Recent Gambling Regulatory Changes Across the EU

2 May 2019

eu gaming

Online gambling taxation in Europe is one of the essential aspects that any casino operator should consider before starting an online casino. In some countries, online gambling is 100% illegal. In countries where online casinos are permitted, land-based and online casinos are legally obliged to pay taxes. Depending on the region of operation, we can see that gambling taxes are higher or lower.

Governments across Europe collect taxes from online casino operators, which ultimately go to the state coffers. Since the development of online gaming, governments have figured out that it is more profitable to impose taxes on online gambling rather than try to eradicate the industry through direct bans.

According to the European Commission, ‘There is no sector-specific EU legislation in the field of gambling services. EU countries are autonomous in the way they organise their gambling services, as long as they comply with the fundamental freedoms established under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), as interpreted by the Court of Justice of the EU.’

Like so, each country in the EU has its own regulatory framework. Since there are so many diverse gambling laws in different EU countries, a unique law will probably not be available in the near future. More than that, the pressure created by Brexit contributes to the uncertainty of creating a unique gambling regulatory system across the EU. Here are some of the latest developments across the European gaming scene.

Sweden and the Netherlands to liberalize gaming market

Since the beginning of 2019, Sweden has decided to grant gambling licenses to operators from all around the world. The nation’s market also favors local operators, who can still target players from countries across Europe, depending on the local licensing procedures.

In the past years, Sweden has only allowed local brands to operate within the nation’s gaming market. This led to a decrease in sales once players could access casinos from other European countries. Therefore, regulators in Sweden are looking towards a liberalization of the market to correct its gambling profits, while also collecting an 18% tax on gambling services from local operators.

The Netherlands are also tapping into creating a more relaxed regulatory framework for gaming operators. Up to now, the market has been monopolized by Holland Casino, which provided few gambling options for local players. Holland was backed by the Dutch government, which is expected to craft a Remote Gaming Bill that will allow international operators to offer gaming services in the Netherlands.

Italy increases gaming tax and bans gaming advertising

Italy is recognized as one of the established gaming markets across Europe. With a solid regulatory framework and a large variety of gambling services, Italy is one of the gaming pioneers of the EU.

However, the country has reached a saturation point which led the government to set updated rules and more stringent guidelines. The new Remote Gaming Duty (RGD) imposed by the Italian government is set to rise by no less than 21% in October 2019. The country also imposes a prohibitive 25% tax on gross gaming revenue from online casino games and online bingo, a significant increase from the 20% tax that was imposed up to the current year.

In 2018, the Italian government has also decided to outlaw local gambling advertising, which is highly impacting operations across the country. Several political leaders have stated that the blanket ban placed on gambling advertising will lead to a lack of awareness across players, who won’t be steered towards accessing legal and respectable gaming businesses. Like so, a rise in Mafia-linked gaming operations is expected due to the ban on ads.

The UK works to protect its gambling consumers

The UK is one of the most powerful gaming markets across Europe. The UK Gambling Commission has created one of the most respected and complex online gaming systems in the world. Te UK gaming market has seen several changes in the past years, the most recent one being the protection law which ensures that players are treated fairly.

The UK Gambling Commission is set to implement guidelines regarding the protection of underage and vulnerable bettors by reducing gambling-related harm. Until now, a significant breech in the system allowed customers to gamble and deposit money before the age verification process was completed.

More than that, UK regulatory bodies have found significant shortcoming when it comes to fairness and transparency across gaming operators. These practices allowed for consumers to be misled by certain terms and practices regarding money withdrawal from online gaming sites and certain terms and conditions.

Operators are now encouraged to examine and subsequently modify terms and conditions to maintain the standards of customer protection. Affiliates of operators across the EU are also expected to comply with the recent changes.

2 May 2019

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