How Will Online Legal Sports Betting be Regulated

Many people who gamble online do not have a mental clue on how the online gambling industry is regulated. How will the legal online sports betting industry be uniformly regulated across the global spectrum. Is regulation something to think about when legalized sports betting is connected worldwide. The online gambling industry is still quite young and growing. Its incredible rise in popularity was probably unexpected, and most lawmakers were not prepared for it. As a result, it took a while before countries started passing legislation that dealt with online gambling. Prior to that, they relied on outdated laws that were not really relevant and some countries still do.

As a whole, the legal and regulatory landscape of online gambling has improved in recent years. There is still a long way to go before it can be considered a well regulated industry on a global basis. It is important to understand regulation if you enjoy betting or gaming online. The details on various jurisdictions around the world where gambling sites are licensed and how they provide their services is a necessary learning guide.

Online betting and gaming involves entrusting your money to  cyberspace third parties in most cases. Millions of people all over the world deposit funds at gambling sites, but very few of them actually know much about the companies or people behind those sites. This is ultimately the point of regulation in the industry. People should be able to know they can deposit their money and bet safely in the knowledge they are dealing with reputable organizations.

Online gambling regulation effectively serves three main purposes, as follows.

  • to ensure gambling sites are operated lawfully
  • to ensure gambling sites are operated in an ethical manner
  • to ensure gamblers are safe and treated fairly

All gambling sites should be compliant with any laws that they are subject to jurisdiction. They should all be engaged in practices that are ethical. There should also be measures against money laundering and underage gambling and their advertising should be honest and not misleading. Sites should also be required to protect customer deposits and have transparent terms and conditions.

Customers should have a fair chance of winning, and should be entitled to receive any winnings they make within a reasonable time-frame.

If every single gambling site met this criteria, the internet would be a much safer environment for those wishing to bet and play games for real money. That is precisely why regulation is so important. Sites should be forced to meet this criteria (and many are) and if they fail, they should not be allowed to operate or renew their license. Unfortunately, it is hard to stop rogue sites acting as they please. There is no global legal or regulatory body that oversees online gambling in every single country. Sites can base themselves where they are not subject to strict laws or regulation and be able to operate with relative ease.

However, there is the ongoing pressure from the major college and professional sports leagues to hold back any legislation to permit betting. The NCAA and the NFL are very much against any legalization. The NBA has indicated they are ready for some regulated acceptance.

Thankfully, rogue sites are certainly in the minority. The vast majority of sites are based in regions where they are subject to relevant laws and regulations and are safe to use. The fact that even just a few rogue sites exist is still a concern and makes it necessary for people to be careful about where they sign up. The most important aspect of online gambling regulation is to protect the customer. It can only serve this purpose if bettors use sites that are legal and protected.

Regulation might serve more than one purpose, but the one that really interests us is the one that benefits us most. As customers of gambling sites, we do not care about the legal and regulatory aspects that do not affect us. The aspects that protect us and enable us to enjoy our online betting and gaming without any concerns becomes common knowledge. We can only benefit from regulation in the industry if we use the right sites. People need to  check what regulation a site is subject to before joining.

Local gambling legislation

We mentioned earlier how there is no global body that governs the online gambling industry. There are too many separate interested parties for this to happen. The laws relating to online gambling can vary depending on where you live. The activity is strictly prohibited in some parts of the world, and fully legalized in others. There are some parts of the world where the laws are somewhat confusing.

In the United States there is online gambling legislation at two levels. The federal and state laws can be pitted against each other. The legislation at federal level affects the whole country and the legislation at state level affects only the relevant state. Certain aspects of the federal legislation are somewhat open to interpretation, which makes it difficult to know exactly what is legal and what is not legal.

Federal laws create a vague interpretation and states are less ambiguous. The legislation at state level is clearer, but only a few states currently have specific online gambling legislation in place.

In most regions, local laws tend to be focused on those who operate gambling sites rather than those who use them. It is rare for a country to have any laws which explicitly make it illegal for an individual to make a bet on the internet or play poker for real money. Nonetheless, confusing laws such as those in the US often cause a certain amount of hesitancy. Some people do not want to risk doing something they perceive as illegal even when nothing will happen to them. Most people are free to gamble online without fear of breaking any laws.

Online gambling jurisdictations

To fully understand how regulation in this industry works, you should understand the concept of online gambling jurisdictions. These are regions where the relevant governments have passed specific laws that make it legal for companies based there to provide online betting and gaming services. These companies can therefore operate gambling sites with full legal backing. There are several of these online gambling jurisdictions around the world. Some of them are very respected, and a lot of the biggest and best known brands in the industry are based in those places, while others are less so. Here are some of the most prominent.

  • Malta
  • Antigua & Barbuda
  • Curacao
  • Isle of Man
  • Panama
  • Costa Rica

Within these jurisdictions there is an appointed organization which is responsible for regulating the gambling companies based there. These are typically referred to as licensing authorities and they issue licenses to the companies that they approve for operation. Companies wishing to obtain a license and remain licensed, must meet certain requirements.

Licensing requirements

The exact licensing requirements for a gambling site will depend on which jurisdiction they are based in and what services they offer. The following requirements are standard rules to follow.

  • Suitability of owners & executives
  • Accounting procedures
  • Fairness of games
  • Dealing with problem gamblers
  • Preventing underage gambling
  • Handling complaints

Most of these requirements are in place to ensure that regulation serves the three main purposes we highlighted earlier. Each one makes it clear how beneficial it is to only use sites that are properly licensed and regulated.

Suitability of owners and executives

The online gambling industry is worth a lot of money and can attract plenty of the wrong people. Most licensing authorities are therefore very strict about who they allow to operate gambling sites. They assess the owners, and senior staff in some cases, to ensure that they are “fit and proper” and of good standing. People that may not be considered suitable can include those with criminal records, particularly if their crimes were finance related. The basic idea here is to ensure that the people running a site are the kind of people that can be trusted to run an honest operation.

Accounting procedures

This is one of the most important aspects of regulation in terms of making it safe to deposit at gambling sites. A licensing authority might impose a wide range of rules relating to account procedures, but an especially common one is that sites must separate customer deposits from all other funds. Those deposits must be protected somehow, so that if a site went out of business for any reason the customers would still be able to get their money back.

Fairness of games

This point relates to sites which offer casino games, poker, or other interactive gambling games. They have to be able to demonstrate that the games they offer are fair, and that customers have the correct chance of winning. This usually means having their software fully tested by an appropriate third party. Such tests will be run on a regular basis.

Dealing with problem gamblers

One of the criticisms made about online gambling is that it makes addiction more likely. There have been studies to show that this is not the case, but problem gambling is nevertheless an issue that the industry should, and does, take seriously. Licensed sites are typically obliged to have certain measures in place to help prevent problem gambling. These measures include providing the option to set deposit or limits or self-exclude.

Preventing underage gambling

Another common criticism is that it’s easy for people underage to gamble online. There is little basis to this either, although again it’s something that needs to be considered. Regulated sites are generally required to carry out identity checks on their customers, and part of the reason for this is to ensure that they are old enough to use their services.

Handling complaints

Most licensing authorities stipulate that their licensees must have a defined complaints procedure in place. This procedure should be made available to any customer who has a complaint of any kind. Some licensing authorities also provide arbitration services where they will investigate complaints that cannot be resolved and offer a suitable solution.

Most online off-shore sites are mostly regulated today as evidence of the above compliant rules that make the industry credible. Lawmakers are aware of these regulatory structures in place to push for legalization with more trust and security on top of the existing platform. It becomes a winning situation for all parties involved but the US needs to open the doors to legalization and connect with the rest of the world players.

Let the states abide by the Supreme Court decision and be a partner with the federal level of acceptance. US bettors would be most grateful and gladly pay a small fee or tax to bet online — LEGALLY.