except horseracing and impose large taxes on winnings from abroad. While many provinces in Canada allow online gambling, the laws governing the 50 different U.S states are a confusing minefield for bettors and bookmakers alike.
Despite the complex nature of international law, there is a huge demand from bettors to find overseas gambling sites which deal with their favourite sport. Although Australian citizens are forbidden from opening online casinos in their own country, sports gambling is legal and very popular there. They have a unique sporting environment with a focus on rugby and cricket as well as Aussie rules football. There are plenty of bettors from across the world who go to Australian sites like BetFair to gain from their expert knowledge and find the best lines.
Of course, it’s pure logic that the country with the most knowledge and heritage in your favourite sport will offer the best odds. NHL fans often go to Canadian betting sites if they want to put some money on a puck line, even though services in other countries will offer NHL bets. Canucks are experts when it comes to hockey and the accuracy of their lines reflect that. Sites like canadiansportsbooks.ca help hockey fans from around the world find the best Canadian sports betting services and compare lines between each of them to ensure the best NHL experience.
With the restrictions placed on US bettors they are usually forced to go to overseas sites, even to bet on their national sports like baseball and the NFL. US bettors themselves are subject to their own state law but luckily there are hundreds of sites worldwide who cater for popular American sports leagues and will accept custom from the US. Because of the wonder of online betting, gamblers and sports enthusiasts across the world are able to participate in bets they never could have before. Even more countries are starting to get involved as many see the economic benefits to online gaming.
This rush to join the revolution and take advantage of each country’s different gaming laws is creating healthy competition throughout the industry. One of the first online casinos hailed from the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda, and through excellent foresight they continue to grant licenses to large online gambling organisations. Other small countries host large international gaming brands; Bwin is based in Austria and 888.com is licensed by the government of Gibraltar. Some poker operations are run from the U.S., but almost all are licensed in Las Vegas.
What lessons can bettors learn from all this? If you are going to spend money on online gaming, you want to make sure you get the best bets for your buck as the site’s country of origin will have an effect. Not only that, but it’s important to check that the site you intend to use is operating within the limits of the law, both in its own country and yours. You could be subject to restrictions by your nation’s government so if you’re going to bet you must be informed! Aside from that, make sure you have fun and with a bit of luck and a touch of skill you might be vacationing in one of these places sooner than you think!