UNITED STATES—In 2018, the US saw major changes in the law related to online gambling. The first change legalized online gambling. The second change removed the nation’s ban on sports betting. In both cases, the responsibility for legislating gambling within each state fell strictly on the state legislatures.
Prior to these decisions, there was no way to realistically compare the ways the UK and US differed when it came to online gambling. Today is a new day, and the aforementioned changes now make it possible to do a comparison between two great gambling nations. Let’s take a look at the differences between how the UK and US now handle online gambling activities.
Legislation and Law Enforcement
In the UK, the entire gambling industry is controlled by one governing body. That body would be the UK Gambling Commission. The Commission’s responsibilities cover both land-based and online gambling activities. The scope of the Commission’s authority includes licensing, setting operational parameters, arbitration guidelines, advertising regulations, payment/withdrawal procedures and limitations and problem gambling legislation. Any legislation set forth by the Commission is applicable to all residents that fall within the UK’s boundaries.
In the US, there is no single governing body. In fact, there could be as many as 51 different agencies/commissions charged with regulating online gambling for the nation. While each state has been given the authority by the US constitution to legislate on behalf of its own citizens, there’s always the potential for federal intervention or cooperation.
Currently, there are only four states (Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey and Pennsylvania) that have posted legislation that legalizes online gambling within its state’s borders. With the removal of the ban on sports gambling, there will surely be a lot more states moving forward with the required legislation. In all cases, the states are required to appoint a regulatory commission to handle setting forth guidelines and issuing licenses. It’s worth noting that the federal government is currently working on legislation that could be used to force uniformity between the states.
Gambling Revenues and Taxation
In the UK, online casino operators and content providers are required to pay licensing fees to operate and provide services within the UK. Online gambling operators like Casumo.com are also required to pay a flat 15% on gross revenues regardless of the source of said revenues. As for gamblers, they are not required to pay taxes on any winnings with no regard for the amount of their earnings.
In the US, state regulators will be collecting licensing fees and income taxes from both online casino operators and content providers. The applicable tax rates will be dependent on the amount of revenues earned less allowable expenses. In addition to state taxes, US-based operations will have to file federal returns and pay taxes to the Internal Revenue Service. As for gamblers, they will be required to pay both federal and state taxes on net gambling income of more than $600. The applicable tax rates will depend on the amounts of income earned.
At this point in time, UK online bookmakers and casinos are permitted to offer online gambling services to residents of other countries as long as the foreign bettors reside in a country where online gambling is legal. For sure, foreigners from any country are permitted to use online gambling sites while residing within the boundaries of the UK. Note: US players are still restricted from using UK websites while residing in the US.
In the US, current laws permit only US residents to use online gambling websites. Furthermore, residents of a particular state are only allowed to gamble in another state if they are actually physically located in that state at the time of placing wagers.
With the online gambling industry experiencing growth, current laws are bound to change from one year to the next. In the future, it’s possible online gambling regulators will dispose of boundaries between nations that permit its resident to gamble online.