Elsewhere on the site we’ve looked at whether you can place bets with your UK-based bookmaker when you’re out of the country on holiday or abroad. The next obvious question after that is whether you’re able to register online with a foreign betting company when you’re abroad.
The short answer to that is this is normally something that is restricted to residents only. There are however options still available such as betting in shops, land-based casinos and registered premises if these are available.
As we noted in the other piece, the only way of betting with a UK company online that isn’t licensed in the country you’re in is by using a VPN, but this contravenes your terms with most betting sites. As a result, you may wish to register with a local betting company but will struggle to do so if you don’t have a permanent address there.
This isn’t a universal rule, there are many unscrupulous gambling sites that will accept customers from anywhere with little checks. These are however highly unsafe and often linked to criminal activity, therefore on this page we are talking about betting abroad with legitimate companies that are allowed to operate in a given country.
Registering With A Foreign Bookie
It is estimated that around a third of British expats live in either Australia or New Zealand, with about 28% being based in the United States of America and Canada and about 26% living in the European Union. Living in one of those countries will mean that those people have a permanent address that isn’t a hotel, allowing them to register with their betting licensed betting companies (where they allow gambling online).
The issue arrives for people who are only holidaying in a country and therefore don’t have any sort of permanent address. If you try to register with your hotel’s address you’ll almost always find that it isn’t allowed, whilst ‘borrowing’ an address from someone you know that lives in there country will also be difficult given you won’t be able to verify that address, not to mention the fact it is fraudulent.
When you open a betting account you have to give your address as well as banking details. The latter will usually require you to give the address that your bank is registered to and that will obviously be in the United Kingdom. This is where most people have trouble registering with a foreign bookmaker and placing bets with them.
Even if you are able to register with a site in another jurisdiction you will likely have to play in the local currency, if you are therefore linking a UK bank account or eWallet in GBP then you will be liable for exchange fees. If you are an expat in that country you will likely have a bank account in the local currency that you can use, if not it is worth getting one if you plan to gamble online.
There is also the obvious risk that if you knowingly register for an account when you shouldn’t and you are found out you could end up forfeiting any winnings you make.
Use Companies That Are Licensed Where You Are
One of the easiest ways of being able to place bets when abroad is by using a company that has a licence both where you find yourself and in the United Kingdom. William Hill is a good example of a bookmaker that has licences all over the world, meaning that you shouldn’t have much of a problem registering with their foreign companies if you have a corresponding registered address in that country.
If you have an account with them in the UK then it’s entirely possible that you’ll be able to login to your main account via the Spanish website when in Spain, as an example, and place bets legally.
If William Hill aren’t registered in the country that you find yourself in, however, then you might wish to find alternative ways of placing bets.
Betting In Person
Another way of getting around the restrictions put in place on bookmakers when it comes to foreigners not being allowed to register an account unless they have a permanent address is to place bets in person. Whilst the online restrictions are in place in order to stop people money laundering, the same isn’t the case in person.
That’s not to say that there isn’t a desire to stop money laundering in physical bookmaker’s shops, it’s just that most people who are only placing relatively small bets won’t be subject to the same scrutiny as those betting with huge amounts of money. As a result, you could walk into a bookmaker’s in a foreign country and place a bet without a problem.
In Las Vegas, for example, sports books are common in most casinos and can be used by people that are visiting the venue, even if they’re not staying in one of the hotels. It’s the same as wanting to place a wager on the roulette wheel or when playing blackjack, with the only difference being the thing that you’re betting on.
If you’ve found a market that you wish to bet on when you’re in a country on holiday then there’s unlikely to be an issue with placing that bet in a physical betting shop. The process might be different to how you place a bet at home, but doubtless someone will explain it to you or you can watch what a local does.
It is worth pointing out however that most countries are not as in love with gambling as the UK is and so don’t expect to necessarily find a bookmaker shop on every high street like at home.
Beware Tax Implications
Betting with a local bookmaker when you’re abroad is all well and good, but do be aware that in doing so you’ll leave yourself open to that country’s tax laws. In the United Kingdom there is no tax owed on winnings because UK-facing companies have to pay what is known as Point Of Consumption tax, but the same isn’t true elsewhere.
Sticking with Las Vegas, for example, you’re unlikely to be pulled up if you win a small amount on the roulette or blackjack table, but if you hit the jackpot on an electronic machine then you can expect the casino’s management to come over to you and ask for your details as a levy might well be due on the payment.
Most of the time this will be dealt with by the companies that you’re betting with, so you don’t really need to worry. Being worried and being aware are two different things, however, and it’s always handy to have an idea of what’s going on with your money. We’ve covered tax implications in more detail elsewhere on the site, so have a read of that page.