Yet, on the other, the European Court of Justice has declared that the issue of gambling is exclusively a matter of member-state competence, meaning that an EU country has full jurisdiction over whether online gambling is legal within its specific territory. And yet, on a third hand (say what?), the Court of Justice has also ruled that bettors have the right to consumer protections, thus recognizing the legitimacy of online gambling as a business–and, hence, trade–venture. Consequently, sharp legal divergences can be seen from country to country in the European Union.
It should be noted, of course, that the overwhelming majority of EU member states tolerate online gambling. In fact, its common practice among EU member states that such businesses are regulated and taxed, instead of being prohibited. Online casinos are enjoying a sustained interest across Europe. Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Austria, France and Ireland are all examples of countries that have seen the highest growth in terms of online casino-club creation https://playcanadacasino.com/new-casinos/. At the same time, though, enhanced Internet access in Eastern European countries has naturally led to a growth in online gambling there as well.
Of course, most states in Europe have managed to exert a level of control over online gambling thanks to licensing. Indeed, legislation is often present, obliging casinos to obtain specific licenses and endorse specific rules about online-gambling practices. In the Netherlands for instance, online casinos are perfectly legal. And yet, at the same time, the Dutch Gaming Act does not allow Dutch nationals to take part in online casino games operated by a company which does not have a Dutch license. Meanwhile, U.K. legislation not only tolerates the activity altogether, but supports foreign operators’ coming into the U.K. and running their activities from there. (The advantage of such an attitude toward online gambling is that the state is able to regulate the activity effectively, thus enabling British public authorities to tackle issues of fraud and money laundering).
As in the U.S. where states have their own laws, countries in the EU enjoy a noticeable amount of legal “liberty” when it comes to regulations affecting their citizens. The general framework is that European states allow their nationals to play at online casinos as long as such practices are legal. Because there is no specific legislation concerning online gambling, and given the lack of interest from the political class, there is no common legal framework across EU countries.
Ultimately, this has led to squabbles over what the court rulings mean and which laws hold water on a European-wide level. Bwin, an Austrian company that’s been locked out of the German market by a state-mandated monopoly for government-run games, has filed several suits against all 16 German states. These suits’ outcomes have been mixed, with the judge sometimes ruling in Bwin’s favour and, other times, not. Meanwhile, the powers that be have been stringent on gambling restrictions for new member states. This is the case with Bulgaria, which joined the EU in September 2008 and, since that time, has been harranged by Brussels officials seeking to limit the state’s liberal gaming laws. To sum all this up, online casinos are for the most part legal in Europe. There has however been several worrying developments in a number of EU member states that have churned out anti-online gambling legislation. But, as we said before, the EU has taken a pretty clear stance on this and the legality of any proposals to ban or restrict online gambling in individual member states is sure to be challenged at the international level.
PLEASE NOTE! All of the information given on these pages has been taken from various sources and up to date accuracy is not guaranteed. For more current and formal information considering the legality of online gambling, consult the specific laws of the area in which you reside or jurisdiction in which you are playing.