Looking for the best Europe Online Casinos? We reviewed the best gambling venues for you!
Playing online casino games wasn’t so popular with European players until recently.
As European citizens preferred sports betting and playing poker to online gambling, online casinos were more focused on some other markets. Besides, the rigid regulations had prevented the online casino gaming industry from growing until the intervention by the EU Commission. It made the governments adapt the gambling laws and make the markets more liberal.
Things have been changing lately and players from Europe can now take part in this form of entertainment at some of the most reputable online casinos in the world. However, the European market is not uniform when it comes to gambling laws. Therefore we present you with a guide to the biggest European countries and their legislation related to online casinos.
Europe Online Casinos restrictions
Since players from certain countries are not accepted by certain online casinos, it is always better to check the list of restricted countries before you register with a gaming venue of your choice. Finding a reputable European casino might be a challenging task, so these are some of the indicators that a casino site is worth playing at:
- A great selection of casino games
- Available different languages
- A wide array of safe and convenient banking options
- Licensed by a trustworthy gaming authority
- The most important: Fast withdrawals.
Online Casinos Germany
Germans love gambling and they love placing wagers on sports betting, casino games and slot machines. However, it is still illegal to operate an online casino within the borders of Germany. This is the main reason why most Germans play at foreign online casinos especially those registered and licensed in the UK.
If you are a German citizen, you can visit online casinos and register with them according to the legislation, but placing bets on a “game of chance” is illegal activity. However, the German authorities fight online gaming operators while individuals can still take part in their favourite free time activity as long as their preferred gaming venue is registered abroad.
So far, Schleswig-Holstein is the only German state which established its own laws in 2011 and licensed over 20 online casinos with licenses in operation till 2018.
In the meanwhile, foreign online casinos are no longer blocked for German residents, but they are still unregulated. Besides, the European Court of Justice ruled in 2014 that the Schleswig-Holstein licences were not in compliance with the EU legislation and that the country could have two licensing regimes. This applies as long as the stricter one does not contradict European competition laws.
Those Germans who are not bothered by the idea of breaking the law can play at a multitude of online casinos catering to German players. However, they have to be cautious about their choice since they cannot address to a gaming authority if any kind of problem with a gaming operator occurs.
Online Casinos Spain
Until 2015, Spanish residents played at offshore online casinos as there were no licensed online casinos registered in this European country.
After the new law came into effect in 2015, licences were granted to ten new operators and 20 existing operators who added slots to their offer.
After the Gambling Act was introduced, players must play at licensed Spanish online casinos which means that now they can play in a regulated environment.
Operators without appropriate licenses are not allowed to advertise or promote betting activities and casino sites.
Since the Act enabled Spanish authorities to impose large fines on offshore casinos trying to cater to Spanish players, more than 50 sites withdraw from the market to avoid legal proceedings.
Today only poker is still in a grey area, since Spanish residents can play poker only against their fellow citizens which prevents them from taking part in international tournaments. This is the reason why Spanish players still play poker on casino sites which are not licensed by the Spanish authority.
On the other hand, operators compete to attract slot players with hard-to-resist offers such as generous sign-up bonuses, promotions and free spins.
Online Casinos France
When it comes to online gambling laws, France is a special case as it is practically impossible for gaming operators to get a license.
Although gambling laws don’t address players, those who want to play at an online casino have to be very careful as many gaming operators try to take advantage of the overall situation on the market.
It may strike you as a bit awkward that the country where many casino games including the 52-card deck came from has an unregulated gambling market, but one of the reasons is the protections of the big land-based casino industry.
The most important information for French players is that playing at online casinos registered abroad in not breaking the law.
Since 2010 when the Gambling Act came into effect and the regulatory authority for online games was established, the monopoly of the state-owned companies was broken and the French market was opened to other EU gaming operators. However, licenses were not granted to casinos offering slots and table games as they were considered as “too addictive” by the French authorities.
So far, at the websites holding French licenses, players can enjoy sports betting and poker.
Italy Online Casinos
Italy is a country with a long gambling tradition, dating back to the days of the Roman Empire. Not only that Baccarat was invented in this European country, but its first casino which still caters to players was established back in 1638. Even the word “casino” is Italian.
The Italian government made the regulations more liberal in 2006 which transformed the Italian market into one of the largest and most lucrative in Europe.
Although there were times when more than 500 casino sites which were not registered in Italy were blocked, since 2009 fixed odds games, poker and live action games were regulated and legalised.
Slot machines were finally legalised in 2012.
The days of the stringent Italian legislation prohibiting even licensed European gambling operators are over, but operators who want to offer their online services to Italian residents still have to meet certain requirements which include financial, technical and other aspects of the business.
For instance, a gaming operator has to manage games in Europe with a turnover of no less than €1,500,000 in the last two years; it must have its official residence and technical support in one of the EU countries and providing stable, safe and easy-to-use services.
Eastern Europe Online Casinos
When it comes to Eastern Europe, the situation with online gambling differs from the West.
While the European Commission made the governments of the Western countries change their rigid laws and make the market more liberal, some of the Eastern countries still defy these requirements. However, countries such as Romania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have accepted the new policies on online gambling and allowed operators other than state-owned companies to hold licenses.
The Romanian market is very attractive to online gaming operators and a dozen of them have already got provisional licenses. This has happened due to the remote gambling legislation passed in Romania at the end of 2010. However, it took 5 years for operators to get a license leaving the Bulgarian market behind.
Most countries from Eastern Europe allowed online gambling since 2010 which dismissed the state-owned companies’ monopoly and permitted online gambling for licensed operators providing their services based within the particular country.
Eastern Europe is the emerging market for the big gaming operators as this region boasts a great potential and hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic players despite not so fast growing economies.
European Online Casinos Summary
Although the scene is quite diverse, you can still find reputable online casinos in Europe to play at.
Before you take part in this form of entertainment check the regulations imposed by your country and make sure that a gaming venue you want to play at accepts the players from it.
Keep in mind that a reputable online casino needs to be licensed and regulated by a trustworthy authority which guarantees that its services comply with the high industry standards.
Besides the license, a trusted online casino also needs certificates from independent auditors which prove that the games it provides are totally fair and that safety is at the highest possible level.
The most reputable casinos catering to European players hold the licenses issued by Malta, Gibraltar, the Netherlands Antilles, The Isle of Man, Cyprus or the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. However, the majority of online casinos accepting European players are regulated by the UK Gaming Commission or Malta.
Depending on the country you come from, you can choose from a variety of banking methods to make your deposits and withdrawals including
- Credit cards like Visa, MasterCard or Diners Club International and debit cards like Visa, Maestro or Electron.
- Among supported payment options are also e-wallets like Neteller, PayPal, Entropay and Skrill.
- Prepaid cards such as PaySafeCard, EcoCard, Click2Pay and more.
- You are also allowed to use instant Wire Transfer, internet banking, online bank transfer or cheques in many countries.
You can easily find a casino which accepts EUR, but if your country uses another currency, try to find one which supports it.
Before you choose a banking method, visit the Banking section to learn all about timeframes and fees.
Most players prefer using international payment methods such as Skrill and Neteller as they allow you to carry out transactions without revealing your financial data.