Where should we begin when it comes to discussing the European online gambling market? The European market has seen its fair share of ups and downs, but also have led the way in the introduction of games, betting styles and platforms since the inception of the industry.
We are going to speak of the European market in general terms on this page; obviously, there are some significant differences in each individual country’s approach to online gambling.
For now, let’s review some of the essential common elements that anyone should be looking at when they are choosing an online gambling site to play from Europe.
Here Are Our Top Recommended European Online Gambling Sites:
We review all the European-facing sites we can find, from the most established brands to the brightest of newcomers. Of course, every site is a little bit different, and many have restrictions depending on where you live. With that in mind, we encourage you to read our individual reviews to learn about each company in detail. To help you get started, we have compiled a list of our top 5 recommended European Gambling Sites above, which we are sure will offer you a fantastic experience.
Is Online Gambling Legal in Europe
There is no single answer to this question. With a region made up of so many different countries, it is not surprising to see that there are also various stances on online gambling. While the region is very advanced compared to North America regarding the legalities of online gambling sites, for many countries it is still a work in progress. In fact, the European gaming regulation map looks similar to that of the individual U.S. states.
In each of our individual country reports, you will get an in-depth review of that country’s regulatory environment. With the introduction of the European Union, it seemed like the collective wrote an onion about its stance on many topics, including gambling.
For the purposes of a general review let’s highlight a few in summary form:
The UK have long been operating in a regulated environment, and in fact, the Internet Gambling Act enforces the fact that to legally accept UK players, an online gambling website needs to apply for and receive a license from the Gambling Commission. This application process is rigorous, and the Gambling Commission does not look favorably at companies who have in the past accepted players from unregulated markets.
The Spanish Gambling Act was entered into law to help manage the federal oversight of regulated gambling, which was before that left up to the individual states. As a result of this legislation, operators can apply for a license that if received will allow them to legally accept Spanish players to gamble on all forms of online games.
The French also have a form of regulated online gambling, which allows licensed operators to allow sports betting, poker, and horse racing. Despite their love of card games, there is no option for obtaining a license to offer online casino games, so any operators who can provide those games in addition to poker and sports in other jurisdictions must shut them off for any players that come from France.
The Italian government looked to increase tax revenue and capitalize on the country’s love of soccer by introducing legislation to allow sports betting in the mid-2000s. This allowed anyone who acquired a license to take sports betting action either online or in a land-based retail environment. Amendments to that law over the years added other online betting options such as lottery, casino and poker and today Italians have a full range of products to select from when they are choosing an online gambling site.
Of course, all these regulations are regularly updated, so it is important that you review this page often to get the most up to date data and information. Also, even though there are a series of regulations limiting play of some or all games online depending on the country, there is no precedent for a player being prosecuted under these laws. While we cannot definitively tell you that online gambling is legal from a player perspective, it is safe to say that these governments have no current plan to curb the industry by going after every individual who bets online.
From an operator perspective, there are a few European jurisdictions where an online gambling site can get a license which will allow them to “legally” operate their companies. Of course, this license still has to mix with the individual European country laws, so this licensing actually exists as a way to protect players from shady operators stealing their money.
The four jurisdictions in Europe were an online gambling site can apply for a license are Alderney, Isle Of Man, Malta, and Gibraltar. A site does not need to acquire more than one license (although some have) and each location has its own individual benefits.
Fortunately for European players, the amount of regulation they find in the region opens the doors for all sorts of payment processing options. What this means for players is a choice to use debit and credit cards, third-party payments companies, and even Paypal to make their deposits and withdrawals.
What does this look like? Here is a partial list of third-party e-cash payments providers for the European market:
Some of these may not be available in your country, but there is no doubt that you will have heard of many of these and may even already have accounts with them, which will make your online gambling experience even easier!
Finally, when you are researching what online gambling site to play at, you should look to see if they offer games in your local currency. Most sites will offer games in Pounds or Euros, which covers a significant amount of people, however, if you are in a country with its own currency, we don’t want you to find yourself paying adverse exchange rates just to get the currency into your account. Our reviews of European-facing gambling sites outlines all the currencies that a site accepts.
As we discussed, the European online gaming market is more mature than their North American counterparts.This is best seen in the way that Europeans gamble on their sports, especially soccer.
Soccer in-game betting is incredibly popular given the nature of the sport and the number of games that end in draws.
Allowing players to gamble from their mobile devices means that the tens of thousands of possible bettors sitting in any soccer stadium have the opportunity to place wagers on what they are watching in real time.
Online operators quickly built mobile-friendly platforms to accommodate this type of betting, and that quickly spread to all forms of sports betting. These days, European players can play all their favorite online games directly from their phones or tablets, including most casino games and poker. Each individual European country has their own laws in place, but many countries also allow for native apps to be downloaded to devices to enhance the quality of the player experience further.
Finding the Best Promotions From European Gambling Sites
When you are looking for a European online gambling site, it’s important to take into consideration what types of promotions a site offers and to make sure that their offers fit your needs. If you are a sports bettor and most of a site’s promotions are free-spin-based, for example, then we wouldn’t recommend you make a deposit. The bonuses you receive at a site are part of the value proposition that will assist in making you a profitable player over the long run.
With so many different games being offered by the biggest online gambling sites, marketing departments for these companies are working overtime to make sure all their promotional offers are attractive to any player who comes along. On top of the free chip and free bet promotions designed to reward players for creating accounts without depositing, you should be looking for the best return on your initial deposits and any loyalty programs the site offers to extend your play.
Finally, with so many countries in play, many online gambling sites tailor some promotions to be localized for specific countries. For example, you may find a poker promotion that rewards players from France only to qualify for a local live tournament or sporting event; those types of promotions offer great value as the player pool is likely much smaller than for the site’s global promotions.
What About Customer Service for All These Customers?
Customer Service can be a minefield for many online gamblers. Getting through to a live person to speak with at the time you need them can be a frustrating process, which becomes even worse when you realize that the person with whom you are speaking does not speak your language. No amount of Google translate can help in these situations; it usually makes the process slow and painful.
Most of the large online gambling sites that offer games to Europeans also provide customer service in several languages. This is usually determined by the number of players from a given country that is in the site’s database. Sometimes this specialized customer service is only available during peak hours, but in a worst case scenario you will always be able to email the site with your issue, and you will most likely receive a response back in your language.
The Final Verdict
North American online gamblers have a significant amount of envy when they see all the options Europeans have for regulated, legal online gambling.
Europeans in most countries have access to the top operators, software suppliers and banking options in the world.
Add in some killer promotions, and it’s entirely clear that any European that has the ability to gamble online should be able to find exactly what they are looking for to suit their needs.
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