Recently there has been a lot of movement and change in and around the online casino and gambling industry in Europe. Many countries are stepping in with legislature to legalize and regulate online casino sites. However, the European Gambling and Betting Association (EGBA), which was founded in March of 2007 to create a uniform online gaming industry across Europe, has made it difficult for some countries looking to pass online gambling legislation. A few countries, France being one notable one, were shot down by the EGBA for drafting online gambling and casino legislation that was unacceptable due to discriminatory provisions. However, two European countries—Estonia and Denmark—this month released online gambling legislation that fits the terms the EGBA has set up.
The Estonia Gambling Act is set to go into action beginning in January of 2010. This act will allow online casinos located in the European Union that meet a number of requirements to function in Estonia. Online casinos wishing to expand to serve Estonian online casino gamblers will have to obtain a license from Estonia as well as pass a number of ordinary checks and balances including background checks on operator credentials. Online casinos wishing to function in Estonia must also provide evidence of partaking in responsible gaming (preventing underage gambling, etc.). Estonia will also continue to ban online casinos without a license. Internet providers will be notified of illegal sites and will block access to these sites by Estonians.
Denmark, which once faced criticism from the European Commission (EC), the predecessor to the EGBA, has now changed their legislation to be more “EGBA friendly”. Denmark was originally criticized for an online casino and gambling policy that was too protectionist, as it limited online gambling to the Danish monopoly Dansk Spil. However, Denmark has changed its policy, giving other online casino operators the opportunity to compete with Dansk Spil. While this new legislation has not yet been passed, it is expected to receive approval from the EGBA with ease.
The recent influx of new online gambling legislation around the world is undoubtedly due in part to the current worldwide recession. Around the globe, from the United States to Europe, governments are realizing that legalizing and regulating online casinos and gambling sites is a great way to increase tax flow to the government. Though many people have been cutting back on other expenses such as travel and leisure, online gambling seems to be less effected by the crisis. Gamblers all over the globe continue coming online to play their favorite casino games including slots, roulette, blackjack, video poker and more. Therefore, legislation around the globe is being introduced, levying taxes on online casino deposits.
As more countries introduce online gambling legislation to regulate online casinos that is approved by the EGBA in Europe, and by other governments around the world we can expect to see a big positive change in the way the online casino and gambling industry operates.