Online Casinos in Europe

Online Casinos in Europe

Gambling is one of the most popular pastimes in Europe and many players who have visited land based casinos will also visit online casino sites. Online gambling has become a great way for players from all over the world to play top rated games from home and have the ability to win amazing payouts and even cash in on progressive jackpots. There are about 50 countries in Europe and all have different views and laws that pertain to online gambling. Some countries that have land casinos will not allow players to play online while others have very relaxed laws when it comes to placing bets and wagers online. Much like the private gambling operations, the laws in Europe vary when it comes to gambling online. Most European players will find they are allowed to place bets online, but there are some countries that have strict laws preventing residents from this form of gambling. It is impossible to generalise online gambling laws in Europe, which is why each and every player must be aware of their local gambling laws before accessing any online casino or betting site, including racing and sports betting sites.

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In a majority of the European countries, online gambling is a legal activity and can be enjoyed by anyone that is of legal age, which can be either 18 or 21 based on the specific country. It is also required that the gambling site is properly licensed and regulated by a recognised jurisdiction. This includes major countries like the UK, Spain, France and Italy. In some European countries, players can only place bets at sites that are licensed and regulated in their own country. For example, Norway and Sweden are countries that pretty much frowns upon all forms of online gabling and it is almost non-existent. However, in Portugal, there are sites that are explicitly licensed by Portuguese authorities and these are the legal sites for these residents.

There are also countries that have completely outlawed online gambling, such as the Netherlands. Here, the act of wagering on any game of skill or chance online is fully illegal. This includes betting on horse races, any sporting event or any casino game. Yet in the UK, online gambling is fully supported and is legal; for residents. Here, players can easily find a number of licensed online casinos that have strong and positive reputations in the industry.

The European Union plays a large role in the legality of online gambling. Within the EU, there is a fair trade treaty that is designed to encourage various European countries to conduct business with each other. With this in mind, online gambling is completely legal in the EU and is a thriving market. However, since not all countries in Europe are EU members, the laws will vary, which is why all players must be aware of the latest gambling laws.

Even with the Free Trade agreement in place, some member states have chosen to enact their own local laws banning online gambling. Germany is a great example and in 2008, the country banned all forms of online gambling to protect German residents from being preyed upon by unlicensed or rogue casino sites. France is another country that has anti-gambling laws and these laws are the subject of debate within the European Union. It is currently being argued that laws that prevent online gambling are a double standard and are in complete violation of the EU Constitution. This means that the EU can actually sue members to force compliance to laws. However, a more diplomatic approach is being taken and some countries, like France, are enacting legislations that will open the market to foreign competition.

It would take much time and effort to describe the gambling laws for all countries in Europe. It is best to say that most of the countries do in fact support online gambling and even provide access to locally operated sites that are fully licensed and regulated. Even in countries that prohibit online gambling, not much is done to an individual placing online bets. Most European countries care more about the business of gambling as a whole and will keep a close eye on who is operating sites and whether this is legal in each country.

While there are countries that have partial or complete bans on online gambling, these bans are not always effective. Anyone located in Europe can visit foreign gambling sites and play real money games without any legal issues arising. Most of the laws pertain to the operators of such sites, but individuals should always check to see if there are any possible penalties that can be imposed if they are caught to be gambling online if the country specifically states that it is an illegal activity for residents.