Online Gambling in Europe
The European online gambling industry has often been characterized as a mishmash of regulations and monopolistic policies. However, under leadership of the European Commission, great progress has been made in paving the way for homogenous licensing protocols and regulations. While laws can drastically vary by country, European online gamblers have a wealth of wagering options to choose from. Larger brands with an open-door policy toward European bettors often hold multiple licenses or a single license from a reputable offshore jurisdiction.
Regulating Online Gambling in Europe
As mentioned, the European Commission has made great strides in bringing more cohesion to the European online gambling industry as a whole. Currently, there is no legislation at the EU level, other than Article 49 of the European Commission Treaty, which states that gambling is subject to free provision of services. However, due to monopolistic gambling regimes in certain EU countries, free provision is not always honored. In response to monopolistic practices, several EU member states have faced infringement cases from the European Court of Justice.
The actions of the ECJ and communication policies of the EC – which began in 2012 with the Communication Towards a Comprehensive European Framework on Online Gambling – have prompted many EU member countries to review their gambling legislation. With increasingly advanced forms of gambling now available, it is evident that national measures alone cannot provide a comprehensive regulatory landscape, but rather, only through the cooperation of EU member states can adequate protectionary measures take effect. As of December, 2015, EEA member States have signed an agreement to enhance administration cooperation with the goal of complying with EU law under National gambling regulations.
A large number of online gambling operators are licensed in jurisdictions mandating strict regulations, such as that of the UK Gambling Commission. This means that even if an operator does not hold a license for a specific European jurisdiction, they may nonetheless meet or exceed the licensing requirements in other jurisdictions. Some countries do not require additional licensing for such operators, while others may impose a separate license altogether.
Euro Casino Software
Several casino software providers meet and exceed the various regulatory standards imposed by EU member states. This is an important consideration, as European residents can very easily open accounts at online gambling sites that do not use accredited software platforms. Knowing which software providers are meeting the bar of regulatory standards can make the difference in getting a fair or rigged hand. Many players default to the UK Gambling Commission’s list of licensed software providers, although this is not exhaustive. Reputable offshore regulatory jurisdictions are also a reliable source in determining software credibility. These jurisdictions include Malta, Gibraltar, Isle of Man and Alderney.
Responsible Online Gambling
Several respected trade bodies have been instrumental in promulgating regulatory standards and free trade within the European online gambling industry, including the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), Remote Gaming Association (RGA) and compliance service provider, eCommerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance (eCOGRA).
European Online Gambling Forecasts
The Euro online gambling industry accounts for nearly half of the worldwide online gambling market, and is the largest market on its own. Of the €34.6 Billion in global online gambling gross win in 2015, the European market accounted for 47.6%. Gross gambling revenue (stakes minus winnings) are expected to increase from €16.5 Billion in 2015 to €24.9 Billion in 2020.