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Online gambling has been around for well over two decades, with the first gambling sites appearing nearly simultaneously as the internet was introduced to the wider masses. While gambling remained largely unregulated and often unsafe in those early days of the internet, much has changed in a positive way in many parts of the world.
Today, legal and fully regulated online gambling platforms are available on nearly all continents, ensuring the safety of the players and offering more gambling options than ever before.
And while online gambling thrives in some countries, along with responsible gambling initiatives that ensure online gambling remains just entertainment, others have banned it outright or restricted it for taxation or other reasons.
Today, we explore the global online gambling landscape in 2023 and where it may be moving forward according to current laws, regulations, and trends.
Online Gambling in Asia – From Gambling Havens to Complete Bans
Asia is an interesting market for everything related to gambling, as Asian people generally have an affinity for gambling, which is especially true for China and some of its neighbors.
However, China has banned online gambling altogether, along with several other Asian countries like Thailand, Laos, Indonesia, Pakistan, Brunei, Nepal, and more.
Cultural and religious reasons often play a part in these bans, which remain the main reason for the relatively slow progress of the Asian online gambling market.
However, the iGaming industry has been booming recently, with countries like Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines leading the charge. Online gambling operators like UFABET now offer services across all verticals and provide opportunities for players to get involved in all types of online gambling.
With increasingly safe online gambling sites for Asian players emerging and allowing deposits and gameplay in local currencies, along with payment processing with local payment methods, online gambling is becoming more of a reality across Asia every day.
Online sports betting, casino games, and even poker have grown to new heights in the last few years, and it is expected that 2024 and 2025 will be record years for Asia-facing online gambling operators.
Online Gambling in the US – Wheels of Regulation Keep on Spinning
Online gambling has had quite a turbulent history in the US. From a carpet ban on online gambling, the US took quite a turn when PASPA, the law banning online gambling, was overturned in 2018 by the Supreme Court.
The new decision gave each state the right to regulate all online gambling activities locally, and it didn’t take very long before, one after another, states began regulating different types of online gambling.
This led to a massive surge in numbers, as players were finally given legal and safe options to gamble online using their credit cards without any concerns for their safety or the regularity of the gambling markets.
Regulated Markets in the US
Since each state gets to regulate its own gambling market and set the rules that operators must adhere to, there are now dozens of different regulated gambling markets in the US.
In fact, as many as 24 states now offer legal online sports betting, while other verticals like online casinos and poker are only available in seven and six states, respectively.
This means sports betting now accounts for the biggest percentage of all online gambling in the US, as millions of Americans take part in the activity on a regular basis, especially during major sporting events like the Super Bowl or the US Open.
More regulation keeps getting pushed through the law-making institutions with each passing month, with many states currently working on bills for online casinos and online poker. With the growing popularity of RTA poker solutions and other tools, more regulation surely means safer games and a better environment for the players.
If you live in states like New Jersey, Michigan, or Pennsylvania, you can have your pick of online gambling operators and activities you want to get involved with, as these are some of the most lenient states in the country.
Sweepstakes Casinos Sweeping the Nation
While classic online casinos are only offered in a handful of states, most Americans can play at sweepstakes casinos, which have picked up quite a lot of popularity in the last few years.
The reason, of course, is the fact that players can win Sweepstakes Coins, which can be turned into real money rewards at the end of the day.
Sweepstakes casinos won’t let you gamble in a classic way and will never allow direct deposits of cash into balances, but they will allow you to put your money to use, buy Gold Coins to play with for fun, and receive some free Sweeps Coins on the side to play Sweepstakes games with.
Winning Sweepstakes Coins will allow you to redeem them for real money awards, making it the next best thing.
The sweepstakes casinos market has been growing exponentially, with new sites like McLuck Casino joining the market and giving millions of players across the US a lot to get excited about by offering hundreds of the most popular casino games to play across all devices.
Online Gambling in Europe – Local Regulation Becoming the Trend
Online gamblers across Europe have gotten quite used to playing at internationally licensed online casinos and sportsbooks, but things are rapidly changing as a growing number of countries introduce local regulations and enforce local licensing.
Players in the United Kingdom, Spain, France, and many other European jurisdictions are now only given a chance to play at locally regulated sites, often under less favorable conditions regarding taxation, rake, and other terms.
Yet, the European online gambling market continues to grow and expand as operators come up with new opportunities and promotions for players and trends like fantasy sports emerging in the European market.
The growing segregation of markets has had a major impact on online poker player pools, which have decreased in size in the last few years but still remain significant, especially when combined with players from the rest of the world, like South America, Asia, Australia, and Canada.
Online Gambling Continues to Thrive
There has never been more interest in safe and regulated online gambling, and more countries have started taking the industry more seriously than ever before.
With the US, Canada, and many European nations taking a serious stance on online gambling and Asian countries working on growing their markets, the iGaming industry looks to keep growing for a number of years to come.
While countries benefit greatly from local regulation and market segregation, gambling verticals like online poker are getting hurt, as reduced player pools also mean less action and poker bonuses for everyone. Yet, countries’ investment in safe and responsible online gambling also means that online gambling is now a less dangerous activity to those taking part in it.
Moving forward, we are likely to see a major growth of online gambling markets in the US and Asia, with European and other markets continuing a steady growth and remaining as healthy as ever, and more players from across the world having an opportunity to play their favorite online gambling games than ever.