USA vs Europe: How Do The Gambling Regulations Differ?

(STL.News) – Gambling is a popular pastime in many parts of the world, yet there are significant regulatory differences between regions which might catch you out.  To clear things up a little, here is a quick look at the main distinctions between gambling regulations in Europe and the USA.

States Take The Lead

Within the European Union, member states are generally left in charge of their own gambling regulations, since there is no centralized approach to managing this industry.  This means that people in countries which border one another might have quite different levels of access to games of chance.

A similar state of affairs exists in the US, with certain states embracing a liberal attitude to gambling while others clamp down on this type of activity in many of its most common forms.  However, there are far more top-level controls put in place by the federal government, meaning that states often have to adhere to regulations that they have not directly chosen themselves.

The debate over gambling in America is ongoing, with regulators choosing to prohibit online gambling more forcefully after initially loosening restrictions on interstate activities of this kind.  Certain States, like Nevada and New Jersey, have done more to campaign for the legislation and acceptance of all games of chance, but there is still a long way to go before this is applied at a national level.

Pockets Of Progress

In Europe there are plenty of customers for sites like in most countries, although local regulations may actually prohibit the use of such online gambling services.

Even if there are not active blocks on web-based gambling platforms, many European nations do not allow private firms to operate on their soil.  Instead things like state-run lotteries will be the only officially sanctioned option for citizens to use.

Everywhere from Austria and Belgium to Russia and Sweden offers a state lottery.  There is also the continent-spanning Euro-millions lottery to which a multitude of countries contribute.

The UK is distinct amongst European nations for its slack regulations with regards to gambling.  The Gambling Commission provides licenses to private operators and there are both land-based and online bookmakers, casinos and services of all shapes and sizes.  Regulated gambling of this kind has allowed providers to evolve rapidly and effectively serve an international audience while overcoming state-specific restrictions.

A similar state of affairs exists in the US, with the legislation of online gambling in New Jersey being an especially important step forward for the industry.  There are location-based restrictions on web-based gambling activities which are a little more stringent than those in Europe, although the extent to which these are upheld and enforced varies.

Sports Betting Specifics

Both Europe and the USA are still struggling to wrangle a number of gambling-related regulatory issues, with sports betting also suffering from a degree of ambiguity as a result.

Billions are wagered by Europeans and Americans on the outcome of various events each year, but prohibition is similarly commonplace. At the moment, just 12 US stats have legalized sports betting, with many of these changes coming as recently as 2018 and 2019 thanks to a relaxation of federal regulations.

In Europe, sports betting is regulated alongside other forms of gambling, with the UK once again taking the lead in terms of what is permitted.

Ultimately it is apparent that gambling on either side of the Atlantic is a tricky and controversial topic to discuss, with fragmented regulations and differences of attitude posing something of an obstacle for anyone who hopes to play games of chance without falling foul of the authorities.

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