Historically, gambling (in general) has been frowned upon by society and has been subject to strict regulations or outright being made illegal. Brazil, for instance, banned all forms of gambling all the way back in 1941 and has never repealed the law, referred to as the Criminal Contravention Act.
Online gambling is not considered illegal though, due to a loophole in their legal system which is an issue that has arisen in most of the 146 countries across the world and the various territories. The winnings are considered ‘offshore earnings’ and in Brazil alone, approximately $950 million is wagered each year.
Online gambling has made a once heavily regulated and strictly monitored industry into a rouge venture that anyone with an internet connection can participate in. Many countries across the world have either regulated gambling or outright banned it completely.
When it comes to gambling online (even if it is in a country where the practice is illegal) players are safe from punishment, as the government will only prosecute the proprietor of the websites and gambling firms. The few exceptions across the world are Cyprus, Poland, North Korea, United Arab Emirates, Cambodia, Brunei, and Singapore.
Online gambling is usually made illegal by a complete ban outright or being sanctioned as not being registered in certain jurisdictions. Charlotte Jackson has mentioned that it is particularly difficult to make a list for this problem and typically only major economies will be targeted as some countries are too small of targets. As well some countries and jurisdictions fall into legal grey areas. In many cases, online gambling may not explicitly be banned but the legal situation in the country may make it impossible.
Many countries do not outright ban online gambling, yet they impose penalties on sites that are unregistered and unregulated. There are also other countries which permit you to base an online gambling operation within the country but not allow citizens of that country to participate and play.
In the European Union, according to their laws, there should be a relaxed attitude towards online gambling services and all other countries must be authorized. Some countries in Europe maintain a strict hold on how the sites are licensed and where, such as Sweden. The other countries maintain a white list to regulate eligible jurisdictions. The situation has failed to be remedied by the European Commission, yet new strategies are being implemented over time.
Further down the line are countries which have explicitly prohibited operators from other countries from offering online gambling services to their citizens. Chief among them are USA and Poland. On the opposite end of the spectrum, countries like China and most nations in the Middle-east put a complete blanket ban on all play.
For an online gambling facilitator, there would be no legitimate reason to be punished if customers from a jurisdiction visit the site because web pages are accessible to anyone with an unrestricted internet service. But, in the online gambling sector, laws in many countries place the burden on webmasters to restrict customers from certain countries from being able to access their site. If you are interested in the market, it’s in your best interest to contact a lawyer that is knowledgeable in your jurisdictions gambling laws and determine your duties and your licensing needs.