Europe is a rather complex continent when it comes to gambling legislation because of the sheer variance and diversity of the region. There isn’t a single specific piece of legislation within the European Union that serves as blanket legislation for the countries. Rather, the countries in Europe have a very autonomous and independent approach to regulating their gambling practices within their specific jurisdictions. For the most part, European countries allow their citizens to access gambling games on the internet. Some countries allow almost any kind of casino game while other nations will be more specific such as only allowing sports betting, poker, or slot games. However, more and more European countries have reputable licensing bodies that grant the rights to operators to establish themselves on the market. In this article, we are going to go over how different European countries approach their gambling laws and how they differ from one another.
In Spain, the most powerful body when it comes to gambling regulation is the Direccion General de Ordenacion del Juego (DGOJ). This roughly translates to the Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling and is a part of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs. The DGOJ is largely responsible for regulating digital or online casino platforms. This can include various styles of casino games such as slots, roulette, blackjack, and poker. This is also the body that is responsible for regulating sports betting and bingo games in a digital format. However, when it comes to land-based regulation, Spain allows all of its autonomous regions to establish their own individual gambling laws and regulations.
In Italy, all activities involving sports betting, card games, lotteries, and other casino games are legal. But Italy has a very unique approach when it comes to gambling legislation and licensing in the sense that it does so in local capacities. In Italy’s 2020 Budget Law, the government accounted for 40 licenses to be available for application for any prospective online gambling operators. These licenses were made available at a starting price of 2.5 million Euros apiece. Any operators who are licensed in European Economic Area member states are able to apply for the license. Italy places more power and autonomy on local governments in order to regulate gambling in the country.
Finland might serve as one of the best examples of the gold standard for European countries when it comes to a more progressive and liberal approach to gambling regulation. In Finland, land-based casinos are present all throughout the country and are regulated by dedicated governing bodies. In that sense, it functions a lot like gambling commissions in popular places like Nevada or Macau. The nettikasinot , which is the local term for online casinos, is also a thriving industry in the country. While the licensing laws for operators in Finland tend to be strict, it has come to produce one of the most prominent gambling regions in the world.
In Romania, there are different pieces of gambling legislation that make up an entire system of regulation for the entire country. Most of the gambling activity that takes place in the country is overseen by the National Gambling Office. According to its laws, the National Gambling Office is tasked with regulating and granting licenses and authorizations to gambling operators. The body is composed of members of the central public administration and serves as a subordinate to the Romanian government. When it comes to its licensing, only operators that are based within the European Union, Swiss Confederation, or the European Economic Area are deemed as viable for applying for a Class 1 license. Romania allows for the practice of almost all mainstream gambling activities including poker, sports betting, casino games (slots), and more in both online and land-based forms.
In Europe, there seems to be a shifting trend towards having more lenient and progressive gambling legislation in various countries. This is especially prevalent in the countries that were talked about in this article along with other outliers like the United Kingdom, Sweden, and the Netherlands. Greece is another very notable country that’s worth paying attention to as it seeks to revamp its internal policies and regulations surrounding gambling. They have had a gambling regulation law in practice since 2011 and it looks like the country is going to actively propagate its online gambling market in an attempt to stay modern and relevant with its regulations.