Online Casino Regulation - Gambling & Casino Laws
It is totally legal to play online casinos if you live in the UK. However, the legality of online gambling (or gambling over telephone wires) occupies a grey area of the law in the United States. At present all online casinos are located outside of the boundaries of the United States of America. Many of the companies that own online casinos do business from the U.S. The catch is that their servers are located in offshore foreign countries. This section explains in more detail...
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The UK government sees internet gambling as a legitimate and lucrative industry with the potential for providing huge tax revenues with the right legislation in place. Conversely the US govt. sees gambling online as a new, hard to control and therefore dangerous industry and has opted for prohibition.
The foreign countries out of which these online casinos are registered are quite content with the setup. Internet gambling companies pay the foreign governments tens of thousands of pounds to obtain a gaming license in addition to taxes and other tariffs. The economies of small countries, such as Antigua, Curacao, St. Kitts, Grenada, the Dominican Republic and Gibraltar to name just a few are boosted significantly by hosting online casino businesses.
Because our government doesn't regulate these foreign based online casinos doesn't mean that the casinos are corrupt or that they are out to defraud and cheat you. Let's face it any time you are doing business over the Internet, even under the protection of the government, you make yourself vulnerable to unscrupulous people. However all the time gambling online is becoming safer and more trusted by the UK public.
In light of the fact that online casinos are licensed out of foreign countries with systems of government that are not subject to UK scrutiny, you have to send up more caution flags than usual. After all if you are defrauded to whom are you going to complain? In all cases the best policy to follow is "Buyer Beware."
Online casinos are in business to make money it's as simple as that. They want to attract as many players as they possibly can. The only way to do this is to build a good and honest reputation. If word gets out that a casino avoids paying winnings it's going to spread fast, not least through sites like this one. Online casinos, unless they happen to be a shady fly-by-night operation looking for a one-shot killing, have for the most part proved to be safe and honourable. All casino listed on Jackpot have proved to be safe and honourable.
Another caveat to remember is that many so-called online casino regulator and watchdog groups and agencies are not objective bodies at all, but in reality subjective bodies with ties, direct or indirect, to online casino owners and operators. Be very careful of the opinions expressed by such groups and the recommendations that they make. They could turn out to be valid but the opinions are sometimes not based on fact but rather on their vested interest. Your own investigations and good old-fashioned common sense are necessary companions to any advice you seek.
Take the Interactive Gaming Council (IGC) for example. It awards "Seal of Approval" designation to casinos it deems reputable and honest but the fact is the IGC is a trade organization made up of 80 companies around the world that are actively involved in the Internet gaming industry. These include operators of Internet gaming sites. The IGC is no doubt looking to police its own interests to a certain extent, which filters down to being an advantage to players. But you must bear in mind that a lot of the opinions it expresses may not be as unbiased or objective as those of a totally independent watchdog group would be.
On the surface of things the IGC does hold approved sites to a higher standard. They insist on such things as accountability to consumers, privacy and data protection, truth in advertising, banking and transaction processing amongst other protections. In the absence of government regulation the IGC could be an important first step and better than nothing when it comes to seeking out an honest site.
If you are concerned about personal information that you may transmit online to Internet casinos, such as name, address, credit card numbers, etc., you must understand that these are similar causes for concern anytime you send that same information online to a company licensed outside of the UK. There are dangers inherent no matter what. Reputable online casinos make every effort to keep any personal information that you may send to them secure. More often than not, it is guaranteed under the licensing agreements. Furthermore, most use secure servers for all transactions, and none of the information is available online, which puts a stop to hackers and others looking to manipulate data across the Internet to their own devices.