If you’re in the online gambling business you have a worldwide audience to target with your games and gaming translation – or so the theory goes. Except online gambling laws are a murky topic in many countries, which means you might want to brush up on your legal knowledge before you start tweaking your game for certain markets.
So which countries don’t allow online gambling? Well, there’s no black and white answer to this tricky question and all we can really do is give you an idea of how complex things really are. Above all, we want to highlight the importance of market research, which very much includes the legal profile of each country you want to target.
Consider this before implementing (spending money on) any type of gaming translation.
Disclaimer: this article is not intended to offer legal advice and we can’t guarantee its contents are still accurate at the time of reading.
Where is online gambling illegal?
There are currently seven countries where online gambling is completely illegal (including sports betting) on both domestic and international websites:
- North Korea
- United Arab Emirates
So you can forget about marketing your casino app to gamers in Singapore and the UAE, even if you do like the sound of their wealthy markets. The same goes for North Korea, if you fancied being the first to crack that market, but you’ll notice that list is surprisingly small.
Well, you can thank these countries for keeping things so cut and dry – because most don’t.
The grey areas of online gambling
In Vietnam, all forms of gambling are illegal, except for bets placed in casinos. This includes online gambling but there are some instances where Vietnamese police are unable to prevent internationally licensed companies from being accessed online from inside Vietnam. The act of placing bets is still illegal and punishments are pretty severe but it’s not quite as black and white as the countries listed above.
Next door, in Cambodia, online gambling is also fully illegal unless you’re not Cambodian. Which prompts a lot of people from Vietnam to hop over the border and it also allows the country’s expat community to dabble in online betting.
Then there’s a whole host of countries where online gambling is illegal but placing bets on international sites is widespread – sometimes because it’s legal, other times because the regulations aren’t there to prevent it.
In some countries it may be illegal to operate an online casino in the country while the act of placing a bet doesn’t break any laws. In these cases, placing bets on international sites can be common. While in Norway it’s the opposite; citizens can only place bets on two Norwegian gambling sites.
To sum up, there’s no end to the grey areas with international online gambling laws. It’s a mix of national law and the complications of regulating the internet, which results in a complex range of legal setups. You’ll want to clear up these grey areas by getting legal advice for each target marketing before you start thinking about casino translation or gaming localisation.
How does this affect me?
If you’re in the online gaming business, your license will cover you to operate in various instances. So, as long as you’re registered and licensed in the countries you operate in, you’ll be fine from a legal perspective.
It’s not your problem if people in Singapore or Vietnam try to access your site.
However, things are more complicated once you start targeting international markets. As soon as you translate for languages and accept local currencies you’re making a decided effort to attract gamers from that country.
Again, things can be complicated further by shared languages and/or currencies. So you’ll need to fully understand the legal environment of each market you intend to target before you make any concrete plans. This should be the first thing you do in terms of market research because you don’t want to waste time and money on adapting your game for markets that won’t allow people to use it.
- Posted by Alexandra Kravariti
- On 27th April 2017
- 2 Comments