Is offshore gambling harmful? See experts’ opinions on the matter



Gambling activities have always been popular among all sorts of people, from young college graduates to retirees. The good part is that there are so many options when it comes to gambling that almost everyone can find something to their liking.

With the Internet boom of the last decade and smartphones and fast internet connections becoming the norm, gambling as we knew it in the 90s or the early 00s has also changed. Nowadays, online gambling platforms offer innovative and diverse services, ranging from classic games, like roulette or poker, to variations of those games, like Spanish 21 or Texas Hold’em.

Online gambling websites and apps not only offer the possibility to play casino games but also give their clients the opportunity to participate in live games, similar to those in land-based casinos, or place bets in sports or esports events.

The good news is that everyone can now find legit operators and online casinos, especially those in the Americas, Europe, or Australia. There are many online casinos and gambling companies that offer quality services to their clients, and not only that.

Legitimate operators ensure that personal and banking data are kept safe, and they have to provide fairness regarding every game they sell or organize. What’s more, licensed companies have to adhere to strict regulations when it comes to protecting players from gambling addiction and preventing illegal activities like money laundering. To put it simply, legitimate casinos are most often than not entirely safe.

What is offshore gambling?

What is not a completely safe experience is offshore gambling. Any online casino-related activities, including playing casino games, placing bets on sports or horse races, or participating in live games on an unlicensed platform, are actually offshore gambling.

So, if you are, let’s say, a UK citizen based in the UK, and you’d like to play online poker. Still, you choose a shady website with no valid license from the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, which offers no security measures and guarantees for its clients. Then, you’re most likely choosing offshore gambling.

Offshore gambling can be legal or illegal depending on each country or state’s policies regarding this type of activity. Yet, it’s never a good idea if you care about your safety when you’re online.

What do experts have to say about offshore gambling?

Offshore gambling has concerned both officials and researchers, and they have been interested both in its impact on the economy and on its impact on consumers.

A study published in 2017 in SAGE Journals aimed to analyze the impact offshore gambling has on Australian customers compared to regulated gambling platforms. The study results implicated that over 25% percent of the respondents engaged in offshore gambling activities and were more likely to develop severe gambling problems than respondents who accessed legitimate gambling operators’ services.

The study’s results showed a direct correlation between the protective measures ensured by legitimate online casinos and the decrease in its customers’ risk of developing severe gambling problems.

Not only do researchers worry about offshore gambling but also do those who have closely seen its effects. For example, in the US, Ben Miller, the director of the American Gaming Association, has even published a letter in the Wall Street Journal, where he addresses the offshore gambling problem.

Ben Miller bluntly addresses the situation to expose why unlicensed gaming affects the industry, the state, and the clients, suggesting that the only proper way to gamble online is by choosing a legitimate operator.

Choose a safe option

Each country requires online casinos to obtain a license if they want to function legally in their territory. That happens for numerous reasons, including paying taxes, ensuring clients’ rights are respected, keeping their data safe, and preventing criminal activities like money laundering.

When you access an online gambling platform, you should be able to see its license on the first page of the website or app. Only legal online casinos will apply this practice, so you don’t need to worry about being scammed.

Offshore gambling is never a good idea if you want to ensure your data and money are always safe online. Remember to check for the operator’s license before creating an account to put your safety first.


Gainsbury, S. M., Russell, A. M., Hing, N., & Blaszczynski, A. (2018). Consumer engagement with and perceptions of offshore online gambling sites. New Media & Society, 20(8), 2990–3010.
Opinion | the two types of gambling in America (2022) The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company. Available at: (Accessed: November 3, 2022).

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