New Crop of Online Gambling Bans: Australia, Slovakia, Poland, and the Czech Republic
Posted in Industry September 7, 2017

New Crop of Online Gambling Bans: Australia, Slovakia, Poland, and the Czech Republic

While online gambling is booming and expanding in some parts of the world, some countries are enacting tough regulations in this sector. Australia, Slovakia, Poland, and the Czech Republic have all recently imposed bans that severely limit the iGaming industry. One may wonder whether other countries will follow this trend. Another point worth noting is whether these prohibitions imply that online gambling will disappear completely from these regions.

Australia’s Total Ban on Online Gambling – No iGaming Allowed

Australia has been considering the idea of outlawing online gambling for approximately two years. The legislation advocating this idea has been gradually progressing through the country’s complex legislative system. The debate surrounding this topic is fierce, with a great number of people supporting the idea of iGaming.

However, it seems that Australian senators were not persuaded by these arguments, as they enacted the Gambling Amendment Bill (2016). Now it is official, and Australia will ban all forms of iGaming in the near future. The amendments to this bill make all kinds of iGaming applications and gambling genres illegal within Australia.

It should be noted though, that at present, only sports betting remains legal. The goal behind the bill was to support that sector and help safeguard Australian players against dubious gambling applications.

This is indeed a noble aim. There are numerous online gambling operations that are highly unreliable or even fraudulent. It is also reasonable for the state to support local betting businesses rather than offshore operators.

Unfortunately, the total ban that has been enforced is not advantageous for anyone, including Australia’s budget. The considerable number of iGaming companies that left Australia starting from March demonstrate that these organizations have decided not to take any unnecessary risks.

As reputation is everything in the online gambling industry, it is not surprising that major businesses operating within regulated markets have chosen to exit completely. This shields them from any possible penalties or controversy stemming from their operation under the ban.

The problem is that while respected businesses like 32Red Casino and 888Casino depart, shady operations remain. It is a well-known fact that the gambling industry always has a “black market” side. The love of gambling is so ingrained in the human psyche that banning it altogether is nearly impossible. If no official gambling entities exist, people will seek unlawful options, which puts them at great risk.

Therefore, in short, the complete iGaming ban that Australia has initiated has actually raised the level of risk for players. It remains to be seen how everything will turn out. We can only wait to observe how Australian gambling will evolve over the upcoming year when the ban becomes active. The way things are going, Australia might well become the second U.S., where no online gambling type is actually legal and yet continues to exist.

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Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic Implementing IPS Blocks

Slovakia, Poland, and the Czech Republic are also introducing a ban on online gambling. However, they are far more flexible than Australia in their approach. These nations are merely updating their market by regulating it.

To help achieve their objective of protecting players from dubious gambling enterprises, they are utilizing IPS blocking, a technology that enables them to disable certain websites. It is not perfect, but at present, there is no more effective selective Internet blocking solution available.

These countries should be commended for their logical approach to the online gambling industry. Instead of outlawing it entirely, and thus forcing players to seek relief elsewhere, they are making it legitimate. Regulated markets are primarily great for players because the operators working through them are monitored by various authorities.

This offers the greatest level of protection to players.

Of course, this type of security comes at a cost. Online gambling operators must pay hundreds of thousands for a license for every single market in which they operate. They also must pay out a significant portion of their profit as taxes.

However, the industry itself is so profitable that these enormous investments are worthwhile.

The situation with Slovakia, Poland, and the Czech Republic is not entirely clear-cut though. Some of the industry’s leading gambling companies are expected to fall under the ban. This includes William Hill Casino and 888Casino. The announced penalty for running an online gambling website without a valid license from the local authorities is €500,000.

Since these markets have recently acquired the “regulated” classification, it will be interesting to see which of these companies will obtain licenses. Poland began banning a bit earlier, and major companies, such as 32Red, have already left the market, and they have yet to return.

Now players residing in these countries will undoubtedly wonder which operators they will be left with once the bans come into effect.

The trend towards banning online gambling websites is rather disconcerting. However, the industry as a whole does not yet need to fear. It should be remembered that while some countries opt to retreat from iGaming, others, such as the U.S., are attempting to “un-ban” it.

Casino Legislation, Online Gambling


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