How do laws affect gambling and betting?

Publication date: 16 Jan 2023

In 2022, the authorities in many countries took up the gambling legislation in a big way. Attitudes vary, from a total ban to full legalization with complete advertising allowed.

In what ways do countries regulate gambling?

In terms of gambling regulation, most countries in the world can be classified as one way:

  1. Anything is possible! Authorities of some countries realize that working in the legal field allows gambling companies not only to earn good money themselves, but also to pay decent taxes to the state budget. A striking example is the USA, where each state has the right by law to decide the destiny of gambling on its territory. Eventually, there are more and more states with legal gambling, with increasing records in terms of profits and deductions. At the end of 2022 (data by SafeBettingSites), the US has become the second largest country in the world in terms of online gambling revenues of $11 billion.
  2. Everything must be banned! Countries that choose the path of prohibition: you can’t play and bet, you can’t advertise, you can’t give bonuses. Such restrictions, and especially the limitation of players on the amount of deposit per month, are extremely detrimental to the affiliate market. In such countries, it is difficult for an advertiser to pay back a player. So there is a crowding out of players into unregulated projects. Ultimately, bans will lead to players going offshore, so we can expect the growth of offshore casinos in the same Tier 1 in 2023.
  3. Self-regulation! India has offered a very interesting option! At the beginning of 2023, the Indian government abandoned the creation of a single government regulator and virtually removed itself from regulation altogether. Instead, the right to set the rules for the promotion and development of gambling and betting is vested in the online operators themselves!
  4. Politics is increasingly interfering where economic solutions should take priority. For example, the huge, promising market in Brazil has been in limbo for a year now. Here, since 2018, the fate of the law on the regulation of sports betting and gambling has been decided. However, as no one wanted to take responsibility, in 2022 all decisions on betting and gambling in the country were postponed “until the presidential elections”. Elections were held in October and Lula da Silva became Brazil’s new president. Nevertheless, the law has still not been countersigned…

New laws also have an active impact on the gambling market. The implication is that each new law should make the market more transparent, protect it from fraudsters and enable all participants to make good money. Yet, it is often the case that new rules are not very clear and straightforward, or imply a huge amount of work, so their enforcement makes life difficult for market participants. For instance, in 2022, a law on labelling advertising appeared in Russia. It was planned that all advertising shown to Russians would be tagged and accounted for. As a result, this would lead to market control and the impossibility of tax evasion. But at the moment, most market participants find the implementation of the law very confusing, so it results in complicated operations.

What laws on the gambling and betting market will come into force in 2023?

Gambling advertising may be banned in Ireland in 2023. Nonetheless, the law passed in November 2022 contains vague wording on “prohibiting licensees from encouraging customers to continue gambling”. How this clause will work in practice remains to be seen.
From January 2023, online gambling in Belarus will switch to electronic licenses: approval documents will be issued through a single portal of electronic services. This is expected to speed up the process and reduce the risk of corruption.

On 1 March 2023, Sweden will start accepting applications for B2B licenses. Although the law has not yet been adopted, the Swedish regulator (Spelinspektionen) has offered to prepare documents in advance for software providers who would like to operate in the legal market.
From the second quarter of 2023, new Curaçao laws will come into force allowing cryptocurrency payments in sports betting and casino games. The regulator has been given oversight of the process.

From 1 July 2023:

  • Armenia will increase the cost of licenses and fees for betting companies and online casinos: instead of a single payment, the amount will depend on the number of bets.
  • Belgium will ban gambling advertising and raise the minimum player age to 21.
  • Germany will have a new German federal regulator (Glücksspielbehörde / GGL). Prior to this, gambling regulation was carried out by various departments at the level of the federal states. In particular, the new regulator will actively block payments and IP addresses of unlicensed operators.
  • In Sweden, amendments to block unlicensed operators and combat match-fixing will take effect. However, this will only happen if the government votes in favor of the bill, which only came in on 20 December.

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