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iGaming in Europe: Regulatory Challenges & Opportunities

As one of the largest and most varied continents in the world in terms of culture, Europe has a diverse range of views and laws regarding gambling. Online casinos such as and many others find themselves operating in a region with diverse laws. From the United Kingdom, which legalizes both brick-and-mortar and online casinos, to countries that prohibit any form of gambling, there are plenty of rules followed in the continent. Given the diverse laws, this article tries to explain iGaming in Europe, focusing on the regulatory challenges and investment opportunities it offers. 

Overview of Legal Framework and Gambling Regulation in Europe

Compared to other parts of the world, countries in the European continent are known for their progressive gambling laws. National lotteries are legal in most of these countries, where profits usually go to the government coffers. However, when it comes to other forms of gambling, such as sports betting, card games, and online slots, laws vary from one country to another. To give you a rough overview of Europe’s gambling niche through the eyes of the law, let us examine some of the biggest regions.

The United Kingdom 

Despite Brexit, the United Kingdom is still part of Europe. It still maintains several ties with many European online casinos, although strict rules have seen many exit the market. Since 2005, the United Kingdom has fully legalized gambling. All laws that control both offline and online casino activities in the UK are controlled by the UK Gambling Commission. The commission is constantly reviewing laws, making the already existing ones tighter or more friendly to protect the player. The most notable one is that the United Kingdom does not impose tax on income earned through any form of gambling, regardless of the profits earned.  


You cannot mention the word Malta in a sentence without including gambling in it. At the time of writing this, the gambling industry in Malta contributes about 12% to the country’s GDP. Malta prides itself on having one of the longest history of legalized gambling, which has been in existence since 2001. This is why you will see many licensed casinos and betting sites use the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) license. 

During the last 20+ years, the country has issued thousands of licenses to locally operated and offshore online casinos. For a company to be licensed, it must have satisfied the strict industry standards such as regular payouts, transparency, and cyber security. 


As seen by the increase in the number of betting sites in Sweden, iGaming in Sweden is one of the go-to pastime activities in the country. Since 2002, online gambling has been legal in Sweden and it is controlled by Svenska Spel. Because the main objective is to collect tax, other areas of gambling, such as ensuring players get the best services and having their disputes resolved have taken a back seat. Because of this, many Swedish bettors and casino players prefer using offshore betting sites to wager and play games. 


Gambling in Germany is regulated in a totally different way. While there’s a central governing body in other countries, Germany’s 16 federal states have the power to self-regulate. The result is a patchwork of rules, making it one of the most complicated regions in Europe as far as gambling is concerned.


In France, the land-based casino industry is legal and strictly regulated. Online betting is limited to poker, horse racing, and sports betting. The laws require operators to acquire licenses and emphasize player protection.

Legal Challenges and Regulations 

Despite how popular sports betting and online casino gaming are in Europe, it is not free from many regulatory challenges. The legality of gambling is complicated as it is influenced heavily by aspects such as responsibility, integrity, and underage gamblers. Below is a complete breakdown of the regulatory challenges Europe faces when it comes to casino and betting activities. 

Integrity of Gambling 

Ensuring casino players and sports bettors have a fair experience is one of the most challenging aspects for regulators. In sports betting, for example, corruption and match-fixing are serious issues that undermine the integrity of the sport and sports betting itself. Most countries have strict rules and work with multiple organizations to combat such threats. 

Advertising Rules

Advertising plays a critical role in the iGaming industry but can also be a source of controversy. There are measures put in place to control the nature and quantity of advertisements in the online gambling niche, especially during sporting events as well as advertising directly to minors. 

Data Protection

As more people switch to place their bets online, protecting their data has become a major issue. Many betting sites are required to adhere to the strict EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 

Underage Betting

Preventing underage gambling is yet another significant challenge many platforms are experiencing. Most gaming platforms in Europe have a minimum age requirement of 21 years to legally place real money bets on their platforms. According to the laws, platforms are required to have reliable age verification measures put in place to ensure only adults wager on their platforms. They are also required to conduct thorough KYC verification processes, which prevent money laundering activities.

Investment Opportunities 

Despite the challenges faced in the iGaming industry in Europe, the market offers plenty of investment opportunities. Interested parties are only required to navigate the intricacies of local laws put in place to tap into the investment opportunities each market offers.

Last Updated on 2024/03/25

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