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Casinos and bookmakers have been around as far as anyone can remember. In fact, the oldest casino in the world is in Venice. Situated on the Grand Canal is the Casino di Venezia which opened in 1638. Originally it was a theatre and when there were intermissions the patrons headed for a wing set aside for gambling. It is your guess whether the plays or the gambling were more popular but 100 years later there were more than 120 casinos just in Venice.

The first major casino didn’t happen until 1940 in the US although the first casino to open its doors was The Golden Gate Casino in Las Vegas. But, this doesn’t mean gambling only began in the US then. Gambling has been going on forever in every country in the world. It just wasn’t always legal. From the saloons of the wild west to backroom card games in Shanghai people have always liked to try their luck.

1. Ancient gambling

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It would be impossible to guess exactly who first decided to lay a wager against his fellow beings but humans have been playing games and gambling for thousands of years. The Chinese have a long and colorful history of gambling going back before the birth of Christ. Over the centuries gambling has been allowed and then banned and then allowed more than once in China alone.

2. Modern casinos

Times have changed and like everything, the gambling industry has had to adapt to modern times. There was always a certain glamour in traditional casinos. Think James Bond for instance. The tuxedo, the vodka martini, and of course the glamourous women. Those casinos will always be there, Vegas is going nowhere baby but the online casino industry is growing and growing. Evidence of that can be seen by simply looking at the performance of Covid-19 saw traditional casinos close but there was nothing to stop anyone from gambling online. Or was there?

3. Is it safe to gamble online in your country?

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There are many countries in the world where it is forbidden to gamble and if caught you could face large fines or indeed even a jail sentence. In fact, some states in the US still ban gambling and others have not yet allowed legislation for online gambling. Texas is one state where virtually all forms of gambling are illegal.

One type of gambling is often allowed in such countries and that is the government lottery. Indeed while gambling in Thailand and Laos is outlawed the lottery is perfectly legal and a very popular form of betting. In Thailand, it is illegal to even sell playing cards let alone use them for card games and gambling. In Laos the only time cards can be played is for three days following either a funeral or the birth of a child. Even backpackers playing a friendly game of cards have come afoul of the law.

Some countries that have banned gambling altogether or in some forms are: Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, North Korea, Brunei, South Africa, Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan, China, France, Poland, Luxembourg, Russia and Barbados. There are many more and some have restrictions against land-based gambling, some against online gambling and slots like a book of ra and some against all types of gambling.

4. Foreigners traveling abroad

You should always be aware of the laws in any country you visit. Most likely you will be expected to follow the laws of your guest country. Gambling is sometimes slightly different. For instance, local people may not visit a casino in Cambodia but you can. The casinos are set up for Thais, Malaysians, and Chinese to come and visit and play. Similarly, there are casinos in Laos that the local people may not go to but foreigners can. You may want to check how legitimate the casino is if you are staying in a strange border town in Cambodia. You don’t want to find yourself owing money to the local mafia.

5. The local lottery may be prohibited to foreigners

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It wouldn’t be unusual for you to be able to buy scratch cards or enter the local lottery while you are traveling or holidaying in a foreign country. However, this doesn’t mean you can claim any prizes. That friendly shopkeeper may happily take your cash for a few lines on the lottery but somewhere in the small print, it may well say that only nationals can claim any prize.

In the UK for example you would have to be a resident of the United Kingdom or The Isle of Man and also be physically present when purchasing the tickets. If you somehow obtained it online while overseas it would be invalidated. If you enter the UK lottery while living in country X then you may even be breaking local law if country X ran its own state lottery. Camelot has warned that all tickets purchased overseas will be invalidated. So even if you have a Camelot account you can only use it in the UK.

6. How is gambling online in the USA?

The legislation is changing all the time and it is possible this information could be out of date by the time you read it so do your research before you try to play online. Currently, there are 12 states that allow some form of online gambling. That is websites that are based on servers inside the state itself. Playing in casinos offshore should represent no problem but if the server was based in a state that banned online gambling then law enforcement would seek to shut them down. Let’s say for example you wanted to play a game like a book of ra, your favorite slot game but the online casino was held on a server in Texas where you reside. Texas has made online gambling illegal so therefore you would be breaking the law by trying to gamble on this game.

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The thing to take away from this is no matter where you are based or where you are traveling to or visiting you must check out the local laws there. An individual trying to play online in the US is probably not going to get into too much trouble but attending an illegal card game in Thailand could see you losing your holiday money and maybe seeing the inside of a Thai prison cell.