What’s Going on in Europe’s Online Casino Industry?
Europe’s online casino industry has been going from strength to strength in the last couple of years and it’s set to grow bigger as technology becomes more sophisticated and the demand for online gaming grows.
It’s believed that the casino market in Europe accounts for more than half of the global Internet gaming sector, estimated to be as much as 40 billion Euros. It’s worth noting that this figure represents regulated operations. But, the lack of proper regulations in many jurisdictions has pushed internet casino gaming underground, creating a massive black market – the size of which we just cannot estimate.
The Online Casino Industry in Europe in 2018
The first half of this year has been a rather eventful time for Europe’s market.
Earlier in the year, Norway announced its intention to remain with its monopoly system by rolling out a set of rules to introduce clarifications about the unlawfulness of unlicensed casino services provided by foreign operators.
In the meantime, Sweden has just about completed all the necessary steps towards liberalising its online gaming market, and the country’s brand-new legislation that will officialise the liberalisation will come into effect in just six months’ time.
Further, a number of jurisdictions have announced they plan to change their existing casino advertising rules, with the aim of curbing the promotion of casino products and services across a variety of media.
The latest developments from Europe have shown that the online casino market is truly dynamic, but it remains to be seen how these events will affect the market’s growth in individual countries.
Sweden Is the One to Watch
Of course, one of the biggest industry stories this year is the liberalisation and re-regulation of Sweden’s online casino market. Riskdag, the country’s national legislator has just approved the country’s new law, which has been titled, Re-Regulation of the Gambling Market, opening up the local market to foreign casino operators.
There’s no denying that the country’s grey market has been thriving over the last couple of years, and experts believe that the new regulatory regime, which kicks in in January 2019, will result in the creation of the continent’s biggest regulated market.
It’s recently been announced that foreign operators will be able to start applying for licenses from August 2018. Lotteriinspektionen, the country’s gaming regulator, will be responsible for reviewing and giving out licenses under Sweden’s new regime and for eventually overseeing the liberalised market.
The Industry Is Facing Challenges
Based on recent developments, looming advertising crackdowns and new taxes in several European jurisdictions, along with newly introduced regulations, are sure to pose challenges for the online casino industry.
The UK government has confirmed that it plans to roll out higher taxes on online casino serviced in a bid to offset the negative impact on the crackdown of fixed-odds betting terminals.
It’s also become known that Belgium, Norway, Italy and Bulgaria are some of the European countries where local governments are planning to crack down on casino advertising.
The European online casino space enjoys rapid growth, but it comes with its challenges. Let’s see what the rest of 2018 might bring – watch this space but keep playing your favourite progressive jackpots and table games in the meantime!