Online casinos and sportsbooks have dominated the gambling industry, constituting a major part of the entire entertainment sector. However, as we locally might be well used to online casinos with the UK license, some parts of the world welcome a less-inviting change where online gambling is highly restricted or even banned entirely. Ironically enough, particular jurisdictions within one country sometimes approach internet gaming completely differently.
The habit of gambling has been with us from the beginning. Literally! It goes back as far as the Palaeolithic Period, even before written history. Gambling came to life within the civilisations establishing in the world, today many of the dice games have had their origins in Ancient Rome and the popular lottery has been used as a way of raising funds for the state in centuries.
It comes as no surprise to see hundreds of countries around the world shaping their own gambling traditions and preferences. Today we’re taking a closer look at the gambling situation in the UK, the US, Sweden, Australia and Japan, to not only compare their individual habits but also to learn more about and celebrate the diversity that gambling offers us worldwide.
Let’s face us, us Brits love gambling. We always have and most probably we always will. Be it racetrack, bingo halls or traditional brick and mortar casinos. In the times of the ‘online’ winning over the ‘real-life’, we still enjoy a good old wager at the local shop around the shop and having a few spins on classic pub fruities.
But as the world goes fast, the internet started to revolutionise the national gambling market in the early nineties and have shaped the casino and sportsbook scene to a completely new format. The very first online casino, Gaming Club, came to life in 1994 and was powered by Microgaming. All in all, it’s the world’s first online casino software company that supplied first virtual versions of classing casino games including roulette, blackjack and slots. Microgaming still stays on top of the software provider leaderboard up to these days!
We have come a really long (and impressive!) way in a (surprisingly!) short space of time. Within two decades, we’ve gone from a handful of basic digital games to cutting-edge, 3D and AI-focused games available on multiple devices. The UK online gambling scene proudly sets the industry standards globally, with many countries trying to follow British success. All UK-based players should surely be not only proud but also happy, as we’re extremely lucky having one of the most flexible and user-friendly gambling regulations.
All forms of online betting and gaming are completely legal and well-regulated by the country’s Gambling Commission which overlooks the majority of UK gambling, including land-based casino gaming, sports betting, and online casino gambling.
United States of America
Against all stereotypes – it’s still hard to not associate the US casino scene with flashy and glamorous Las Vegas. Since the 1930s, Nevada’s most prominent city has built a name for being home for the world-famous casino establishments such as Caesars Palace and Bellagio.
In terms of the nation’s game preferences, slot games are the king but roulette and blackjack follow right after. Ah, not to mention very-loved craps! Speaking of gambling regulations – the story becomes a bit more complicated. All forms of gambling fall under states’ right except for sports betting. A federal law known forbids states from expanding sports betting.
Differently to the UK, individual states are given the freedom to define gambling in their own words. This means that some of the games that are available in one state might not be legal in others. The processes of expanding traditional and online gambling can be time-consuming and complicated with the given requirement of a constitutional amendment or the voters’ say.
Sweden has always had a strong position in the European gambling scene. From 1934 until late 2018, national gambling was monopolised by the state. It has all changed when the doors were opened to private investors. The state then established a regulatory body known as the Swedish Gambling Authority.
Swedish gambling has gone through a transformation that now hopes to encourage more private participation. All online and traditional casinos have to hold the country’s license to operate within Sweden. What games do Swedes love? Slots, blackjack, roulette, baccarat, scratch games… the list goes on and on!
If we had to point out one characteristic to Sweden gambling feature, it would be… efficiency. Games, payment methods, player safety – Swedes love to ensure a top-quality experience from all angles. The Scandinavian spirit is mirrored in the way Swedish online casinos operate where all regulations should be met in order to provide players an entertaining but also a fully secure gaming experience.
Gambling has arrived in Australia together with the settlers that came to the shores of the continent in the early 1700s. Betting was particularly common among the first inhabitants, especially the Aboriginals. It was a great socialising exercise and a way for communities to trade essentials – gambling offered both competition and a new type of entertainment.
Throughout Australian history, the law enforcement has tried to regulate gambling according to the nation’s expectations but up to this day, the country struggles to keep up with the latest technology and trends. Especially in the realms of internet gambling, with more and more websites being accessible by Australian players, it’s nearly impossible for the Australian government to regulate it within its borders. The gaming progresses but the law doesn’t seem to catch up.
Aussies can freely enjoy betting platforms, slots, live poker and a number of other gaming verticals. While the authorities struggle to define their own laws regarding international online casinos and poker sites, players are still free to use those sites with no danger of prosecution. Currently, over 80% of Australian residents gamble, which makes the casino industry a truly booming one. The revenue generated from this sector in incomparably higher than many others in the country, which automatically forces the government to take an in-depth look into the structure and operations of the gambling industry.
Variety is great but why ask for a change if one has what they need most? Japanese gamblers have played in pachinko parlours for years, enjoying an engaging pinball-type game. The pachinko culture is different from many of the Western gambling traditions, as the Japanese don’t gamble for cash. They play with tokens or certificates that later can be exchanged for cash or prizes.
Mahjong, boat racing, bicycle racing, horse racing, and soccer pools are other popular among Japanese players types of gambling entertainment. Many place bets on some of these activities, which indicates a certain shift in the Japanese gambling tradition. The love for sports is mirrored in the participation of horse racing and soccer, as these interest gamblers the most.
Ironically, gambling has never been officially legalised in Japan. But neither has it been heavily penalised. Hence the growing number of online casinos. Currently, Japan is in the middle of intense discussions on the permit matters. For several months now, the so-called “Casino Bill” has been enthusiastically debated, however, it’s unknown to the general public when any official decisions will be made.