Gambling Addiction – Light vs Heavily Regulated Markets


The online gambling sector has been in a boom in recent years in many parts of the world. With technology evolving at a rapid pace, the quality and quantity of casino games online have never been better. The accessibility has also never been greater, as most people walk around with a mobile phone that has tremendous computing power.

Many countries are realizing the massive potential that exists by having favorable online gambling laws. Many different approaches are taken to online gambling regulation in major markets, which is what the focus of this article will be. 

Heavily Regulated Markets – The UK and Sweden 

There are some regions that have a lot of heavy regulation in place on their gambling sectors. While the UK Gambling Commission

 (UKGC) is known for being one of the most secure regulators in the world today, some people have concerns that it is going a bit too far.

Operators with a UKGC license are increasingly being subject to more and more curtailments, such as the credit card ban, no longer allowing certain game features, and much more. Every licensee also needs to be a part of GamStop, which is a mass self-exclusion list.

With the UK government currently reviewing the region’s gambling legislation, there are big concerns that even stricter rules are going to come into place. There has been a significant exodus of gamblers from UKGC-licensed sites in recent times. According to, many people are now turning to non-GamStop casinos in order to get a greater level of freedom for their gambling.

The Swedish gambling regulator is even stricter. For a time, there were very harsh deposit limits enforced on online casino players during the COVID-19 pandemic. The regulator has also been very quick to issue fines to operators who have even minor infractions to regulations. Therefore, many people believe that the UK and Swedish authorities are just a bit too heavy-handed with their approach to gambling regulation. 

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Medium Regulated Markets – Germany and Holland 

After the heavily regulated gambling markets, you will find the regions that have a moderate level of regulation in place. These regions like Germany and the Netherlands have only recently launched a regulated market. Therefore, they have put some conservative rules in place in order to see how it goes before making alterations.

There can be some teething problems for newly regulated markets. Each region will have its own distinct challenges, which can often only be seen once the market is up and running. You can do as many research studies as you want, but there is no replacement for the real thing.

One of the interesting aspects that both the Dutch and German authorities have been focusing on is responsible gambling. There have been interesting approaches taken to exclusion lists, with the Dutch authorities working on a system that is linked to the government’s DigiD system. It will be very interesting watching to see what way these types of medium-regulated markets develop over the course of time. 

Light Regulations – MGA and Curacao 

There are some gambling regulators that you will come across that tend to have lighter regulations. There can be differing levels of light regulation.

The Malta Gaming Authority is the main gambling regulator for those European nations that do not really have their own regulatory system in place. These types of platforms that have a Malta Gaming Authority license are generally quite respectable. A bit of work is necessary in order to get the seal of approval.

However, this is not the case when you are dealing with those online gambling platforms that have a license with the government of Curaçao. This regulator doesn’t really do much at all in the way of oversight. It tends to be more of a token type of license that can give a bit of social proof to a platform as it is technically licensed.

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There definitely needs to be a careful approach taken before diving headfirst into a platform that has a Curaçao gambling license. You want to do your homework and see what sort of track record and reputation the operator has before creating an account. This could potentially save you from a sticky situation. 

Unregulated Markets 

Finally, there are some completely unregulated markets. These are a type of no man’s land where online casinos operate with absolutely no oversight. This naturally is not something that most gamblers are going to be comfortable with.

There are not really many reputable online gambling sites that do not hold some sort of license. Therefore, warning bells should instantly be raised if you come across an unregulated platform. Usually, these are best avoided as they often will not be performing in an above-board manner.

Players might run into issues with getting timely withdrawals or access to fair games. There is usually too much hassle involved with using one of these types of casino sites. Therefore, you have better options to turn to. 

What Method is Right for Gamblers? 

There are definitely pros and cons associated with each type of gambling regulation. For the stricter regulators, players will have access to a great level of protection but will sacrifice having expansive types of games and unrestricted payment options.

Medium-regulated markets are often still finding their feet before erring on one side or the other. However, they usually have reasonably fair rules in place and are open to making tweaks to regulations if something isn’t working or doesn’t make sense.

Lightly regulated platforms tend to be the most popular as they promote a great level of freedom while still having some level of oversight. Finally, those non-regulated platforms should be avoided at all costs, as you simply can’t trust them. At the end of the day, it is up to you to decide which of these options is the best fit for your needs.

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