Gambling Regulations Changing in All Across Europe

  • 2022-02-24

Europe as a region is typically seen as a unified set of countries in which political and environmental issues are handled in a similar manner across the continent. Even though there really is economic significance in this area, especially in the European Union, each country can have their own legislation. This applies to igaming sector as well.

What this means for igaming companies in Europe is that there’s different laws affecting the business operations in each country. Some markets are very similar to another and others have major differences which can impact on how ideal the market appears in the companies’ strategies in the first place.

Casino Bonuses Banned in Finland

A typical Finnish player enjoys an offer, such as 200% talletusbonus (deposit bonus in English) like any other, but due to the very strict gambling policies the players are not getting any types of promotional gifts from the state-owned monopoly, Veikkaus.

On the other hand there are plenty of online casinos operating from Europe that are still offering their services to the Finns, which means that by choosing another site than the monopoly one, Finnish players can get their hands on bonuses after all.

In the future the gambling scenery will start to look a lot different in Finland than it is at the moment. The government and the parliament have decided that in 2023, special payment blocks will start preventing Finnish players from transferring money to foreign casinos. This is a way to strengthen the monopoly position for Veikkaus, which has been deteriorating over the past few years due to worse game selection and various other reasons.

Starting from 2023 the latest, there will be a black list of gaming operators that are breaking the rules stated in the Lottery Act. If a gaming company is blacklisted, players cannot continue transferring money to their sites, because payment service providers (mainly Finnish banks) will immediately block those.

The list itself will have already been gathered during 2022, which means that many of the most recognized online casino operators have already stopped from offering their services to Finnish clients. You can read more about the Finnish gambling laws here.

Sweden Offers Licenses

In Sweden the legislation regarding online gambling was for many years similar to what it is now in Finland. Government-run Svenska Spel (Swedish Games in English) was the only official instance that could offer igaming services in the country. Similar to Finland, Swedish players started to play more at foreign online casinos which meant that the government was quickly getting less money in taxes for instance.

Sweden took another direction than Finland did. The country decided to remove the monopoly system and replace it with a licensing system, known from various other European countries.

Today, Swedish players are having more options and in addition, they are still able to get their hands on bonuses, with certain restrictions though.

United Kingdom Fines Easily

Gambling online in the United Kingdom is, just as in Finland and Sweden, legal. The United Kingdom Gambling Commission, however, is one of the strictest gambling authorities in Europe. This means that the number of online casinos in the markets is smaller than for instance in some other European countries.

If the online casino companies are not following the guidelines and orders, they can be expecting heavy fines. The most recent change for the UK markets appears to be Brexit. It changed things at least from other countries outside the EU: now it is not clear whether the winnings from the UK casinos are taxable in other areas as well.

Other Countries

Gambling regulations in Spain have been going through various changes in the past. The Spanish citizens are currently able to bet and play at all such sites that are licensed by the Spanish National Gaming Commission.

In France, there are multiple bodies regulating the gambling markets. There are for instance different sets of regulations for lotteries and for horse racing. France is in fact one of the more complex markets and due to that, not that ideal for foreign online casino companies.

Not all countries are as regulated as the ones discussed in this article. In Italy, for instance, the gambling regulations are fairly liberal. The latest changes in the legislation within this market area was seen back in 2016, when multiple amendments took place. Currently, Italian players have many online casinos to choose from.