While it is easy to think of the EU as a united front for everything, there are some significant differences within its gambling rules, regulations and laws.
As an example, since you are free to travel within the countries in the Schengen EU member states, the UK now falls outside of that. So the entry rules are different. The same applies to the gambling rules.
While in the UK, you can play many games via mobile, and in a casino, in Sweden, you might be surprised to find a lack of land-based casinos but plenty of access to nätcasino online (their online casinos).
One of the ways that the EU keeps a cohesive structure to their gambling laws is the EGBA: The European Gaming and Betting Association. This organization was established to develop a regulated market for various online gambling enterprises wishing to deliver their services across Europe.
One of the most critical roles in policies being set and implemented in this organization, formed in Brussels in 2007, the EGBA keeps things fair and competitive.
Let's look at some of the laws surrounding gambling in various EU countries.
The rules for gambling in the Netherlands changed through the course of 2021. There was once a sole supplier of all casino games played physically - including poker and roulette. On the 1st of October 2021, the Netherlands launched their own regulated online gambling market.
Holland Casino was considered for privatization, and 4 of its locations were offered to other bidding companies. There were several issues licensed, bet365, Tombola, Play North LTD, and these were about to launch alongside Holland Casino.
The Netherlands casino and gambling market will unfold more over the coming years. They are strict and swift with issuing fines for companies offering gambling to Netherlands residents without a license.
Sweden has one of the most challenging relationships with gambling and casinos, even though their population, on the whole, seem to enjoy it. There have been multiple modifications to Sweden’s gambling laws, and they will likely change more over the coming years.
Since Sweden's domestic gambling business was a state monopoly until 2018, Swedish gamblers preferred to play at one of four licenced sites or on cruise ships.
Meanwhile, lawmakers' capacity to protect the state monopoly has weakened as the online casino business has gained momentum and become a formidable force.
In 2002 online gambling became legal in Sweden. However, there were legislations put in place to expand that market further.
Initially, it was against the law for Swedish casinos to advertise their services; however, those rules are now changed, allowing casinos (both online and off) to publicize their available games.
Both Italy and UK offer some of the most relaxed gambling and casino laws, and due to that, they have a thriving and profitable gaming market. It wasn’t until 2006 that Italy took steps to deregulate the sector, which meant that companies could offer online and in-person gambling services.
Licensees were legally permitted to offer card and casino games to consumers in 2011, resulting in substantial changes. Nowadays, Italians have a wide variety of online gambling to choose from.
The Agenzia Dogane e Monopoli di Stato oversees the appropriate conduct of online operators, preventing gambling regulation violations and avoiding fraud, corruption, and money laundering in the Italian gaming industry.
Garmany’s relationship with gambling is, at best, complicated. While many countries have simple to understand laws, Germany has seen many modifications. In 2008, legislation was enacted that effectively barred all forms of online gambling in Germany – except for horse racing betting.
Horse race betting became possible in July 2012.
This meant that within just two years, the gambling market in Germany had become too monopolized, and the EU Court of Justice decided that needed to change.
In 2012 the Interstate Treaty on Gaming was in full swing, allowing a select number of gambling services to be offered. The act was repealed in all states, and while Schleswig Holstein wasn’t a sure thing in January 2022, they offered five online table game licenses.
As of April 2022, Spain is in the middle of some significant changes in its gambling rules. There will be logistical rules like a minimum of 300 meters between establishments and a limit on the number of new licenses.
Madrid already operates a strict gambling policy; however, they are implementing more. In 2020, a new inspection plan for betting premises was introduced to limit the number of minor players and any vulnerable players.
A reorganization of the overseers of the gambling laws and potential fraud is in motion. In collaboration with the Consejo Superior del Deporte (CSD) - the Higher Sports Council that serves the interests of Spain's pro sports leagues and Federations – the DGOJ will establish a new dynamic cooperation network.
So while you might enjoy playing some great online games in Sweden, when your cross the borders elsewhere, you might just find yourself in hot water! And as Spain shows us, the rules are ever-changing.
You can check the gambling rules ahead of any visits, which can keep you on the right side of the law.