With several jurisdictions finding far more benefits than potential disadvantages in legalizing iGaming, and the pandemic driving the need for digital upgrades in every aspect, new regulated market have opened up over the past two years. Petr Stehlik, a Lawyer at Slotegrator, delves further into the recent cases of Ontario, Germany, Netherlands and Ukraine, and shares an updated panorama of each of these newly regulated markets.
More and more countries are coming to the conclusion that regulating iGaming makes infinitely more sense than trying to ban it.
Government authorities around the world are waking up to the fact that prohibiting gambling simply creates the perfect conditions for the black market to thrive, fails to protect players, and deprives the national budget of a lucrative source of tax revenue.
To help established and potential online casino and sportsbook operators narrow down their search for a new target market, software developer and aggregator Slotegrator has reviewed some of the most notable markets to regulate in the past few years.
The company supplies innovative business solutions to the iGaming market, and also provides legal support to operators. Among other things, it helps operators choose a jurisdiction and obtain an appropriate license, which allows you to legally open and manage gambling projects and demonstrates the business’ legitimacy to players.
Slotegrator provides new market participants with the opportunity to operate under a Curaçao sublicense through its white label solution, which also includes the development of a gambling platform, and operation under the company’s legal entity.
Ontario – legalized in April 2022
Operators have high hopes for Canada’s largest province, which became the first to allow private enterprises to organize online gambling activities in April 2022; Players in Ontario can now play casino games and bet on sports through sites licensed in the province.
Previously, Ontario was known as a gray market, with players frequenting offshore platforms along with the provincial monopoly, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, which launched its Proline+ product when betting on certain sports events was legalized.
Provincial authorities said a regulated iGaming market would help protect online casino users and provide them with more options. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, which regulates the industry, also cites potential growth in emerging market revenue, although the province has not yet provided data on projected revenue.
As of July 2022, there are 31 operators registered with iGaming Ontario; According to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission, not all iGaming sites will be launched immediately. Moderate growth in the number of operators is expected. Many of them are currently implementing marketing campaigns and want to reach potential users even before launch.
For many operators that already have projects in several US states where online gambling is legal, the launch in Ontario is a significant event. They predict that Ontario will become something like the Mecca of Canadian sports betting, but operators should keep in mind that it’s not a standard emerging market; Due to widespread cultural acceptance of gambling and the fact that authorities didn’t prosecute players who visited offshore sites before regulation, players are used to conditions resembling a mature market.
Germany — legalized in July 2021
On April 30, 2021, all of Germany’s federal states agreed on the State Treaty on Gambling, and on July 1, the rules for the operation of online casinos and sportsbooks were introduced.
The federal agreement on the regulation of iGaming business is designed to ensure the protection of online casino users. In accordance with its terms, an iGaming control and supervisory organization will be established in the state of Saxony-Anhalt to regulate the country’s online casinos and monitor the implementation of regulated rules.
In Germany, players are required to maintain a personal account. In order to prevent fraud and underage gambling, users of gambling sites must go through ID verification. Unfortunately, some of the new regulations are stricter than in other jurisdictions. German players face a monthly deposit limit of €1,000 and a per-spin limit of €1 on slots.
Virtual slot machines from private developers and online poker have only been partially legalized. Initially, neither were considered, but the following lengthy negotiations, both were included in order to further combat the black market.
Netherlands – legalized in April 2021
The Netherlands could be considered the record holder for the length of the online casino legalization process.
Discussions on the revision gambling legislation officially began in 2012, although the rules had needed revision as far back as 1964. The long-awaited event finally took place in October 2021. The KOA (Remote Gaming Act) was originally scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2020, but for several reasons, (COVID-19 among them), the launch date was pushed back several times. Ultimately, the law was passed on April 1, 2021, and the market opened on October 1.
Regulations were laid out by the Kansspelautoriteit, or KSA (Netherlands Gambling Authority in English). So far, the KSA has issued gambling licenses to 10 operators, including Bet365, Bingoal, and NSUS Malta, which runs GGPoker.eu.
Local players can now legally play online casinos and bet on sports. René Jansen, chairman of the KSA, sees the legalization of iGaming as a beneficial move because it helps protect consumers from abuse.
Ukraine — legalized in July 2020
In 2019, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky introduced an initiative to legalize the gambling business and active work began to regulate the country’s gambling industry. The bill on state regulation of the gambling business was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada on July 14, 2020, and on August 11, it was signed into law. After the law entered into force, the activities of land-based and online casinos, betting shops, slot machine halls, and online poker sites were allowed. The first license was issued in early 2021.
Local operators have been waiting for the legalization of the market for more than 10 years. They share the opinion of government officials that the full development of the iGaming industry in Ukraine is hindered by the operation of online casinos and underground land-based establishments, as well as the lack of changes in tax legislation.
The authorities of the countries where the gambling business is legalized or is planned to be legalized have high hopes for the iGaming industry and see long-term prospects for economic development in its legalization. The adoption of a law in the field of gambling helps to reduce the level of corruption, contributes to the development of social programs and related industries, creates jobs, and directs additional resources to the state treasury.
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