VANCOUVER, Canada -- People are going to find ways to gamble no matter what kind of laws are put into place. This has been proven over and over again throughout history, but sometimes it can seem like politicians are the only ones not paying attention. If you look at the differences between the regulations for online gambling between Canada, the United States and the Caribbean, then you can really see the difference that an attitude towards human free will makes.
Let's start with the Caribbean. For the most part, there are very relaxed regulations about the industry here. Companies are allowed to form, be licensed and operate all types of games. There are a lot of major companies that are licensed in this area because it's one of the most well-known jurisdictions in the world for the licensing process itself. Overall, the Caribbean is a good model for what an open market for online gambling looks like, and other countries could learn a lot from what they've got going on.
If you shift your look towards Canada, you start to see a slightly different picture. Instead of a pro-economic growth objective like what you have in the Caribbean, you have an industry that's largely being used to generate revenue for the government. Along these lines, each of the provinces have free reign, more or less, to handle online gambling however they want. The key difference here is that things are a bit more restricted because no licenses are given out to foreign companies. Instead, the government tries to maintain a monopoly on gambling through electronic channels. They're starting to find out that this approach isn't getting them the revenues that they want, however, and they may shift over to a more open policy in the coming years. You can read more about this at Grizzly Gambling
The United States is a completely different story than either Canada or the Caribbean. What you have in the United States is an attitude towards prohibiting all forms of online gambling, even if that's not what's legally binding at this point. Interpretations of federal laws making all forms of online gambling illegal have only recently been overturned, and this has led individual states to start trying to regulate online gambling within their borders.
Even with this happening, there are some major problems. First, each of the 50 states has its own rules regarding gambling in general, and only a handful have any sort of legislation about gambling via electronic means like mobile or the Internet. Along these lines, there is a ton of gray area when it comes to how intrastate online gambling would work in the first place. In the future, it's looking like things will be very tightly regulated in the future as more states look to expand into regulating online games.
Overall, there are really only three major ways that legalized online gambling can go. The Caribbean is one way with a very open atmosphere, while Canada is another way with a government-controlled attempt at a monopoly. If the United States keeps heading the way they have been, then they will represent the third possible approach, which is to have the states regulate the games on a strict basis while avoiding the pitfalls of trying to reinvent the wheel by offering their own online gambling games.