Gambling, whether online or offline, is a popular pastime in many parts of the world. Forward-thinking countries have even recognised it as a legitimate form of entertainment. However, not all have regulatory frameworks for player protection. As long as operators pay taxes, everything is good. But that’s bad news for players.
To foster a secure and thriving gambling environment, governments need laws that safeguard players' interests. We are talking about ensuring fairness in games, providing responsible gambling resources, and intervening in cases of player mistreatment. In line with this, we have cherry-picked the top 5 regulated countries for gambling where players are protected by law.
The UK is one of the most regulated gambling markets. Both online and land-based casinos are legal as long as operators have a license from the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). This body has some of the most specific regulatory guidelines, some of which are designed for player protection.
First, no UKGC-licensed casino can legally accept players under 18 years old. Second, gambling operators are not allowed to accept deposits made from credit cards to avoid putting customers into unnecessary debt. This includes cards connected to e-wallets. Third, the regulator requires its licensees to monitor all customers’ activity in order to identify those at risk of problem gambling. And besides individual casinos’ responsible gambling programs, the UKGC has collaborated with gambling operators to establish Gamstop, a self-exclusion program for problem gamblers.
In 2021, the UK introduced a new set of measures to improve player protection. They banned the “Auto-play” and ‘fast spins’ features in slot games. According to the UKGC, such functionalities reduce players' control over their gambling habits. They can also encourage consumers to play on multiple platforms simultaneously, which puts them at more risk. Reverse withdrawals were also banned, so you cannot use money already cashed out. Such rules improve player protection.
Canada is another player-friendly gambling market where individual provinces are allowed to regulate these activities within their borders. The country is also home to the renowned Kahnawake Gaming Commission. Among the 10 provinces, Ontario stands out for its impeccable stand on player protection while embracing industry trends. It’s here that you can use digital assets like BTC and even get a crypto casino no deposit bonus.
Back to player protection, all gambling sites seeking to operate in Ontario must be licensed by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). They must abide by the rules of this body, which include responsible gambling measures. The authority also has a subsidiary, iGaming Ontario, that maintains operators’ responsible gambling accreditation through the RG Check program.
In Ontario, the autoplay function was banned on all games for obvious reasons. Multiscreen or split-screen slots were also banned. Still on slots, the minimum spin speed was set at 2.5 seconds. And when you win, the casino is obligated to display your wins in Canadian dollars rather than chips or credits. If they don’t, you can report to the authority through available contact options.
From 1st July 2021, Germans could legally gamble online. But this meant increased risks of problem gambling. The current regulatory body, Gemeinsame Glücksspielbehörde der Länder (GGL), suggested several measures to protect players. We’ll summarise them below:
Casino platforms must be available in the German language
Players could bet up to €1 per spin in slot games
All auto-play functions were banned
A 5-second rule per spin was introduced - after spinning, you wait for at least five seconds before spinning again.
No live betting is allowed
Progressive jackpots on slots or live dealer games were banned
Monthly deposits are limited to €1000
There must be an opt-out function on the casino site to give users a 24-hour exclusion.
Remember, Germany is part of the EU, so all casino operators in the country must abide by the regional rules on player protection. This makes the country one of the best places for player protection.
As restricted as it may be, Austria is a growing gambling market. It’s also part of the European Union, so there are foreign rivals in the industry. To facilitate player protection, the country has enacted several measures. These include:
All casinos in the country must set time and bet limits to help players stay in control
Casinos should provide a compulsory cooling-off period for players who have been playing for up to 2 consecutive hours. If it’s a slot machine, it should automatically shut down.
Operators should record and keep players’ gambling statistics to help identify problem gamblers. They must also have responsible gambling resources accessible from their website.
Operators should also examine their customers’ credit history to identify any cases of insolvency.
To further promote responsible gambling, independent companies like Allwyn Entertainments have stepped in. They launched MENTOR, a tracking software that alerts players in case of changes in their gambling patterns. It even tells you what you can do about it.
Run by the Hellenic Gaming Commission (HGC), the Greek gambling market is highly regulated. Only legal operators can serve the locals. Internet service providers (ISPs) in the country are required by law to block access to unlicensed gambling sites in the country. That means as a player, you are protected from rogue casinos. The commission also compiles and updates blacklisted gambling sites and publishes these details on their official website. So you’ll know what platforms to avoid.
In games, the HGC ensures outcomes are fair and random where possible. They enforce the use of RNG software and test the games themselves. Of course, all licensees must have self-exclusion and other responsible gambling resources. The authority itself is also embracing new ways to strengthen player protection. In 2023, they embraced Mindway AI’s software, made for early detection of problem gambling. Just imagine how much we can avoid by identifying signs of problem gambling early.
The UK, Canada (Ontario), Greece and Germany are some heavily regulated countries where players are protected by law. Casinos are obliged to help you play responsibly by imposing limits and providing help when needed. If they don’t, authorities will be on their necks. However, you should be ready for stringent KYC checks.