A look at the legality of online casinos in Europe

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EUROPE is the biggest market for online gambling with internet outfits springing up now and then.

The industry has thousands of online platforms that serve millions of customers. With the speed that the industry keeps expanding, the question of the legality of gambling comes up often.

As with traditional gambling, online betting sites need regulation for the protection of the consumer and the market.


In many cases, the EU passes legislation that applies to member states because the region is considered a single state. However, the EU gave nations the freedom to create individual regulations for the gambling sector. For this reason, the rules vary from country to country. Note that this piece does not constitute legal advice.

Gambling jurisdictions

Even with European nations crafting their regulations on how online casinos must operate, a few jurisdictions exist in the region.

These independent agencies are responsible for licensing and regulating online casinos, giving consumers peace of mind when gambling. They include Malta Gaming Authority, Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner, Alderney Gambling Control Commission, UK Gambling Commission and Gambling Supervision Commission (Isle of Man).

A casino with a license from one of these that you can find on bodies like CasinoWings.com instills trust in consumers because there is an independent authority that ensures fair play.

Regulation in different regions

European countries have different types of licenses for gambling outfits. Open licensing grants a license to an online casino as long as it abides by certain licensing requirements. Malta and the UK are some jurisdictions that practice this type of licensing. In a state monopoly, only one government-owned outfit gets licenses like in Norway, Switzerland, and Poland. With restricted licensing, the number of licenses issued to gaming companies is limited.

Portugal, France, Italy, and Spain have established clear regulations for internet gambling. A big disadvantage for legalised casinos is the high tax rate. Players are also restricted to their regions, which reduces available gambling alternatives.

The UK is one of the European regions with very liberal online gambling laws. In 2005, the UK passed the Gaming Act, which was the first set of rules that incorporated online betting.

Germany has some of the strictest and muddled regulations for the online gambling sector. Initially, only horse race betting was permitted while the state had a monopoly on everything else. A few changes over time have made it possible for private companies to offer internet gambling services.

The future of gambling regulation

As online gambling continues to grow, it is inevitable that laws will evolve to accommodate the changing environment.

It is expected that some countries like Germany will amend their regulations to be friendlier to online betting. Some regions have regulations for specific games but not others. Over time, the sector may see more games getting legalised, offering more options for players.

The EU doesn’t have uniform gambling laws for member states. Different European countries have developed legal frameworks that online gambling outfits that operate in their territories must abide by. These regulations ensure that internet betting platforms implement the necessary protections for customers. Players must check that an online casino has licensing to operate in a particular region before using it.


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