Online Gambling in Europe

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Ever since the creation the European Union back in the middle of the 20th century, Europe started to be one single State in economic terms, but in reality all the countries that create this European State under the blue and yellow stars flag are still independent, and have their own laws, what also applies to gamble.

There is no specific European legislation that makes gaming and betting uniform throughout Europe or the world, so it’s the responsibility of each country to create those regulations. This makes it particularly challenging for gambling companies or gambling sites to enter these markets, as they have to study the specific legislation for each country.


What is allowed in online gambling is constantly changing according to the jurisdiction and legislation, so it’s advisable to be well informed in what concerns the legality of gambling, as these laws are frequently changed, and keep evolving, pretty much like online gambling does.

To make it even more complex, among the gambling jurisdictions existing in Europe, some are located in Europe and are subject to European regulations, while others are not, meaning that are subject to a different authority and are, in a way, independent.

Each jurisdiction has the power and authority to approve gambling licenses so that the sites are able to offer online gambling in a legal way. This might seem contradictory, considering the internet apparently is a global market, but in reality, laws change a lot from region to region.

Choice of location

Licensing authorities are, therefore, the organizations responsible for licensing jurisdictions, for issuing licenses and regulating the companies operating under those licenses. Having a license is the only way a site has to offer legal services, but there ways to belong to one jurisdiction or another, meaning, these companies just need to have part of their operations in a specific jurisdiction, even if the other part is elsewhere.

As a result, many gambling companies pick their location based on that, the legislation and regulations that they will need to follow.

Talking about online gambling in Europe is hard not to mention EGBA – European Gaming and Betting Association. The goal of this association is to implement a regulated market in a fair and competitive way so that any gambling operator can provide service in Europe in a fair way.

The French example

If we take a look at some of the bigger countries in Europe, like France, Germany, Spain or Italy, we confirm that the legislation changes a lot from country to country and that there are quite a few organizations responsible for the regulation.

In France, for example, we have Pari Mutuel Urbain, responsible for horse racing, Française des Jeux, responsible for the lottery and betting games, and ARJEL, who is responsible for gambling online. Again, to make this even more complex, the French government made new legislation back in 2009 specifically for online gambling, after a European Union request.

This EU directive made changes in the way online gambling was happening in France, and as a result, online gambling in that country started to be organized as sports betting horse race betting and poker.

Similar situations happen all over Europe, so it’s a complex jurisdictional world behind online gambling, behind what allows us to play and to be entertained.