In many but not all EU countries, the gambling business is legalized and regularly pays taxes. In this article, you will learn about the conditions for running a gambling business in 5 countries in Western Europe. We will also touch on the topic of online casinos and also tell you why establishments in the 1 euro deposit casino format are so popular in Europe.
The current system of legal regulation took shape in European countries mainly from 2005 to 2011. It was during this period that the central current legislative norms were adopted. In some countries, this process improved and updated existing regulations (for example, the Gambling Act 2005 in the UK). In others, the market turned out to be completely unregulated, in connection with which new acts of legalization of specific gambling segments were adopted (Finance Act 2007 in Italy, Gambling Act 2010 in France, Gambling Act 2011 in Spain, and others).
Where to play in Europe
It should be noted that today the most advanced gambling market regulation system operates in the UK. The regulations in force in the country cover all possible gambling segments: from all forms of offline gambling bookmakers with local registration to online gambling provided by foreign companies.
According to the official statistics of the European Gambling and Betting Association (EGBA), at the end of 2019, casinos and gambling were legalized in 17 countries of Western and Central Europe. However, in our review, we will not be able to cover them all, but we will focus on the five most important and most popular gambling markets in the EU, which will undoubtedly be of interest to you.
In 2019, some changes were made to the French legislation regarding the licensing of the gambling market. The French National Gambling Authority (ANJ) controlled up to 80% of the market, including about 200 land-based casinos, hippodromes, and online sites.
The French market has not been hit as hard by the pandemic, as land-based and online gambling establishments enjoy considerable freedom in the state. A change in the taxation model offset the decrease in attendance and bans on bonus promotions – instead of a turnover tax, a tax on gross income was adopted.
From July 1, 2021, Germany has legalized all types of online games in all states. Offline casinos were closed during the pandemic, and the influx of customers fell. Many investors preferred betting software to offline casinos, although online casinos were prohibited in most states before this law was passed.
However, since 2010, the process of easing regulations and requirements has been increasing with increasing force, but Germany remains one of the “leaders” among the EU countries in gambling bans.
Despite its size, this northern Scandinavian country boasts a sizeable gambling market. Denmark has fully legalized online casinos and betting. However, foreign operators must go through the Danish bureaucracy and obtain licenses for their activities. In the land-based sector, players are offered how to bet on horse races, play slots, and visit betting shops of bookmakers.
Italy’s gambling market history dates back to the middle of the 17th century, but we will not start our review so far. In 2019, Italy introduced a tax of 0.5% of revenue for bookmakers and casinos. There has also been some tightening for issuing licenses for land-based operators and the online sector.
However, despite these measures, the Italian gambling market continues to grow. By 2021, there will be about 40 land-based casinos in Italy, and some online casinos and bookmakers legally operate. Although, the lion’s share of the gambling business continues to be concentrated in the fashion capital of Italy – Milan.
But the Spanish authorities, unlike their southern neighbors on the continent, are working to reduce taxes for the gambling market. In 2018, the tax was reduced from 25% to 20%. But in 2020, the course changed its direction, and the government reduced the display of advertising on television, leaving the business only 4 hours a day. Although, it is worth considering that in most EU countries, advertising the gambling business on television is completely prohibited.
In general, the Spanish gambling market continues to show super profits, especially in online gambling, where not casinos are in the lead, but bookmakers with revenues of 218 million euros.
As for the dynamics of changes in online share, it has been increasing in all the countries under consideration in recent years. The only exception is Italy, where the online share has been slowly declining over the past five years.
How likely is the complete transition of the betting market and casinos to online
As Statista demonstrates, 2020 has been a year of growth for the betting and gambling market worldwide. Compared to 2019, the gambling market has grown from $58.9 billion to $66.7 billion, with a projected return of $92.9 billion by 2023. At the same time, Europe accounts for 22% of the entire world market. This figure allowed Europe to take first place in the ranking by a significant margin.
Arland statistics also complete the picture, showing a decline in revenue from 80 billion euros to 49 billion euros in 2020 for terrestrial operators, with a reverse trend for online operators. However, as statistics show, in 2021, the entire gambling market should “rebound” and increase its performance by 10-20% by 2025 compared to the current one.
There are no general gambling rules in the EU. Each government regulates this industry at its discretion. Therefore, if any changes occur in one country, they are unlikely to affect another. In addition, some EU countries have been fighting for the legalization of the market since the mid-2000s. France and Denmark are good examples in this regard.
The growth potential of the gambling market in European countries remains high. The market may grow faster soon, subject to further improvement in regulation and the formation of such tax systems, which will make the gambling sector attractive for both businesses and players.