Online bingo is still legal in most countries around the world. Even in countries where legislation has restricted online gambling of all sorts, enforcement agencies often target the providers of such services rather than the actual players. In Australia, online gambling was restricted in 2001 with the passing of the Interactive Gamin Act. This law was passed to protect citizens from the dangers of gambling addiction, which is especially potent online. However, the law targets interactive gaming providers and website administrators rather than those who play the games. This means that consumers in Australia can often still play online bingo and other varieties of games.
In the United States, online gambling is strictly prohibited under the Federal Wire Act, but the specifics of the legislation are still being debated in many courts. While online bingo is generally regarded as an exception to this legislation, there are 11 states in the U.S. that have effectively banned it as well. Still, even in areas of the country where online bingo is prohibited, laws are worded to target service providers and businesses rather than actual players. While the U.S. government has ordered search engine companies to pull online gambling sites from the indexes, online bingo sites remain indexed and easily accessible to players.
In 2007, Antigua and Barbuda filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization regarding efforts of the United States government to thwart online gambling operations worldwide. The WTO ruled later that year that the U.S. had not violated any trade agreements in their actions.
In France, online gambling of many types are legal, but are regulated and taxed by the government. This often has little effect on players, but can have a substantial impact on businesses who operate online bingo sites within the country. Online gambling is also banned in Canada, but it is unclear whether exceptions are made for online bingo.
In India, online gambling is explicitly banned in the state of Maharashta, but is often allowed elsewhere throughout the country. In Israel, the Israel Gambling Law bars all types of gambling. When the law was enacted, it did not explicitly include online gambling operations. However, in 2005, the Attorney General shut down a number of online gambling sites in the region. An exception was made for the site “Play 65,” due to special circumstance that surrounded the business. In both Israel and India, it is still unclear whether legislation also extends to online bingo.
In Russia, online gambling of all types has been banned since December of 2006, but players can often still access free online bingo games. In the UK, bingo is a very popular pastime, and online bingo is neither barred nor restricted. The UK currently does not have any laws regarding online gambling, but the activity is restricted in most countries of the European Union.
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