Lately there’s been a bit of fuss about the gambling market in the US. Some states have opened up for online sports betting with more and more states following. But how does it look in Europe, is the trend going in the same direction?
The gambling market in Europe is the world’s biggest for online gambling, accounting for more than 47% of the revenue. The trend in Europe is a bit different than the US, since it has been available for a longer time and each country can decide themselves how to regulate (or not) their market.
In Sweden for example the government let go of their monopoly 1st January 2019, allowing other online casinos and sportsbooks to take part. Long before the beginning of 2019 Swedish residents have been able to gamble online through companies based in other european countries, often Malta or the UK, but now every company needs a licence in Sweden to offer this.
In Norway they are still very much against this, sticking tight to their state monopoly. Although rumors have said that they are waiting to see what happens in Sweden before they make any changes. But Norwegians can still play with online casino and sportsbooks located in other European countries with licences in Malta for example. The issue for betting companies is the marketing part, which is very much restricted.
There are 3 different regulatory models various countries will typically use when regulating their market:
A licence is given as long as numerous criterias are met, an example of this kind of licensing is Malta.
This allows for a limited amount of licenses, but online betting companies are accepted. This model is used in Belgium for example.
This type of regulatory model only allows one entity (typically state owned) to operate in the country, previously the case in Sweden and still effective in Norway amongst other countries.
Most European countries offer some sort of gambling online, some only betting, poker or casino, while others offer them all. A growing number of countries have introduced a more open licensing system, tearing down the monopoly to allow for more than one operator. That of course isn’t just in good spirit, it also brings in a significant amount of money from taxes, previously being evaded by operators based elsewhere.
To be fair it wasn’t neccesarly the operators fault, since the monopoly only allowed for one state owned casino in the country, they were never given the chance to pay taxes. And the money they lose to other competitors entering their market, is likely made up for in taxes. Besides the taxes, they also get more control of player safety and responsible gambling, which should favour the players.
More countries in Europe probably already see the benefit of opening the market and creating their own regulatory model and we can expect to see more doing just that in the future. Of course, that will remain to be seen, but as we all know, money talks.