Even among western nations, casino laws vary wildly. For that reason, casino reviews vary wildly between countries. Some countries legalize, regulate, and tax online casinos, poker sites, and sportsbooks. Others ban casino sites outright. Still others don’t strictly ban real money online gambling, but also decline to regulate and tax it, leaving online casino betting in a legal gray area. A handful of countries try to bar offshore casinos from accepting players, while protecting domestic operators. Below is a quick rundown of the casino gaming laws by region or country, along with a link to specific casino pages.

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Reviewing Legal Casinos by Country

European Casinos: The European Union encourages trade without borders, including in the online gambling arena. The EU Commission has clashed with a variety of EU member countries over their online gambling laws: Germany, Sweden, The Czech Republic, Hungary, and Greece are chief among them. Most of the time, those clashes involve protection of domestic online gambling companies by banning or limiting international online casinos. Slowly but surely, European casino law is liberalizing, though it is a mixed bag at present. As you’ll see below, politicians back home have found a variety of ways to skirt EU gaming laws.

Spain Casinos: The Spanish Gaming Act (2010) established the Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling (DGOJ), which regulates online gambling in Spain. Under the DGOJ’s leadership, Spain famously signed an online poker liquidity sharing agreement with France, Italy, and Portugal in 2017. Less well known is the fact Spain now licenses online casinos for operation, with a few approvals announced every month.


Australia Casinos: Australia went in the opposite direction as Spain. Not that long ago, Australia had one of the most developed and progressive online gambling laws in the world. Under the Coalition Party government, the Australian Senate passed the Interactive Gambling Amendment 2016 in August of 2017, which pushed out foreign online casino and poker site operators. Unlicensed offshore online casinos and cardrooms now operate alongside domestic operators, though some senators prepare to legalize interactive gaming again in the future.

UK Casinos: The UK Gambling Commission regulates gambling in the United Kingdom, including England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The UK Gambling Commission handles land-based and interactive gambling regulations, along with limited oversight of gambling advertisements during British sporting events. Under new leadership over the past couple of years, the Gambling Commission has taken a more aggressive stance on enforcement in cases of harm. The Commission has levied fines on Ladbrokes, William Hill, 888, and several other top companies in that time.

Canada Casinos: Canadian online casinos are licensed and regulated by state and territorial governments, as the national government takes no role in interactive gaming. In large parts of Canada, online casino gambling exists in a legal gray area, where gaming is neither banned nor legalized and licensed. Meanwhile, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission licensed international online gambling sites. Companies willing to comply with the First Nations tribe’s oversight and house their servers on the Kahnawake’s reservation south of the Saint Lawrence River near Montreal receive licensing.

Portugal Casinos: Casino gambling is regulated by the Inspeccao Geral de Jogos (Inspector General of Games), which oversees everything from state-run lotteries to international online casinos. Online card sites share poker liquidity with Spain, France, and Italy. Portugal has diverse and open gambling laws, so legitimate online casino brands receive a license in the country.



US Casinos: The United States Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in late-2006, which made it illegal to process payments to any site which violates the 1961 Wire Act’s provisions against interstate betting. For 4+ years, the U.S. Department of Justice interpreted UIGEA to mean online casinos, poker rooms, and sportsbooks. In 2011, a DOJ opinion stated online casinos and poker rooms were legal, because interstate poker, blackjack, and slot machine betting didn’t exist over the telephone lines in 1961. Individual US states now can legalize online casinos and card rooms, which New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Nevada have done. Meanwhile, Sheldon Adelson’s lobbyists and allies in Congress continue to push for a 50-state ban on US online gambling.

Germany Casinos: Online casinos are illegal in Germany. In fact, one anonymous German online casino gambler in 2018 argued he did not have to pay his Visa balance because it was used to pay for online gambling; he won the case. Another German gambler was forced to pay back $63,000 in winnings in 2015 because they were illegal winnings. Germany has been a laughingstock throughout the 2010s, because its federal and state governments cannot agree on online gambling reforms.

Italy Casinos: Since 2010, the Autonomous Administration of the State Monopolies or “AAMS” (Amministrazione Autonoma dei Monopoli di Stado) licenses Italian online casinos. To receive a license, an online casino must be from a European Union country, have a stable and secure online casino software package, and have a minimum turnover of €1.5m in Europe in the past two years. Also, the company must pay a licensing fee of €350,000 to the AAMS. Many top online casino brands now operate in Italy.


Greece Casinos: Greek online casino laws have been on a yo-yo for the past 16 years. In 2002, online casinos were banned. In 2008, the EU demanded Greece end its state-run gaming monopoly (OPAP) and allowing the free flow of gaming services. In 2011, to raise money during the Greek Debt Crisis, online casinos were legalized for a short time and 24 licenses were issued (Paddy Power, Sportingbet). Those licenses were revoked in 2012, though talks continue to this day to legalize and license online casinos. Since the Greek government needs to raise revenues, legal Greek online casinos are only a matter of time.

Netherlands Casinos: Dutch authorities long have tried to protect its domestic gaming monopoly, but by 2013, it was apparent that the laws were being circumvented and Dutch citizens were playing at unlicensed online casinos. By January 2015, Dutch officials sought to liberalize the Netherlands’ casino laws. The process is ongoing, but over 200 top online casino groups in the UK and continental Europe have expressed an interest in launching sites for the legal Netherlands online casino market.

France Casinos: ARJEL is the gambling regulator in France. ARJEL has begun licensing some online gambling operators, but online poker received the bulk of the attention, due to the poker liquidity sharing with Spain and Italy. Many top offshore online casino operators still are unlicensed, while land-based French casinos can launch online casino sites. The European Union continues to exert pressure to convince France to bring its interactive gaming laws into EU compliance, but the process is ongoing.

India Casinos: India’s state government have begun to liberalize their online gambling laws. National gambling laws still operate under the 1867 Indian Gambling Act, promulgated by the British colonial government, so one can imagine interactive gambling does not receive much consideration under national law. India’s various high courts have ruled on online gambling, allowing online poker to exist legally as a game of skill. A handful of Indian state have legalized iPoker. Online casinos are banned under the law, though many unlicensed offshore casinos accept Indian players.

South Africa Casinos: The National Gambling Board (NGB) is South Africa’s main gambling regulator. Online gambling operators long have operated in a gray area in South Africa, though the NGB licensed a handful of sports betting operators. These days, state gaming agencies like the Limpopo Commission and the Western Cape Gambling & Racing Board license online casino operators, but South Africa still has a large number of unlicensed offshore casino sites which accept players.