Online Gaming Jurisdictions – Asia, Australia and New Zealand

Online Gaming Jurisdictions – Asia, Australia and New Zealand

The Pacific area is a very specific one when it comes to online gaming, as the differences between many mainland Asian countries and the likes of Australia and New Zealand are simply incredibly big. This naturally also has a lot to do with the political and economic situations in all the countries, as those are much more varied than in, say, Europe or North America.

Before we take a closer look at some of the more notable countries, we’ll just say that you’ll never have to worry about anything while gaming at your favorite online casinos from Australia and New Zealand. As far as the other countries are concerned – well, just read on to find out.

China

China is arguably the world’s biggest market and one that all the online casinos would flock to if there was any chance of conducting business, be it in the completely legal zone or in the typically grayish area. However, there’s still a long way to go before any of those potential profits become a reality, as the Chinese authorities are extremely reluctant to legalize any forms of gaming, be it online or off-line.

This may come as a surprise to some, as China is well-known as one of the countries in which gambling was extremely popular in the ancient times – in fact, some sources even claim that the popular game of roulette originally came from China. Truth to be told, it seems that gambling is quite popular nowadays as well, although most of its forms aren’t legalized and illegal providers are being hunted down.

On the official level, China has not only banned foreign investment into online gambling, but the authorities are also actively blocking the websites offering illegal games. The rumor is that it is possible to find a way around the Great Firewall of China and that it’s possible to play at some of the bigger online casinos through those channels with little fear of getting punished, but it may be best not to take one’s chances.

Interestingly, Bet365 are one of the few companies that are trying to tap into the country’s resources by claiming that there’s nothing illegal in offering their services to Chinese players. They are also actively fighting the censorship practices by constantly changing their website addresses – and their dedication is also evident from the fact that they employ a number of Chinese-speaking call centre operators.

Japan

Japan currently has a fairly strict legislation when it comes to online gaming – in short, many forms of gambling are illegal and the penalties can be harsh. However, it needs to be said that – at the time of writing – the law was being enforced only very rarely, with online gaming being pretty popular all across the country.

Moreover, with the country’s economy struggling, liberalization seems to be getting closer and closer with every single day. The bottom line is that the websites aren’t being blocked and that a large part of the population is visiting the most popular online casinos and sportsbooks, so you should have no problems accessing them either, regardless of whether you’re currently staying in Japan or whether you’re planning to visit the country for a week or two. Many online casinos are also openly accepting Japanese players, so that’s probably a reasonable indication of where the country is at.

South Korea

It might come as a surprise to many, but South Korea isn’t exactly liberal when it comes to gaming, both online and off-line. In fact, there have even been some highly controversial cases concerning strange laws being enforced. For example, the authorities can fine and even imprison South Korean citizens that gambled while on vacation in another country.

There was a time at which it seemed that at least some liberalization could take place, but the year of 2015 brought some very bad news, as the South Korean authorities announced that they wanted to hunt down not only the operators of online casinos they deemed illegal, but also all of their regular customers. The last bit is the most worrying one, as it has – so far – been very rare to see countries trying to punish those who just gambled online here and there.

Put simply, gaming in or from South Korea can be a risky business unless you know the laws inside out.

Singapore

Right now, Singapore is one of the worst countries for online gaming – gambling is banned in the country as a whole and it seems that the situation isn’t going to improve anytime soon. The Remote Gambling Act prohibits playing online and introduces fines (and even jail time) for customers of online casinos and sportsbook.

Notably, the internet service provides are also forced to block access to betting and casino sites, so chances are that you won’t even get a real chance to break the law. It is quite unfortunate, as gambling was relatively accessible before the aforementioned piece of legislation came into force, but that’s where the country is at right now.

Philippines

The Philippines is one of the Asian countries in which online gambling is widely available, although all the official options are being run by state-owned agencies that not only have their own operators, but that also issue their own licenses. This is a very interesting issue for online casinos, as this particular market can act as the ideal entry point to the Asian markets.

As far as online gaming at foreign websites is concerned, there was no law prohibiting it at the time of writing, with the courts comfirming that very assumption during a certain case in 2015. That said, it will probably be impossible to open an account at some of the major online casinos and sportsbook with a local address. Accessing accounts that are associated with a foreign address shouldn’t pose you any issues, however.

India

As one of the biggest markets in the entire world, India is currently attracting plenty of attention from the online gaming sector, with the legislation struggling to keep up with the pace. Until 2011, there was virtually nothing preventing Indians from getting their online fix.

The Federal Information Technology Act of 2011 was supposed to force internet service providers to block foreign betting sites and therefore essentially shut the market down, but the current situation is such that it’s very easy to access all the online casinos you may desire. Most major online casinos and bookmakers are also openly accepting Indian customers.

There are also some rumors about a major push for liberalization being just around the corner, so chances are that the Indian market will soon be as open as many of the European ones.

Indonesia

Since Indonesia is currently predominantly Islamic, it’s no surprise that most gambling activities – both online and off-line – are completely prohibited. The authorities are also actively trying to block the residents from accessing online gaming services, so chances are that you won’t be able to play at your preferred online casino while visiting the country.

Australia

The Australian authorities have always been rather strict towards online gaming and the current legislation isn’t very liberal either, with the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 being the main law that says what’s legal and what isn’t.

Without diving into the small details, all the regulation that’s currently in place concerns the operators only, which means that players have nothing to worry about. Australians can play – legally – at whichever online casino or sportsbook accepts their bets and wagers, while it should also be relatively simple to deposit and withdraw money.

Local players that want to bet at local companies can enjoy only a very limited service – only sports betting and lotteries can be offered by Australian providers.

At the time of writing, several new liberalization proposals were on the table due to the fact that the current laws simply only hinder local providers without really limiting the market in any significant manner, but we’re yet to see any of them really picking up significant pace. Some lawmakers, of course, also see blocking foreign websites as a possible step to well and truly enforce the current legislation, but those proposals look very unlikely to be enacted as well.

New Zealand

The current situation in New Zealand is very similar to the one in Australia, although it could be said that it’s actually slightly less convoluted. The crucial piece of legislation is the Gambling Act of 2003, which basically prohibits all forms of online gambling in New Zealand.

It does not, however, prohibit New Zealanders from participating in overseas online gambling, which means that you should have no issues accessing your favorite online casinos and bookmakers from New Zealand.

The local authorities are warning that those services can’t be overseen from within New Zealand, which means that there are no guarantees that you’re going to get your money or that the games are completely fair, but we’d actually always consider the overall reputation of a given online casino to be more important than where its licensing and regulation are coming from.