Anyone Looking for a Top Rated Online Casino in Europe is Going to be Spoilt for Choice
Anyone living or residing in Europe is in an enviable position if they happen to be considering online gambling. While the legislation may differ across all the European countries, there seems to be a consensus of opinion that online gambling is an OK thing to be doing. As opposed to somewhere like, for example, the US, where every state has its own gambling legislation but in general most are against the whole idea. As there are so many countries that make up the European continent we could write pages and pages on the subject. Instead we’ve decided to look at European online casinos from a more general standpoint. In the future we’ll be looking at individual countries in much greater detail and for the time being give you an overall impression of the online gambling scene.
- EU laws and regulations
- Best online Casinos
- How to find best casinos
- Game Selection
- Casino software
- More online casinos
The European standpoint regarding gambling at a casino online
The subject of European online casinos is vast as there a number of different countries, each with its own jurisdictions and national laws. In many ways the European Union has a led to a unification in many legal areas, but so far it hasn’t been able to create a set of uniform gambling laws. This means there is a mish mash of different laws and statutes, very similar to the situation in the USA. Take for example Nevada, where there is a wide degree of flexibility when it comes to casinos. As opposed to it’s next door neighbor, Texas, where gambling of any kind is illegal. Things are very similar in Europe although the EU would we’re sure prefer for there to be a more uniform set of laws. This unified situation, however, is a long way off. There is one aspect in which European legislation differs from America. On the whole the EU tends to be in favor of legalizing gambling by way of regulation and taxation. Whereas in the USA, politicians seem to be in favor of making it illegal. In order to provide you with a snapshot of European legislation and how it can differ, let’s take a look at some of the big players in the world of casinos online in Europe.
Online gambling in France
France has some very strange gambling laws but has some very strong links with gambling. Some of the oldest bricks and mortar casinos are in France and the roots of many casino games can be traced back to France. The French attitude to gambling is very liberal and almost every major town has its own casino. However, when it comes to online gambling things are a little different. It’s felt by those responsible for EU regulations that France hasn’t been towing the line. The first law that was passed in relation to remote gambling was thought to be very biased toward state run operations. There were a number of other criticisms but this was the overriding one. This led to the law being revised and it opened up the market to allow sports betting, poker and horse racing. The traditional casino games were thought to be too addictive and were banned from being played online. Seems a strange situation for a country that has played such a big part in the casino world to not allow those games to be played on the internet in France.
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Online gambling in Germany
When it comes to online gambling in Germany it’s really rather strict. Which comes as a bit of a surprise because it did look set to become a world leader. Before 2008, there were some top online casinos in Germany. The industry was largely unregulated and there was plenty of choice for the German gambler. However, the German government decided to get involved and passed an Interstate Treaty on Gambling. This treaty made online gambling illegal, unless it was a government owned sports betting or horse racing enterprise. This isn’t actually an unusual occurrence as a number of European countries have banned online gambling unless via a state owned and operated business. The law was ratified by all German states apart from Schleswig-Holstein that changed its mind and issued licenses. It did in fact change its mind again and deemed online gambling illegal. But the cost of revoking the licenses was considered too high and they still stand. Another very strange situation indeed.
Online gambling in the UK
In the UK, gambling has been legal since the 60’s. Rather than it being prohibited it was legalized. In 2005, The Gambling Act was passed and it made it law for any gambling businesses accepting UK customers to have a licence issued by the UK Gambling Commission. This law came about because of the large number of offshore businesses and a lack of real power to regulate them and thereby protect UK customers. The work of the Commission is transparent and it is seen to be a respected and reliable regulator. Anyone who wants to check whether an online casino in the UK is licensed and regulated can do so very easily by visiting the regulator’s website.
Online gambling in Belgium
Belgium is another European country that provides for its own home-grown online gambling enterprises but doesn’t take too kindly to offshore companies trying to entice its residents. The country’s regulator is the Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC) and is charged with enforcing the Belgian Gaming Act. It does this in part by creating a blacklist of websites. Belgian internet service providers and financial institutions are encouraged to participate by pledging to block activity relating to the websites. In effect this means that an online casino Europe, if featured on the list will be blocked and unable to have Belgian players.
The EU Commission is working towards a single market that includes the online casino industry
One of the aims of the European Union is to create a single market in all economic areas. This includes finance, investment and the bit we’re most interested in, the online casino industry. It’s a long way from happening and with all the upset that’s been caused by the UK decision to leave it doesn’t look like the issue will be resolved anytime soon. The European Commission has written a green paper on the subject of gambling. If you want to know more we suggest you visit the Europa website and read it. The difficulty in reaching a consensus of opinion is that there are several countries involved in the decision making process. As you can see from our previous sections, opinions on gambling vary and many look at the issue in a very personal and local way. Multiply these divides by the number of countries in Europe and you can appreciate there’s a lot of work to be done before all members can agree on a unified approach.
What to look for in a top rated online casino
When it comes to online casinos in Europe that will feature in our top rated list there are a number of criteria we consider before writing our reviews. One of the most important is whether a European online casino is licensed and regulated. There are a number of regulatory bodies, some with a better reputation than others. Some of the better ones are the UK Gambling Commission and those in Gibraltar and Malta. There are also reliable ones in the Isle of Man and Cyprus. One fairly new regulator that’s gaining ground is the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. Two to steer clear of are those in Antigua and Barbuda and Curacao. Another important criteria is payment options and when it comes to the best online casino Europe there are going to be a myriad of options. Most major credit and debit cards are going to be accepted, such as Visa and MasterCard. E-wallet services such as Entropay, Neteller, Paysafecard, Click2Pay and many others are also becoming very popular methods of payment. Across Europe there are plenty of e-wallet services so it’s impossible to list them all. Other accepted methods include bank wire transfer, money orders, cheques or online bill payment. One very common payment method that is now widely accepted across Europe is PayPal. Many of the top casinos online in Europe accept deposits made via PayPal and allow you to use your PayPal account for withdrawing winnings. As well as being able to make payments using your own currency, it is also going to be an advantage if the online casino website is available in a language you’re familiar with. Understanding the rules and the terms and conditions is going to be much easier if there is no confusion about what is being said. If you like a particular casino brand and it’s only available in English, you might want to check whether the customer support service speaks your language as this is another option. There are a number of very common questions we know you’re going to want to ask. So we’ll save you some time and research by answering them for you.
FAQs relating to online gambling in Europe
If I want to play at an online casino in Europe is it legal?
This is a difficult question to answer as there is no continent wide legislation relating to online casinos in Europe. The answer will depend on where you live. There are a very small number where it is illegal to play, but the laws tend to target the companies that are offering their services rather than the players. If you aren’t sure what your own countries regulations are it would be best to check out the local laws.
What currency can I play with?
This is another one that really depends on where you’re playing from. Generally, it’s more likely to be Euros, US dollars or British pounds. But there are going to be a number of other online casinos in Europe that allow players to use other currencies. The best way to find out for certain is to check the casino’s website or speak with a member of its customer service team.
Where will a online casino Europe be based?
There are a number of major gambling jurisdictions located within Europe and the best European online casinos are more likely to be located in one of them. For example, Malta, Gibraltar, the Isle of Man and the UK are all recognised jurisdictions. However, a casino could be located pretty much anywhere as there are gambling jurisdictions all around the world.
Will my winnings be classed as a taxable income?
Different countries have different tax laws so once again this is an answer that depends on where you live. For the most accurate answer you need to check with someone who knows more about the tax system where you live.
Are games fair at a casino online Europe?
As with all other licensed and regulated online casinos, those offered to players in Europe are random and fair. Third party auditors such as eCOGRA ensure that online casinos offer games that are 100% fair and deliver accurate payout percentages. Another independent auditor is TST, and is responsible for checking the random number generator software is 100% fair and random too. Any online casinos in Europe that have been audited by these third party firms will bear the logos on their website.
What software is used at the best online casino Europe?
As with any online casino, those based in Europe are powered by a range of different software providers. There are hundreds to choose from but some developers are better known than others. Some of the big guns used by European online casinos are Microgaming, Playtech, International Game Technology (IGT) and Real Time Gaming (RTG). Between them, these have a wealth of experience in providing software for online casinos and are always bringing new ideas, concepts and technologies to the industry.
What does the future hold for European online casinos and players
The gambling market in the EU is estimated to be around EUR 84.9 billion and is growing at a steady rate of around 3% every year. Almost 7 million EU consumers enjoy a spot of online gambling and there are a wide variety of different operators. The revenue from such a huge market is leading individual countries to look at the industry more as a whole, rather than on an individual level. In 2012, for example, online gambling services represented more than 12% of the gambling market and had an annual revenue of more than EUR 10 billion. Current estimates are for the annual revenue to increase rapidly and exceed EUR 13 billion. No wonder countries are starting to be concerned about how they can get a piece of the pie. Towards the end of 2015, a cooperation agreement was signed by gambling regulatory authorities of EEA member states. This move was taken to enhance administrative cooperation and follows a number of other initiatives. This means that the EU is leading the way in Europe towards a unified regulatory system for gambling in general, but more specifically for online gambling. As it takes place using the internet, Europeans, theoretically, can visit any online casino site. Which means a much better system needs to be in place to protect European consumers from scams and fraud. Steps are already being taken in the right direction. Unfortunately, the cogs don’t move all that fast. Which means that a unified system is still a long way off being implemented. How long it takes, nobody knows. And with the UK already decided on pulling out of the EU things are a little in disarray. But on a more positive note, it seems that the EU is trying to create a series of coherent gambling laws that cover online gambling and this can only mean something positive is more likely to happen in future years. The idea of European online casinos is still relatively new and while there are no coherent and continent wide regulations, anyone looking to play at any one of them is going to need to be careful about what they do. Before you deposit any money at a Europe online casino, spend some time reading our reviews as we can help you find the best one for your needs. Don’t rush headlong into opening an account without considering all the options. And when you think you’ve found the best online casino Europe start with small amounts before risking everything on a spin of the wheel, turn of the card or roll of the dice. We want you to enjoy your online gambling experience as much as we all have here. And we hope to reduce the risk of you making mistakes by imparting our knowledge and experience. Keep coming back to our site because we’ll be able to keep you updated with any developments regarding European online casinos and regulation. We’ll also be introducing you to any new online casinos taking European customers and keeping you informed of the latest promotions.