Fraught with inconsistent regulatory laws from country to country, online gambling still has a long way to go in becoming internationally regulated, so to speak. Some jurisdictions fully license and regulate, like those of Gibraltar and the UK, while other jurisdictions, like Costa Rica, only provide offshore licenses and do not regulate at all.
Nonetheless, online gambling is a multi-billion dollar global industry that is effectively regulated in several jurisdictions, including premiere land-based gambling jurisdictions such as the UK. Whether or not online gambling is regulated in your specific country, the privelage of placing wagers at fully regulated offshore online gambling destinations is available to players from around the world. It is up to each individual online gambling operator whether or not bets from players in specific countries may or may not be permitted. And, it is up to your location whether or not online gambling is permitted in your jurisdiction of residence.
That said, if you are seriously considering placing real money wagers at an online casino, please take the time to first ensure the casino operator is being bound by online gambling regulations imposed by a reputable gaming jurisdiction. The following list of jurisdictions represent the online gambling industry's leading regulators of offshore online casinos accepting bets from players around the globe.
United Kingdom - Under the 2005 UK Gambling Act, Great Britain's Gambling Commission now regulates over 100 online gambling sites, in addition to over 150 land-based casinos. The top three concerns of the commission are to keep crime out of gambling, ensuring fair and open gambling operations, and prevent underage and problem gambling. New license conditions and codes of practice were published in October, 2008.
Gibraltar - Under the 2005 Gambling Act, the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority regulates 20 internet gaming operators as of February, 2009. Imposing practically identical regulations as that of the UK, Gibraltar is considered one of the premier online gambling regulatory jurisdictions today. Some of the top names in gaming are regulated here, including top UK online casino, 32 Red.
Malta - The Lotteries and Gaming Authority of Malta is one of the busiest online gambling regulatory jurisdictions today, licensing more online betting operations than any other jurisdiction. In fact, Malta was the first EU member State to regulate online gambling (under the Public Lotto Ordinace in 2000). Under Malta's Remote Gaming Regulations published in 2004, there are four licenses (Class 1 though 4) by which operators can offer remote gaming services. Inspired by the lead of the UK Gambling Commission, the Malta Remote Gaming Council was launched in 2005, helping to foster the closest thing to an international standard of online gambling currently available.
Netherlands Antilles (Curacao; CIGA) - The Curacao Gaming Control Board regulates over 250 online betting operations, many of which offer services to U.S. players, under the jurisdictional domain of The Netherlands Antilles. The Curacao Internet Gaming Association (CIGA) is a trade body of Curacao licensed operators focused on upholding responsible gaming standards and regulatory compliance as dictated by the 2002 National Ordinance Offshore Games of Hazard.
Alderney -Established in May of 2000, the Alderney Gambling Control Commission is an independent, non-political regulatory body operating on behalf of the States of Alderney. Part of the British Channel islands, (60 miles from mainland Britain), Alderney is a self-governing dependency of the British Crown, but is not a part of the UK or European Union. Under the eGambling Ordinance of 2006, the Alderney Gambling Control Commission upholds the highest international gaming standards as those fostered in the UK.
Isle of Man - Under the Online Gambling Regulation Act of 2001 and Gambling Amendment Act of 2006, the Gambling Supervision Commission of the Isel of Man regulates nearly twenty online betting operators as of July, 2009. Several Regulation Ordinances from 2007 have been published to keep legislation timely.
Kahnawake - One of the first independent online gambling regulatory bodies, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission was formed in 1996 at the dawn of the internet betting industry. Under the provisions of the Kahnawake Gaming Law (updated 1999), some 270+ online betting sites are regulated here. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission is empowered to regulate within the Mohawk Indian territory of Kahnawake (outside of Montreal, Canada). While scandal has surfaced at two online poker sites (Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet) regulated in Kahnawake, the commission has taken steps to improve regulatory procedures closely aligned with international standards. Renowned testing facility, Gaming Associates, provides software risk analysis, and former New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement Director, Frank Catania, was instrumental in helping draft regulations.
Saskatchewan - The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) i oversees the distribution, control and regulation of alcoholic beverages and most gambling in the Saskatchewan province of Canada. It owns and manages every video lottery terminal (VLT), slot machine and five casinos operated by the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA). The SLGA also licenses and regulates other forms of gambling such as bingo, raffles, lotto tickets and horse racing. Gambling remains a big contributor to the Saskatchewan economy, accounting for more than $500 million in revenue every year.
Antigua & Barbuda (West Indies) - A longtime online gambling regulatory jurisdiction, the Directorate of Offshore Gaming, under the domain of the Financaial Services Regulatory Commission of Antigua, is charged with licensing and regulating online gambling operations. Over 100 operators are currently regulated under the Interactive Gaming and Wagering Regulations last amended in 2007. Following a banking scandal that involved the Director of Antigua's Financial Services Regulatory Division (non-gaming related) in early 2009, Antigua has improved its checks and balances and has managed to stay up to par with the strict regulatory standards imposed in the UK.
This page was updated on May 21, 2010.