Welcome to the second edition of The Gambling Law Review.
Last year I said that my aim in editing this book was to try to fulfil an ambition that I had held for nearly a decade – namely to develop a structured summary of the corpus of gambling laws across a wide variety of different jurisdictions. I hoped that it would be a useful book for the busy in-house counsel seeking to understand the structure of the law in a particular country, and for the academic studying the growth and development of law, as well as a useful case study in the field of comparative law.
All such projects take time and cooperation. Last year, in our first edition, we surveyed the law of 15 different jurisdictions – enough to demonstrate a ‘proof of concept’, but still somewhat smaller than my aspirations. This year, I am pleased to say that we have 10 more chapters, covering countries as diverse as Japan, Russia and Alderney, as well as two useful overviews of the EU and the federal US positions. Of course, 22 jurisdictions and three overviews does not yet make the guide comprehensive, still less an ‘encyclopaedia’, but I think that it is clear that we are well on the way to realising our aim of compiling a valuable resource in collecting and analysing the world’s gambling laws. I am all the more pleased now that the contents will be fully available online as well as in printed form.
As always, I am extremely grateful to those busy lawyers (all lawyers are busy, but gambling lawyers more than most!) who have agreed to spend their time and effort in distilling their knowledge and experience into a chapter. Distillation is a tricky science, and I am reminded a little of the line of Blaise Pascal who, writing to his friend, apologised as follows: ‘Je n’ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n’ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte’ (‘I wrote you a long letter, because I did not have the time to write a short one’).1 It is indeed a skill to decide what one can say about a complex area of law in a short space, to be both compact and comprehensive. Generally speaking, we have tried to maintain the same form for each of the chapters in order to ensure a degree of conformity of style and subject matter – but it is true that there is such a spectrum of different approaches to gambling law, that we also have to exercise flexibility in order to make sense of the subject matter.
In selecting the territories for this review, I have sought to include a wide range of different countries across the world. The selection is based on a number of factors, including the advice of clients and practitioners, the importance of gambling activity in the jurisdiction, and even matters as simple as population and GDP. I have, I am sure, missed a number of countries that thoroughly merit inclusion. I take full responsibility for (but mean no offence by) those ommissions. I should very much like to achieve a little more coverage in Asia and Europe, as well as a foray into Africa, which would provide some welcome diversity – and I am happy to receive suggestions and volunteers.
Looking back at my preface to the first edition, I am struck very much by how far the world has changed in a single year. Writing in June 2016, I would have bet against both a Trump presidency and the British exit from the EU. Weighing up the implications of these events and shifts in public feeling is tricky: will the new US administration take a more liberal position on gambling, given that the president is a champion of individual choice (and a noted casino owner)? Will the UK’s withdrawal from the EU spell a change in Gibraltar’s status as an international gambling hub? We cannot yet know. Perhaps when we have finished the 10th edition of this work (no doubt covering by then, 50 jurisdictions) we will be able to look back across the editions as legal historians and chart how different political forces have impacted on the sector.
Before we get started, I want to express my sincere gratitude to all those who have helped bring this second edition together – contributors both old and new, for their time and commitment as well as the editorial team at The Law Reviews, for their good organisation and encouragement. Thank you all. This is very much a team effort, and I am extremely grateful to you for bringing this project to its next stage.
Squire Patton Boggs