Which EU countries have introduced online gaming licenses?
There are gambling licenses in many EU countries, but there are also many differences between Member States. Some regions have far-reaching, detailed legislation that has been in place for some years, covering just about everything, while other regulations are still in their infancy and the authorities are catching up.
EU laws complicate the location of casinos
It is quite a difficult situation, with a constant struggle between compliance with EU law and the satisfaction of each government’s needs. As stated on the European Commission’s website, “there is no sector specific EU legislation on gaming services”, it is also noted that “operators licensed in one or more EU countries offer gambling services in other countries without the normally required authorization can”.
These countries have already introduced licenses
The UK Gambling Commission was established as part of the government’s Gambling Act 2005 with the aim of overseeing the vast majority of bets in the UK. Since 2014, the country has become a regulated market, ensuring that every online casino that wanted to host British players had to acquire a license. Previously, any other license from an EU member state was allowed.
Next comes Malta – the small Mediterranean island that has become a kind of iGaming hub in recent years due to the sheer number of online casino companies. Founded in 2001, it is one of the oldest gaming licenses an online casino can purchase and is widely recognized in the industry.
We have already mentioned, through the EU, that an EU gaming license can often be used to attract players from other countries, and the Maltese Gaming Authority’s certification embodies this concept.
Unfortunately, not every country has made getting online gaming licenses easy. There is certainly no better example than Africa, which decided to regulate the industry only after a ruling by the European Court of Justice. There followed a country-specific regulation based in Schleswig-Holstein, although there were doubts as to whether this could be extended to the rest of the country.
Similar to the UK, Spain requires that anyone doing business is licensed. This directive came into effect in the course of 2012, but only recently (around the 2015 mark) has the market really started to grow and expand its wings.
Online slots have been added at a later date, but they have now become an important part of the Spanish online game. Casino activity in general was heralded as the region’s success story after poker’s initial earnings were not nearly as popular.
The EU countries that want to introduce online gaming licenses.
While the above countries have reasonably implemented a regulated online casino market (despite the different rates of success), there are others just getting to the concept.
One country that has recently seen some movement towards online gambling regulation is Sweden, which has declared Svenska Spel’s monopoly over since 1997. You can probably look forward to more competition in Scandinavia soon.
Another region that wants to do the same is the Netherlands – although they were much more aggressive in dealing with foreign suppliers. They consider any online gambling website with the .nl domain illegal for their residents, with little headroom until they introduce their new license.
The Dutch long-distance law will endeavor to enforce this, although it has been incredibly frustrating for Dutch players in recent years as laws have been delayed and progress has been slow.