Regulated vs. Unregulated Online Gambling and Casino Sites

By Casinogurus

Regulated vs. Unregulated Online Gambling Sites

May 26, 2021 | 1720 Views

Unregulated online gambling sites have survived for over a quarter-century. They’ve served gamblers in the lack of legal gambling sites. Over the past decade, though, more countries and states have taken it upon themselves to regulate mobile gambling. Now, the industry emphasizes a more even mixture of unregulated and licensed operators. This situation creates some uncertainty between regulated and unregulated gambling websites. If you’re wondering about the significant differences between them, then you can see how unregulated and regulated sites vary below.

Unregulated Gambling Sites Operate in Gray Markets

Some countries and states haven’t bothered to take a stance on mobile gambling. As a result, they are recognized as gray markets. These jurisdictions haven’t technically approved real money online gambling across the board. On the other hand, they haven’t banned it either. It’s important to know that just because a casino functions in a gray market doesn’t mean that we can’t trust it.

Regulated Gambling Sites Operate in Legal Markets

Many states and countries have legalized online gambling. The same authorities require operators to obtain licenses. In New Jersey, for example, any proposed operator must send an application to the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE). Assuming the DGE allows them, the site will offer its services to New Jersey residents. Most operators that serve regulated jurisdictions don’t concurrently provide gambling to gray markets. Instead, they only make a trade where they can get a license.

Unregulated Operators Obtain Licensing Where They’re Based

A common misunderstanding about unregulated gambling sites is that they’re entirely unlicensed. This may be true in few cases; most unregulated operators hold a license where they operate. The owners don’t want to risk being caught when setting up a shop where they’re not authorized to do so. They usually gain licensing in a jurisdiction like Curacao or Costa Rica. Both countries allow licensed online gambling sites to operate within their boundaries. They’re also cool with licensees serving gray markets.

Regulated Operators Get Licensing in the Markets They Serve

Regulated online casinos, sportsbooks, and poker sites don’t like serving gray jurisdictions. They decide to remain legal at all costs by only dealing with authentic markets. For, e.g., an established mobile sportsbook like William Hill will serve needs in California and Ohio. Alternatively, they’ll get licenses in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, etc. By doing so, regulated operators remove any chance of running into legal trouble down the road. They also protect their reputations and have a better chance of getting licensing in new jurisdictions regulating mobile gambling.

Unregulated Sites Offer Huge Bonuses

Conventional unregulated gambling sites offer massive bonuses. This is particularly true with online casinos, which can emphasize bonuses worth $1,000 or more. An ideal casino’s deposit bonus requires around 40x rollover. Specific offshore deals, though, need 50x, 60x, or even higher rollover. They may also come with more restrictions and other severe terms attached. Game restrictions relate to when certain games don’t fit to meet rollover due to high RTP.

Nonetheless, if you’re in for a deposit bonus, unregulated sites are attractive. They usually offer the industry’s most significant welcome bonuses.

Regulated Sites Feature Favorable Terms and Conditions

Legal online gambling operators may not claim $10,000 bonuses. However, they offer highly beneficial terms and conditions. As stated before, rollover at offshore sites can be harsh. Playthrough at regulated sites is the exact opposite. You usually have to wager between 1x and 20x of the bonus to open these deals. The thought of only having to play through a bonus one time was once mysterious. It’s a reality, though, with some regulated operators.

Unregulated Gambling Sites Use Common Software Providers

Unregulated operators don’t have many software providers to choose from. After all, more developers are moving to the regulated side. As a result, you’ll see the same software providers again and again at unregulated sites. About online casinos, RealTime Gaming, Rival Gaming, Betsoft, and WGS are some of the most popular providers among unregulated players. The same software providers are also big into offering solutions to their customers. It means that the developer will provide customer support, games, licensing, banking options, and potentially other services. Meanwhile, the client needs to handle the office duties, paying fees/commissions to the developer, and marketing.

Regulated Gambling Sites Use Various Providers

In contrary to offshore gambling entities, regulated sites have a much more extensive provision of software providers. They can pick from many premier providers no matter which markets they serve. Some online casino software providers include Microgaming, Big Time Gaming, Evolution Gaming, Quickspin, NetEnt, Play’n GO, and Hacksaw Gaming. The same providers are known for innovating the industry and offering the most significant progressive jackpots. They also need to get their games examined by an independent third-party lab (e.g., eCOGRA). Most of the licensing jurisdictions require such testing to put gamblers in comfort.

Unregulated Gambling Sites Accept Numerous Countries

Unregulated casinos and poker rooms aren’t too selective about who they accept. They typically take gamblers from any state or country that doesn’t pose a legal threat. For example, Georgia has never launched an arduous legal effort to punish unregulated gambling sites. Therefore, unregulated operators feel perfectly comfortable serving the Peach State. On the other hand, Kentucky once caught 141 gambling domain names. Since this event, many unregulated sites stay away from particular states.

Regulated Sites Have More Country Restrictions

Regulated sites must be more stringent on the markets they serve. The whole point of getting multiple licenses in different jurisdictions is to operate within the laws. Sites that serve regulated countries like Spain, Belgium, France, and Denmark will not change and accept players from every American state. This results in a list of local states and nations. For example, Café Casino, Slots.LV Casino and Slotocash Casino have Country restrictions.


Regulated and Unregulated mobile gambling sites have two separate ways when it comes to business. The past relies on gray markets to make revenue. Unregulated sites also encourage customers with flashy bonuses that can be worth thousands of dollars. Unregulated operators do not enjoy as many software providers to choose from and require more challenging bonus terms and conditions. Regulated gambling sites obtain licenses wherever they operate. They also feature more favorable terms and usually offer games and services from more software developers. The disadvantage is that legal sites exclude many states and nations from gambling with them. They also don’t boast as large of bonuses as offshore operators.