Sometimes, one of the trickiest issues for online sportsbook operators to navigate is the complex nature of the regulations that govern the industry. In this blog post, Slotegrator looks at some of the regulatory challenges that operators face, and some of the solutions they come up with.
Complex Regulations: Canada, South Africa, and Nigeria
All forms of gambling are very popular in Canada, but there are some complications. Betting and gambling are regulated on a province-by-province basis, and sportsbooks can only serve punters in the province where they are licensed.
It is possible to run into trouble with the law by accepting bets from punters in a different province, but sportsbooks can easily use geolocation to avoid doing so. Many sportsbook operators simplify the situation by obtaining a license from an overseas body like the Kahnawake Gaming Commission.
South Africa does not have a single regulating body; each of the nine provinces has its own. Online sports betting is legal throughout the country, provided the sportsbook has a license from the provincial regulator in which it operates. It is technically illegal for sportsbooks with servers located outside the country to offer their services to South African citizens, but many do so anyway.
In Nigeria, games of pure chance are illegal, but sports betting is considered to involve a level of knowledge and skill. At the moment, the country is in the midst of a football betting frenzy. However, licensing can be difficult, as the national and provincial regulatory bodies overlap, which can cause headaches for operators.
Blanket Bans: Russia and Ukraine
Betting and gambling in Russia are limited to designated areas and illegal in the rest of the country. There is a special authority, the Roskomnadzor, in charge of blocking websites that violate the country’s laws. Online sportsbook operators that want to face the Russian market often circumvent the law by using VPNs and proxy sites, as well as registering under a different domain name once they’ve been added to Roskomnadzor’s blacklist.
For now, all forms of gambling except for the state lottery are illegal in Ukraine, though the government is working on legislation that could change that very soon. Despite the ban, betting and gambling have remained popular. As in so many other cases, many operators located outside the country’s borders offer their services to Ukrainian citizens.
Volatile Politics: Kenya and Uganda
The popularity of sports betting in Africa can be a double-edged sword. Emerging African markets are a tantalizing prospect for sportsbooks, who can capitalize on the opportunity while providing a service that is very much in demand. At the same time, perceptions of social ills caused by gambling are creating a backlash against the current betting frenzy.
Amid concerns about problem gambling, the government of Uganda recently stopped issuing new sports betting licenses and announced that current licenses will not be renewed when they expire. In Kenya, a dispute between operators and the government led to threats of a ban. However, sportsbooks that have agreed to a new tax rate have been allowed to continue operation. Several major sportsbooks have ceased operating in Kenya due to the new tax rate. Overseas operators continue to face the market in both countries.
Operating an online sportsbook is complicated, but sportsbooks that remain in compliance with local regulations or find a loophole can find success.