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The most popular question in the sphere of gambling: “Where I can operate legally?”

Inteliumlaw » Gambling » The most popular question in the sphere of gambling: “Where I can operate legally?”
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Inteliumlaw legal team

Inteliumlaw legal team

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Gambling regulations all around the world are quite complex. When answering this question lots of factors should be considered. First of all, you need to take into account regulation in the country where your business is licensed and then go to the analysis of foreign regulation in each particular country you plan to target.

For our brief review we propose to apply the above approach based on the example of Curacao as one of the most demanded “licensing” jurisdiction, among the gambling start-ups. For the simplicity of understanding we will divide the analyzed markets into groups.

Group 1

The Curaçao’s legislation itself does not provide for a list of markets where you can operate. Instead, you have a list of prohibited countries, which we allocate to the Group 1. These markets are completely closed by Curacao’s license rules: USA, Netherlands, France, Dutch West Indies and Curacao itself. It means that in no case should your web-site be accessible from these countries, otherwise you might lose your license and become subject to fines.

Group 2

 Here we include the list established based on practical developments. We put here so called “not recommended” countries. These countries are more active than others with their claims against illegal gambling addressed to Curacao authorities and master license holders. As recent examples we can name here Australia and Turkey. Your license might be under the risk in case Curacao master license holder tracks your activity there.

Group 3

It is worth to mention here such category of countries as “closed by a particular provider”. Each provider of gaming content, gambling technology (platform provider) has its own list of prohibited or restricted jurisdictions – Evolution has one, Pragmatic has other, Nuxgame has the third and so on. You can see these lists in the respective agreements.

Group 4

Other countries: upon discretion of the operator (its management and legal department) on case-by-case basis. One should rely on both local legislation of targeted market and enforcement practice. There could be many possible variants:

  • The jurisdiction can have legislation allowing all forms of gambling and not preventing foreign entities to operate within.
  • The jurisdiction can have legislation either regulating only land-based gambling (leaving online gambling unregulated) or not regulating gambling at all so the legality of online gambling is under question mark. Countries in this section are often considered as “grey markets”.
  • The jurisdiction could formally ban all gambling activities by its law but takes no action to actually prevent illegal gambling activity or punish players/operators (especially when the offshore operator is concerned). Such jurisdiction also could be referred as “grey markets”.
  • The jurisdiction could ban only certain types of gambling activities and actively enforce the such bans. We believe an example is the US, with its state-wide legislation on gambling.
  • The jurisdiction can require a local license to operate within the country and, in the meantime, ban any foreign businesses trying to reach the market (for example, by blacklisting unauthorized domains). The most common example in this category is the UK – you can only operate in this market if you have a local UK license (or its equivalent officially recognized by the UK under special procedure). Otherwise, the website domain is to be eventually found by UK Gambling Commission and blocked.

It is important to note that in some countries, where any gambling or locally unauthorized gambling is prohibited, criminal legislation could be interpreted in a way formally making any person, either individual or business, wherever located, subject to criminal penalties if such person organizes of offers illegal gambling services in the country concerned. Although it is not yet widespread practice for countries (where gambling is prohibited) to initiate cross-border criminal procedures aiming to somehow make foreign persons subject to criminal investigations and penalties, these risks could not be fully excluded and shall be analyzed prior to entering any markets.

To summarize, case-by-case legal analysis is required with regard to each market in this category to keep you business in compliance and avoid any legal troubles. Specialists of Inteliumlaw will be happy to assist you with your requests in this regard and dispel your concerns. Please open our web-site and leave your inquiries on the raised topic there.

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