EU Operators and Players Continue to Negotiate Murky WatersPublished December 2, 2015 by Lee R
While many European players enjoy online casinos, the process of bringing EU-wide online gambling regulation could take years to play out.
Online gambling is popular in the EU, however the rules for governing it continue to remain murky.
The Rough Landscape
Absent coherent cross-border regulation, online gambling is currently too politically contentious to be accepted by all 28 states in the near future, despite the EU's eventual plans (or hopes) for integrating trade.
EU Operator Impact
The impact on iGaming operators in the EU is to face high individual compliance costs along with ongoing uncertainty regarding the legality and validity of their operations in each of the various regulatory territories that constitute each individual EU nation.
EU Consumer Impact
For online players at this point firmly accustomed to accessing all websites free of interference, the difference between borders has a confusing effect from country to country: each EU country's citizens levels of access to online gambling differ according to if and how their home country regulates online gambling.
EU Country Impact
For instance, in Germany, twenty online sports betting licences are available, but no licenses have been issued, meaning German players cannot legally access online gambling sites, pending a government review of current procedures.
Meanwhile, Sweden has come under review by the EU for its monopoly gambling market, resulting in Sweden becoming the first EU country referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union for an online gambling infringement.
In the UK on the other hand, gambling is widely popular with online gambling and betting bring in huge revenues. In fact, a new licensing regime was recently introduced under the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 under which all operators offering services to UK players were required to hold a licence from the British Gambling Commission, thus opening the market to foreign competition.
The potential for divergence between availability across EU borders is apparent, running counter EU objectives of a unified regulatory policy. While harmony in the form of a unified system would serve the interests of players and operators, the EU states are independent nations who were sovereign for hundreds of years, and will retain the right to choose and shape their policy.
In the meant, in order to play legally, players who want to play popular European online casinos such as EU Casino, Mr Green Casino and Winner Casino will have to travel to territories where online gambling has been already been regulated.