When it comes to online gambling laws in different countries, the rules differ considerably. However, there is one thing that they have in common, particularly in the US and UK. The laws are designed to protect residents and prevent fraudulent and unfair practices.

How that is applied in the United States compared to the United Kingdom is noticeably different, though. The legality of online gambling is a clear cut subject in the UK, but US laws are more complicated.

UK Online Gambling Laws

Gambling is legal in the UK, and there is a well-established framework, which started with the Gambling Act 2005. There are three key objectives to this legislation; to prevent gambling from being connected with crime, to ensure that it is fair, and to protect children. All venues, whether land-based or remote, need to have a license and comply with regulations.

This means that UK residents have a broad choice of legitimate operators where they can play casino online. The games are audited and comply with rules to make sure they are random and fair. It also means that casinos offer support to gamblers to ensure the experience is responsible and fun. This includes connections to support organisations and self-imposed limits.

Gambling Law

US Gambling Laws

In the United States, gambling is legal, although perhaps it’s best described as legally restricted. The key to understanding gaming rules is by looking at how each state deals with it, as they are given the power to determine and enact laws.

The UIGEA or Unlawful Internet Gambling Act is the most recent piece of legislation to affect how casinos, sportsbooks, and online poker rooms are run. It focuses on financial transactions with betting institutions but also amplifies the idea that US citizens cannot access US operations that aren’t licensed.

Impact On Activities And Companies

This law had a dramatic impact on many publicly traded poker sites, and it meant that many existing betting sites and casinos stopped accepting US customers. There are some offshore operations that are used by US players.

Several states, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Indiana, have made online gambling legal. For example, in New Jersey, online casinos have to be licensed through one of the land-based operators in Atlantic City. Other states’ approaches vary for different types of activity, which covers horse racing bets, the lottery and more.

Attitude To Gambling

In the UK, it is accepted as a leisure activity. The opportunity to do so using real money is widely accepted as appropriate thanks to the clear and thorough laws and regulations. The rules and their enforcement keep the industry in the public domain where it feels safe, rather than encouraging underground activity where gamblers are at risk.

The US is a different story, and attitudes toward betting and playing in casinos are mixed. The glitz and glamor of Las Vegas are mixed with the approach that betting is wrong and immoral. The result is a betting landscape that has many grey areas.

Legal Terminology

One of the major issues of gambling laws not just in these two countries, but across the world, is the fact that legislation hasn’t kept up with the modern way of the world. The idea of accessing games and betting online could not be conceived of when many original laws were enacted, and they haven’t been brought up to date.

This is an area that the UK has got right, and they have established a clear terminology for all forms of betting on winning money on games of chance, which is you can enjoy online bingo and poker in the United Kingdom. US laws, and the different states, may allow certain types of activity, but not others. This relates to another area of terminology, which looks at how you win based on skill and chance.

Defining The Activity

Some laws don’t include games of skill in their scope and focus on things like lotteries, slots, roulette instead. This is why some states will allow fantasy drafts and sports betting, but not online casino games.

Author Kate Richards is an expert on the gambling industry and how it has evolved over the last few decades. She states that legal approaches have played a significant role in how casinos, sportsbooks, and customers experience online gaming.

Final Thoughts

The idea behind gaming laws in the US and the UK are the same; they aim to protect citizens and bring licensing and regulation to the fore. However, the implementation and attitudes differ considerably, which is why online gambling is legal across the UK and only legal in some parts of the US.

States are changing their approaches to laws, and since 2018 the picture has been changing. It’s hard to know whether this approach could achieve the comprehensive regulation that the US iGaming industry needs.