From geographical point of view, gambling market has spanned the entire planet. But gambling legislation differs in different countries and not everywhere gambling activities stick with legal norms and rules.
To understand the situation in gambling industry in different parts of the world one should consider the real state of affairs in particular countries.
Availability of gambling in the world
First of all it should be mentioned that laws on online and offline casinos differ significantly in many countries, as the nature and functional features of both types of gambling houses stand in stark contrast to each other.
Land-based casinos have very long history compared to their virtual analogs and thus regulations on offline gambling houses are more established. For example, while online gambling may be fully prohibited, traditional casinos are legal in 151 countries of the world and in 17 countries they may function in special zones.
Loosely speaking, the world has divided into two parts: in one part casinos are legal (47%), in other (42%) – illegal, and in the rest of the territory they are partially legal, i.e. they are restricted by particular terms and conditions.
Situation with internet casinos is much more complicated. Apart from the fact that regulations are very complicated, there are a lot of nuances and a bunch of restrictions. In many countries gambling regulations are not established because of the lack of special possibilities and as the result the law is often violated.
Online gambling is legal in more than 40% of the counties (39 countries) and it is illegal in 17% of the countries. The rest of the countries may be divided into three groups (14% each), where online gambling has the following restrictions: casinos should be licensed; only foreign operators are legal; local casinos are to be licensed.
The latest research has shown that casinos are regulated and available for local gamblers and operate inside the law in 60 countries only.
Both online and offline gambling is utterly forbidden in almost all CIS countries.
Currently land-based casinos are legal in Georgia, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, but in Kazakhstan and Armenia they can operate in special gambling zones only.
Both online and offline gambling is legal in Belarus and Tadzhikistan.
Belarus is the only post-soviet country with very loose legislation, but if a gambling house operates without the license, it will be punished severely.
For online casino operations in Georgia and Armenia, local license is needed. In Uzbekistan and Tadzhikistan illegal online casinos are monitored and blocked.
According to Russian legislation, land-based casinos are to be operated within special gambling zones that are on the stage of formation now and thus can not operate fully.
In Ukraine all types of casino are forbidden, however those gamers who use online resources are not subject to legal prosecution.
As one can see, situation in CIS countries is quite tangled and unclear. However, in the countries where gambling is fully or partially legalized, industry representatives work on the development and improvement of the regulations, organize forums and congresses to discuss topical issues of the industry.
Russian and Ukrainian markets consider to be the most prospective for the gambling business
Russia is one of the largest countries with multimillion population. It requires intelligent and well-defined legislative solutions to regulate gambling activities. The country has decided to follow the example of the US and some Asian countries and organize special gambling zones with casino complexes and its own infrastructure.
Perhaps it is this model of gambling industry management that is optimal for the vast territory of Russia, while the provision of greater freedom from the state will lead to problems with industry control and illegal activities suppression.
Public opinion as for gambling houses is also an important issue. It should be noted that people have mostly negative attitude to casinos or gaming halls, considering them to be the tool for society degradation. Thus, casino legalization throughout all the cities is not a reasonable decision, because it will cause public outcry. Expansion and changes in the area of gambling houses operation are possible only after gradual change in people’s point of view.
Creation of special gambling areas in the most comfortable places for tourism is a great solution to start the development of the industry in the country with huge potential.
Ukraine is also one of the most promising for gambling market thanks to its geographical position.
The government had been turning back to the question of lifting the ban on gambling in the country time and again. Finally, in 2015 the final version of the bill was put before the Ministry of Finance. This law stipulates the basic rules for the operation of casinos, bookmakers and lotteries in Ukraine, as well as defines gambling regulatory bodies.
The bill has not been adopted yet. Currently it is actively discussed not only by the government, but also by the representatives of gambling industry and by the public.
Advantageous feature of gambling business for Ukraine is that it is assumed simultaneous development of tourism, small- and medium-sized businesses, as well as financial injections to the budget due to the taxation of gambling houses.
For average users knowledge of the laws in different countries is very important to ensure their protection in the eyes of the law. For example, in some countries you may be held liable just for the fact that you are in the place where the game is played, even if you do not take part in the game itself. Ignorance is no defense. Moreover in some Muslim countries casino games are placed on the same footing as witchcraft and magic and severely prosecuted.
Gambling market does not stand still, a huge mosaic of laws, projects and public opinions changes every day. In some countries, laws are watering down, opening up new possibilities for gambling industry, in others – vice versa.
But one thing is clear, in countries such as Ukraine, such long-awaited defrosting has already begun and perhaps in a few years, gambling industry will once again appear on the business stage of the country.