Games of chance have entertained humans since the Roman Empire and maybe even before. Gambling has remained one of our favorite activities for centuries, with traditional casinos becoming incredibly lucrative businesses. However, they have recently been challenged by the rise of online casinos. If online casinos continue to grow at the current rate, they are expected to dominate the global gambling market and generate over $125 billion in revenue by 2027.
As is the case whenever there is innovation, especially in the area of technology and the digital world, governments are unsure how to legislate online casinos. A rush to create strict laws to tightly control the industry can prevent it from growing at a healthy pace. It can also push players to use unregulated offshore online casinos where they don’t enjoy the same protections.
Being too lax with regulations can help an industry thrive, but there are consequences too. Legitimate online casinos will benefit from the freedom they have, but so will fraudulent casinos that take advantage of players. Without any legislation in place, there are also no protections for players.
A balance between these two extremes is necessary to create the best environment for industry growth and consumer protection. With so many variations in gambling laws, it can be difficult to know what the laws are in your area. A is a good place to learn the basics of casino law. Let’s see how two countries, Spain and Ireland, have dealt with the question of how to legislate online casinos.
Spain has a reputation for being a socially conservative country, and in the case of its gambling laws, that’s pretty true. The legislation that Spain has introduced to control online gambling is stricter than in many European countries. On a positive note, most of these laws are designed to protect players. Like the United States, Spain gives a lot of power to regions and autonomous communities to decide what their gambling laws should be.
An interesting approach taken by Spain is to require players to set daily limits before they are allowed to play at an online casino. When players reach the money and/or time limits they have previously set, they are blocked from playing until the following day. There are also limits on the number of big bets a player can make. These rules are quite restrictive, but should curb problem gambling behavior before it can begin.
One area where Spanish gambling legislation is more restrictive than most countries is in advertising. The legislation makes in any way, except between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. This extends to matters such as the display of betting company names on football kits or in stadiums during matches. The purpose of the legislation is to protect vulnerable populations, especially children. The ban wasn’t introduced until August 2021, so we’ll have to wait and see what kind of impact it has on the industry.
Ireland has a long history of gambling, although the country has never had a strong land-based casino industry. Sports betting has long been the most popular form of gambling. Irish gambling legislation does not explicitly mention online casinos or any form of online gambling. Current legislation uses the word “remote”, which can be interpreted to mean any game of chance that is not practiced within the confines of a land-based casino.
These laws mean that there is no clear framework for licensing online casinos, but there are no laws against it either. Many online casinos serve Irish customers by being licensed in other countries, including Malta and the Isle of Man. the to allow online gambling, so we may soon see a change in this legislation.
Similar to Spain, current Irish gambling legislation emphasizes the promotion of responsible gambling. This means that the laws are not designed to prevent people from gambling or to make it more difficult for online casinos to operate, they are designed to protect players and prevent the industry from becoming exploitative.
In Spain we see a country that decided to be proactive and legislate tightly on online casinos before it became a problematic industry. In Ireland we see a country that is so indifferent to online casinos that it is impossible for them to even get started. A happy medium between the two legislative styles would be ideal.