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 regulations in the country where your business is licensed and then go to the analysis of foreign regulations 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” jurisdictions InteliumLaw, among the gambling start-ups.
For simplicity of understanding, we will divide the analyzed markets into groups.
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 Group 1. These markets are completely closed by Curacao’s license rules: USA, Netherlands, France, Dutch West Indies, and Curacao itself.
In no case should your website be accessible from these countries, otherwise you might lose your license and become subject to fines.
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 at risk if case Curacao master license holder tracks your activity there.
It is worth mentioning here such a category of countries is “closed by a particular provider”.
Each provider of gaming content, and gambling technology (platform provider) has its own list of prohibited or restricted jurisdictions – Evolution has one, Pragmatic has another, Nuxgame has the third, and so on.
You can see these lists in the respective agreements.
Other countries: upon the discretion of the operator (its management and legal department) on a 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 a question mark. Countries in this section are often considered “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 to as “grey markets”.
The jurisdiction could ban only certain types of gambling activities and actively enforce 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.
Understanding the Risks of Operating Illegal Gambling Services in Prohibited Countries
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.
In these cases, these risks could not be fully excluded and shall be analyzed prior to entering any markets.
To summarize, a case-by-case legal analysis is required with regard to each market in this category to keep your business in compliance and avoid any legal troubles. Specialists from InteliumLaw will be happy to assist you with your requests in this regard and dispel your concerns.