2020 regulatory changes in gambling policies across the globe


2020 has become a year of serious changes that affected many fields and industries. The gambling industry is not the exception: multiple governments have introduced their legal amendments in this area. Most of the long-anticipated steps taken by national governments have brought the introduction of stricter laws against excessive gambling.
2020 is not finished yet, and while the intentions of some national legal authorities have already been put into practice, the events of this year and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic have created obstacles and delays for implementation in others.


The UK has toughened up gaming regulations

The UK Gambling Commission plans for 2020 are to toughen up its policy regarding gaming laws. This year has already seen some changes in the LCCP (License Conditions and Codes of Practice) that tightened standards for ADR (Alternative Dispute Requirements). The recent enforcement of these amendments has created heavier burdens on betting businesses. Their interactions with customers bearing gambling risks will now be closely overseen.

In April 2020 British gambling authority also enacted the law that banned a credit card use for any form of remote gambling. One of the newly-imposed legal obligations of gambling license holders is their involvement in the Problem Gaming Research.
Germany has resumed granting a license to sports betting firms
Germany is also experiencing changes regarding gambling regulations. On the 1st of January, after a prolonged pause, the country has resumed issuing licenses to newly-formed online and offline bookmaking businesses. It’s worth noticing that the only German state that issues licenses for opening online casinos is Schleswig-Holstein.

The Netherlands is suspending its changes

The intended adjustments to the Netherlands gaming laws that were supposed to come in 2020 have been put on a hold until January 2021. The delay creates a perfect opportunity for local gaming operators to take full advantage of their time and increase the return on their investment.
Denmark imposes deposit limits and simplifies the self-exclusion process
From January 1st, 2020 all Danish players are bound by the new law to set their deposit limits before are starting betting or playing. Another important update has been made in the realm of the self-exclusion process, which made it easier for gamblers to self-exclude themselves directly on the website itself instead of going through the previous procedure of contacting the customer service department.

A set of new gambling restrictions in Spain

The Spanish government has also introduced a set of new gambling laws this year that are aimed at the prevention and reduction of problem gaming. temporary restrictions for advertising were introduced in the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to experts, these restrictions will soon be turning into the permanent ban for the gambling ads, which will take full effect this October. Gambling venues will also be expected to be closed until 10 pm.
Spanish gaming establishments are to collaborate with the government to promote the safe betting and gaming environment and give warnings about the dangers of problem gaming.

Greece is imposing increased taxes and license fees

It’s expected that the Greek Ministry of Finance will soon impose its amendments to the current online and land-based gambling legislation, which among other things, will relate to taxation and increased license costs. According to reliable sources, the online gambling operators, in particular, would be required to pay about 3,000,000 Euros for the 5-year license plus the minimum tax rate of 1 million Euros.
The maximum limit of bets for games based on the principle of random numbers (RNG) will be 2 Euros, and the maximum winnings per session will be limited to 5,000 Euros. Advertising of RNG games is not allowable outside of the licensee website.

Ukraine gambling position is finally re-regulated

2020 became a year of legalization of gambling in Ukraine. The traditional anti-gambling position of the country has finally been changed to the legislative recognition and support of gaming and betting. This summer the Ukrainian Rada has approved a set of new laws regarding the licensing framework for all gambling establishments in the country.
The local government has also determined the minimum eligible age for gambling (21 y. o.) Nevertheless, the current approach doesn’t involve the regulation of the tax aspect of gambling entities, which means that local operators might pay taxes of 50-60% of their profits for conducting businesses legally.
Just for the record, gambling in Ukraine was banned for more than 10 years. The ban, however, did not prevent illegal betting and gaming activities from growing to threatening proportions. The decision to legalize gaming will open avenues for the generation of the much-needed financial flows into the Ukrainian budget.

Cambodia decides to regulate the gambling sector

Cambodia government is passing a series of gambling laws aimed at capitalizing on a flourishing industry. According to new regulations, gambling in the country will only be allowed in special gaming zones. Furthermore, local citizens will not be permitted to be engaged in gambling. In regards to licensing, the license for setting up an individual gambling business will be valid for 5 years, while licenses for large resort complexes will be given for 20 years. The industry is to be overseen by a new body, the Commercial Gaming Committee of Cambodia.

Kenya’s “changes of heart”

This year Kenya is experiencing serious consequences and quite frequent “changes of heart” in regards to the recently introduced 20% excise tax on sportsbook stakes. This triggered a few largest national operators to leave the local gambling market. The events led the Kenyan government to the consequent removal of just the imposed bill, then – to the sudden compunction for that, and the eventual decision to reintroduce it again – for the purpose to resume a rapid drop of money inflow into the state treasury.

Brazil’s legislative changes are still some way off

This year events, which were mostly connected with the COVID-19 pandemic, have forced many governments to shift their priorities. As a result, the implementation of some laws was either slightly or significantly differed. The Brazil legislative sector is hardly a big exemption from this common trend, and its intentions to impose new gambling rules are still waiting for their turn.
Anyway, the sports betting privatization bill has recently been approved, which gives a reason to hope that some other steps in this direction will also be made. If so, they most probably would start with the entry into force of the long-designed the fixed-odds sports betting lottery method and new regulations regarding online and offline gaming.

North America

Sports betting legalization is spreading across the USA

As per 2020, gambling in the United States is mostly governed on a state-by-state basis. Gambling in the US has generally been limited to casinos and racetracks, though for some states such as Nevada it has long been the main source of the local income. As for online and land-based sports betting, it is currently legal in half of the American states, while others are still in the process of its legalization.
This year, some states like Colorado and Michigan, have already put into force their newly-formed sports betting laws, while a few others (f. ex. Kentucky, Maryland, and Massachusetts) may be enacting proposed regulations in the following months. For people living in Georgia, Main, Missouri, and some other states the welcome change in gambling legislation may come even later than that.

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