Online Gambling: How Regions Want to Regulate the Market


The online gambling market continues to grow worldwide as regulation spreads. Lockdowns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic also helped to boost the industry with things like welcome bonuses and mobile apps.

A research report published in January 2022 claimed the global online gambling market might have been worth over $75 billion in 2021. They suggested the market may expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12% between 2018 and 2030.

The top regions were North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.

By 2030, the online gambling market could generate $205.6 billion in revenue. One of the main drivers of anticipated industry growth comes from legalization in emerging markets. (The report cited two Indian states which had legalized online gambling.)

Global online gambling expansion derives from partnerships between significant companies. Adding online casinos on top of withstanding sports betting legislation also broadens opportunities.

While legislators in various regions debate the issue of online gambling, many hurdles remain for companies across Europe, the U.S., and Asia.

Let’s examine how particular regions seek to regulate the online gambling market.

Online Gambling in Europe

Europe is a vast continent encompassing more than 40 countries, 27 comprising the European Union (EU). The EU doesn’t have any legal restrictions associated with online gambling. Therefore, the issue gets left up to national and provincial regions.

The U.K. is one of the most accessible areas for online gambling, regulated by the Gambling Act 2005 (a precursor for gambling legislation in the U.S.). Offshore gambling licenses are also awarded in tax havens like Gibraltar and the Isle of Man.

By 2010 and onward, online gambling restrictions began to loosen in countries like Italy, Spain, and France.

The tiny island nation of Malta represents a region with open licensing. Countries like Belgium, Czechia, and Greece offer a restricted licensing model, limiting the number of gambling licenses.

European countries with a state monopoly on gambling licensing (allowing only one government-owned entity) include Norway, Poland, Sweden, and Switzerland.

In 2020, online gambling in Europe generated 30.5 billion euros ($32.3 billion) in revenue. That figure represented 14.3% of the total gaming market. It may rise to 20.4% by 2026.

Countries with the largest share of gambling activity taking place online in 2020 were Sweden (66.2%), Denmark (59.4%), and the U.K. (59.3%). 

In 2021, sports betting comprised 40% of the online gambling market in Europe. Casino games accounted for 34%.

By 2026, the online gambling market in Europe might generate 52 billion euros ($55 billion).

Onshore gambling companies dominate the online market in the region. The share of offshore companies in the online gambling market in Europe may drop from 20.5% in 2020 to 11.4% by 2026.

Europe wants to regulate online gambling by keeping the industry’s market share within its borders.

Online Gambling in the U.S.

In 2018, the Supreme Court overturned a federal ban on sports betting in the U.S. Americans bet over $125 billion on sports in the first four years of legalization.

Each state creates its own set of rules regarding gambling. About half of the U.S. has legalized some form of gambling online. The online gambling market rose from $8.7 billion in 2020 to $9.5 billion in 2021.

While sportsbooks remain popular, many online casinos with $10 minimum deposit options exist. Popular games include slots, video poker, blackjack, and roulette.

Licensing for online casinos is a different process than sports betting. Many states in the U.S. gave licensing rights for casinos to native populations.

That means state governments and gambling companies might need permission from certain tribes to bring casinos online. Therefore, a few states may offer online casinos only within the jurisdiction of land-based operations (like Connecticut and Delaware).

Conservative regions might be against legalizing online gambling for cultural, religious, or political reasons. Alaska, Hawaii, and Utah fall into those categories.

Texas is a potentially massive market considering a constitutional amendment to legalize online gambling. A proposition that would’ve legalized online betting in California failed to pass in 2022.

Only four states openly permit a regulated market for betting at online casinos (Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia). Those expected to launch online casinos include Indiana, Illinois, Massachusetts, and North Carolina.

Players may access legitimate offshore sites, too. With lower fees, Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies are available at those sites for faster deposits and withdrawals.

Online casinos now offer the convenience of live dealer games from the comfort of home. Secure transactions continue to improve with SSL encryption.

Promotions like welcome and deposit bonuses and loyalty rewards also enhance customer experiences.

Online Gambling in Asia

The Asia-Pacific region represents the largest when it comes to gambling. Thus, it brings tremendous potential for future growth. Restrictive legislative environments may hold it back, however.

Pegged at $19.5 billion in 2022, the online gambling market across Asia-Pacific may reach $37.5 billion by 2028 with a CAGR of 11.39%.

Major contributing factors to growth in the region include access to electronic devices, cashless transactions, and real-time gambling experiences. Online sports betting retains the highest market share.

Here are the key regions in the Asia-Pacific online gambling market:

  • Australia
  • China
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • South Korea

These countries serve as a foundation for the fastest-growing gambling market worldwide.

Online sports betting in Australia gets relegated to onshore licensed operators. Gambling online via casinos and in-play sports betting remains illegal.

India allows online gambling in a few states, while most operate in a legal gray area. China bans gambling outright. Instead, the administrative region of Macau in the south of the country remains an international gambling hub.

Residents of Macau get access to online casinos, poker sites, and sportsbooks.

Most countries in Southeast Asia prohibit online gambling (Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam), except the Philippines.

Online sports betting is legal in Taiwan, but online casinos remain illegal. There’s a similar situation in Japan, with the government solely responsible for regulating online betting on horse racing. Online gambling in South Korea remains unlawful, as well.

Despite all the restrictions across Asia, online gambling is popular via offshore sites. There’s more of a legal gray area.

As laws change with younger generations participating in the political process, Asia may become a top region for online gambling.

Final Words

One of the deciding factors in regulating online gambling seems to come from cultural viewpoints. In the early 20th century, casinos and sports betting in America became intertwined with illicit activities within society’s underworld.

That stretches back a century to when gambling was associated with westward expansion (the “Wild West”).

Regulation helped to demystify gambling across the country. Lowering taxes on gambling allowed the industry to thrive. Legalization across the U.S. gave the industry another boost that may last for decades.

With online gambling generating billions in tax revenue, the rest of the world may soon follow suit.