For centuries, gambling has been a major part of European culture and with technological advances, online gambling has become a major, multi-billion- dollar industry in Europe. In recent times, the European Union has enacted many common policies to govern the Single Market, however individual countries are still ultimately accountable for regulating their own betting industries. Currently, there is no single standardizing body which monitors the gambling industry in Europe.
In the United Kingdom, the Gambling Commission is responsible for the gaming industry, and the 2005 Gambling Act granted the Commission legislative powers to regulate and control all online and remote betting activity in the UK. This legislation included the necessity for all UK online casinos to be officially licensed by the commission. The UK’s method of gambling regulation has been noted for its efficiency and professionalism, and its strong emphasis on players’ protection. Additionally, it’s important to mention that the UK is the most open and free gambling industry among all European nations.
The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) is the main association which represents the leading privately-owned European online betting and gaming operators. The EU licensed it, and it currently represents seven private companies and three trade associations. Its long-term goals are to establish safe, practical, and reliable digital environment which ensures the safety of players and providers, whilst still adhering to both local and continental regulations.
France, Spain, Germany and Italy each have their own gambling regulatory bodies.
France, for example – inventor of roulette and other casino games, is home to the largest gambling market in all of Europe – their Monte Carlo principality and southern France in general, is world-famous. In 2010, France established the French Regulatory Authority for Online Games |(ARJEL), which legalized poker, sports betting and horse race betting.
Spain is regulated by the General Directorate for the Regulation of Gambling Activities, who guide authorities in each of Spain’s 17 regions on how to supervise betting activities. Most online forms of betting are legal, including sports betting, casino games, poker, bingo and slots.
Tricky to understand for both online operators and their players, the regulations in Germany are in a state of flux when it comes to gambling. Initially, all online gambling (and horse racing) were banned. Then, Germany decided to formally make gambling illegal, between 2008-2012. During this time, however, the state of Schleswig-Holstein chose to legalize online gambling, which flew in the face of the above legislation, a situation which holds until today. Schleswig-Holstein has pretty much created a situation where it allows online gaming operators – foreign and domestic – to offer their services in a country where it’s banned outright. Needless to say, the future of online gambling in Germany is uncertain.
Italian gambling goes way back to the days of the Roman Empire, where the first proto-casinos were established in Venice. Interestingly, Italian laws distinguish between what they term as games of ‘luck’ and games of ‘skill’. Therefore, games of ‘skill’ – sports betting and related activities, state lotteries and more – are legal and regulated by the Autonomous Administration of State Monopolies (AAMS). Games of ‘luck’ such as baccarat, thought to have been invented in Italy, have long been associated with criminal activity, and so have been forbidden until recently. However, Italian legislation relaxed back in 2006, following pressure from the European Union, and now Italy has slowly begun to open its online gambling market to include ‘luck’-based casino games.
Source: DNH PR