How Are Gambling Sites Regulated in Europe?

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While Europe may be economically united, each country runs according to its own rules. The same is true with gambling. As a result, punters’ benefits from one jurisdiction may differ from those received from another.

This article delves into European states’ gambling rules, informing gamblers about what to expect when gambling in Europe.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom permits both online and land-based gambling. Nonetheless, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission must regulate the service provider following the 2005 Gambling Act.

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission is one of the world’s most stringent gambling regulators. Numerous games are under the Commission regulations, including bingo, poker, sports betting, and other casino games.

The Commission’s role is also to ensure compliance with three specific requirements of the Gambling Act of 2005:

  • Ensuring that gambling is fair
  • Preventing gambling from being a cause of crime or disorder
  • Preventing gambling-related harm or exploitation of children and other vulnerable individuals

The Commission also provides operational licenses for casinos and sports betting sites. They also fine bodies that violate applicable regulations. In simple terms, they ensure that innocent customers and gamblers are not victims of any dubious dealings while providing a safe and fair gambling environment.


Italy’s gambling regulations are pretty lax compared to those of several other European countries. In 2006, several other European Union nations imposed or increased gambling regulations. However, Italy enacted legislation allowing corporations to offer sports betting services in retail places and via the internet. 

In 2011, revisions to the regulations permitted these sites to provide poker and casino games to players.

The Agenzia Dogane e Monopolio di Stato ensures that internet operators conduct themselves ethically. This prevents violations of gambling laws, fraud, corruption, and money laundering in the Italian gambling industry.

Italian players are not taxed on their gambling wins but suffer from revenue taxes and license fees. However, Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni, Is set to adjust these regulations soon, which will affect Italy’s gambling activities.


Germany’s gambling rules are complicated and have changed several times over the years. The country banned all forms of online gambling in 2008, except horse racing betting. Two years later, the Interstate Gaming Treaty came to be, allowing gambling services.

Casinos and sports betting on land are regulated by state law, not federal law. However, betting on social/financial events or visual sports is banned.

Regional governments are in charge of regulating land-based sports betting on an operator-by-operator basis. Betting shops must apply for licenses with a local regulator.


Cyprus enacted the Betting Law 2012 in 2012, which they modified in 2019 to regulate betting operations. The law defined the statutory framework governing these activities and corrected some loopholes in Cyprus’s legislation. 

Here, the state owns and operates gambling activities to a limited extent. Still, private businesses can offer gambling services following the law’s restrictions.

Cyprus’ law forbids several betting services in brick-and-mortar establishments or internet platforms. These are horse race betting, spreads betting, dog racing, gambling with bitcoin, and limited betting with game machines.

The National Betting Authority regulates all gambling sites in Cyprus. Its tasks include reviewing applications, licensing, auditing, and overseeing betting shops and online betting companies.

NBA law provides for two types of licenses:

  • Class A license, which controls land-based betting services within physically licensed establishments, but not internet betting or horseracing.
  • Class B license manages online betting services that do not include slot machines, internet casinos, or lotteries.

The body also investigates and resolves gamblers’ complaints. They ensure that betting sites comply with their rules and regulations on land and online.


The laws governing gambling in Spain have undergone numerous changes. The most recent revisions allowed internet casinos to operate in the country, but only under particular conditions.

The Spanish National Gaming Commission regulates the nation’s activities. This body issues licenses if the gaming operators meet the required standards and requirements.

Here, gambling operators must get a general license, which permits them to utilize all permissible game modes. They must also have a single license, which allows them to employ only one regulated gambling modality.

Only gambling operators with a general license can apply for a single license. These operators must fulfill several legal, technological, and financial requirements before the regulatory body issues licenses.

Residents of Spain can sign up, wager, and play casino games at any country’s licensed websites.


The Netherlands finally passed its first law for regulating online gambling. Until that moment, online gambling was illegal. Now the country permits various forms of gaming though it still bans some online gambling activity.

Casino games, poker, short-odds bingo, pari-mutuel betting, sports betting with fixed odds, exchange betting, and live betting are all permitted. But, the law still bans lotteries, non-sports betting, and spread betting from online operations. Operators can also choose between sports betting and casino gaming when applying for a gambling license.


Sweden enacted a new round of legislation aimed at ending the monopoly of the state-run online gambling firm. The new rules aimed to open the market to private operators in the future. It also aims to expand the country’s gambling business.

Sweden’s only company licensed to offer online gambling for many years was the state-owned Svenska Spel. This was true for all types of gaming, including casino games, sports betting, and other casino entertainment. While Svenska Spel retains ownership of land-based casinos, the Swedish Gambling Authority is responsible for issuing the necessary licenses for online gambling.


France legalized three bodies to handle different internet gambling activities in 2010. The Pari Mutuel Urbain, for horse racing, the Francaise des Jeux. for betting and lotteries, and ARJEL, for online gambling.

Currently, the country doesn’t issue licenses for casino games, spread betting, and exchange betting. This is because various types of gambling are highly addictive.

For instance, poker is a casino game, but it’s legal because its outcome depends on the player’s skill which some situations can alter. Aside from the aforementioned gambling activities, the French law permits no other gambling operations.


Gambling in Europe depends on several laws. Therefore, players must know which regulation applies to their jurisdiction before playing. Regardless of the restrictions, playing casino games and sports betting remain exciting activities in Europe.

Lisa T is part of our editorial staff and writes about the latest online gambling industry news and related articles from around the globe.


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