European online gambling fans will be delighted to know that 2019 is a year of big regulatory changes. These changes will open up the market and make it even safer for gamers.
Europe as a whole is a thriving online gambling market. The The European Union does not adopt any central legislation on gambling. It is up to the Member States to create and regulate their own online gambling markets.
This has led to the creation of a patchwork of laws across different nations. But generally the outlook for online gambling is very positive and liberal. It’s hard to find a nation that bans all forms of online gambling and most countries allow at least one form of betting.
The legalization of online gambling in Europe has occurred over the past two decades. Gradual progress has been made, with a growing number of countries easing controls on online casinos and sports betting.
How is this trend evolving as we go through the first half of 2019? Perhaps a quick glance at the recent changes in online gambling laws across Europe will give us an idea:
Sweden fights for better regulations and licensing
Among the Nordic countries, Sweden stands out as one of the best authorized and regulated markets. In January 2019, the government improved existing legislation to strengthen controls over the online gambling industry.
Under the new laws, online casino operators are required to obtain a license from the Swedish gambling authorities to continue operating in the country. These licenses are not cheap and cost up to 78,000 euros.
The biggest changes will be felt in the casino bonus section. Online casinos will no longer be able to offer many bonuses with wagering requirements. The law limits casinos to a single welcome bonus. They can offer free spins, but without any conditions.
They also have fairly strict provisions regarding player protection, fair gaming, and online safety. While not exactly great news for casinos, the new regulations will allow Swedish players to enjoy a better online gaming experience. In the long term, these changes will serve to strengthen the online gambling market in the country.
The Czech Republic opens its borders to foreign operators
In a huge boost to the local market and players, the Czech government has finally decided to remove restrictions on offshore casino operators. The country already has a huge appetite for land-based casinos and slot machines.
Now, with the radical restructuring of the laws, experts believe that there is enormous potential for growth in the Czech Republic for online casinos. The online market is still much smaller here than land-based casinos, but that could change in the near future.
Under the new rules, operators from other EU countries can apply for a license and serve Czech players. The country has already put in place very strict measures to protect players and prevent problem gambling. These provisions will be further strengthened under the 2019 law.
Italy relaxes position on online gambling ads
Online casinos were hit hard in Italy in 2018 when the country enacted a general ban on all forms of gambling advertising. In accordance with the original law, the following promotional methods were prohibited:
- Promotional SMS
- Online banners
- Sports sponsorship
- Media announcements
- Branded products
- Social media influencers
But in a 2019 update to the AGCOM telecommunications watchdog, a few restrictions were slightly lifted or changed. Now, online casinos can reach their customers in the following ways:
- Use indexing services for better SEO and better page ranking
- Promote charities and other positive initiatives (without brand logos or gambling incentives)
- Affiliates with limited capabilities (information only, no active marketing)
These stages offer a certain respite for both operators and actors in Italy. A blanket ban would only have done more harm to players. Without proper ads directing them to legal sites, they could easily end up in illegal online casinos.
Germany follows in the footsteps of the United States in sports betting
In a rare case, the generally conservative United States gained an advantage over its more liberal allies across the Atlantic. In 2018, the United States Supreme Court effectively legalized sports betting across the country.
In the meantime, Germany adopted the third state gambling treaty in 2019. Under the new rules, operators can apply for sports betting licenses, which was not previously allowed. In Germany, all individual states follow the Gambling Treaty, with the exception of Schleswig Holstein, which, like Nevada, was allowed to have a more liberal regime.
The new rules are a temporary measure valid until 2021, which is the expected year for large-scale changes to gambling laws in Germany. In two years, the country will develop more liberal gambling laws, removing limits on the number of licensed operators and other reforms that will align the whole country with the gambling regulatory model of the United States. Schleswig Holstein.
UK will continue to monitor industry more closely
Although potentially not in the EU for long, thanks to the Brexit mess, they remain one of the largest and best regulated markets in the world for online betting. Any change can have huge repercussions for the entire industry.
Over the past few years we have witnessed several crackdowns on gambling in the UK, with the Gambling Commission tackling issues such as player verification, bonuses and wagering requirements. Controls have also been placed on gambling advertisements.
Now parties are trying to push for new restrictions to help prevent gambling addiction and protect UK gamers from the negative effects of unrestricted gambling. The proposals include a cap on the amount players can bet online and measures to force casinos to perform “affordability checks” on new customers.
What this means for gambling in the European Union
The biggest nations are all pushing for increased oversight and regulation of online gambling. Throughout the common market, the emphasis is on the protection of players. In tight markets, there is a clear trend towards legalization, accompanied by better rules. NoDepositRewards is your go-to place if you want to play at regulated no deposit casinos
Positive changes are also underway in smaller countries like Belarus and Slovenia, where there are plans to remove existing restrictions. All of this bodes well if you are a player residing in the European Union. Things were already tolerable, but they’re about to get a lot better!