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Online Casinos in Europe

Written by:
Payton
Published on:
Aug/12/2019

The market for online casino in Europe continues to grow and evolve year on year.

The industry in this region is a dynamic one, with frequent upgrades to the regulation and legislation surrounding online casino use in the various jurisdictions. 

In this article we will give an overview of the current state of online casino in Europe, including the differences between markets and some updates on the biggest recent legislative changes.  

Online Casino is a Major Industry in Europe

Globally, online casino is starting to account for the lion’s share of gambling revenue, and the growth shows no sign of slowing down. The latest figures show that Europe is the most profitable market in this sector, pulling in more than fifty percent of worldwide online casino income and growing on average ten percent year on year. 

Gross revenue from online casino in Europe is estimated to reach almost €25 billion by 2020, which includes online sports betting, casino games and online lotteries. The recent legalisation of sports betting in some states in the USA has allowed European companies to expand their reach. 

Due to the rapid growth in popularity of online gambling, authorities in Europe are keen to keep abreast of the changing landscape. Different countries take their own approach to online gambling regulation, with some being slower than others to introduce legislation.

Sweden – New Casino online Regulations

One of the biggest changes to the regulation of online casino in Europe in 2019 happened in the largest Scandinavian market. At the start of the year, Swedish authorities ended the state monopoly and opened up the country to licensed foreign operators. This liberalisation of the market is seen by many as long overdue, as revenue from unregulated gambling services had been rising rapidly. 

Home to some of the biggest names and innovators in the industry, Sweden is already a global leader online casino as its called locally, and this move will further strengthen their position. Regulating the market like this will generate a huge amount of tax revenue for the government, and may encourage other countries with a state monopoly to follow suit.

 

  • ¨It is a healthy way of moving forward for the whole industry and a good way to protect the players from irresponsible gambling habits¨ Says Tomas who is one of the authors at Casinopiloten.se which is one of the biggest online casino guides In Sweden.

Regulated Markets

Without an overarching EU policy regarding how online casino in Europe is regulated, each country has been left to implement legislation individually. However, the EU does require all licensed online casinos to comply with know your customer (KYC) requirements – in other words, proper identification of all players – and anti-money laundering procedures. 

The UK is widely considered to be the most well-regulated market for online casino in Europe. The legislation started back in 2005 with the Gaming Act that included online casinos. The UK has an open licensing system, which means that anyone can apply for a license to operate in the country and it will be granted provided they meet certain stringent criteria. This leaves very little space in the market for unlicensed casinos. 

Other well-regulated markets include Spain, Portugal and Italy, although some of these countries have been criticised for levying high tax rates on gambling revenue. One sign of a market with good regulation is when the major operators have a presence in the country – Romania is a good example, since introducing its legislation in 2015.

Unregulated Markets

Almost all European countries have some kind of regulation, but the way in which they are applied has a big impact on what players are really doing. In countries such as Norway and the Netherlands, there is a state monopoly and only the sanctioned state-run gambling services are legal. 

However, the authorities do not in practice stop players from using technically illegal online casinos operating from another jurisdiction. This leads to a so-called grey market, with operators offering their services to players in this region and the authorities turning a blind eye to the activities. Instead, the casinos are using a MGA license to come around the law. 

 

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