Online gambling regulations in EU & UK

Online gambling regulations and traditional gambling regulations are both constantly evolving in the EU and UK to ensure all parties involved are treated well and protected, despite sometimes causing friction between regulators and players or users.

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Why Online Gambling needs to be regulated in Europe and UK

Why online gambling needs to be regulated in Europe and UK

Online gambling is a constantly evolving field and one that absolutely requires regulation. It’s still a relatively new field and while providing many advantages like convenience, it’s also very open to abuse, thus the need for regulation.

There are many issues that gambling in general faces, many of which are highlighted with online gambling. Things like underage gambling, money muling, and fraud are all simpler to accomplish online than through traditional gambling, which means heavy regulation is needed to combat these issues.

For example, robust player verification methods need to be enforced to ensure underage gambling is prevented. It’s relatively simple for an underaged user to claim to be someone else online, so regulation needs to be put into place to enforce strict verification methods. The same goes for enforcing things like strong Anti-Money Laundering processes.

What are the benefits of regulatory compliance?

Compliance with government regulations is critical for any business, but it is especially important for iGaming/online gambling companies operating in Europe and the UK. Here is why compliance with regulatory requirements helps to build trust with customers and create a positive reputation for the business:

1. Platform development 

One of the biggest benefits of regulatory compliance is platform development. Many regulations push operators to develop their platforms, be it enforcing strict identity verification methods or secure data storage.

2. Combating crime 

Many regulations work directly to benefit operators. There are many regulations which enforce strong anti-money laundering and security processes and help operators avoid being victims of fraud and enabling money muling.  

3. Easing entering new markets 

Being compliant with regulations in strict markets like Europe is a huge step to being ready to enter new markets. By meeting requirements set out by regulators, it should be easier to meet many regulations in new and developing gambling markets.

4. Reducing risk 

The goal of regulators is to make the gambling market a safe and fair place for both operators and players. Many regulations serve to encourage operators to reduce risk – for example by requiring development of data storage systems where it is almost impossible to permanently lose vital data.  

5. Improving brand reputation 

Many regulations serve to protect players as much as operators. Things like anti underage gambling or player gambling control tools are beneficial processes put into place through regulations and if implemented well show the public that operators care about their players.

6. Avoiding legal issues 

Operators can face many legal issues through Online Gambling and regulations go a long way to avoid just that. For example, underage gambling prevention regulations help operators avoid legal issues by ensuring there are proper processes in place to stop underage gambling.

With advancements in technology, Online Gambling regulation continues to evolve, with many regions in the world adapting to the Online Gambling market.

The online gambling regulation landscape

Online gambling regulation has seen sweeping changes and continuous evolution since it first took form. The Malta Gaming Authority was one of the first to regulate online gambling in 2001, paving the way for other countries and markets to begin their own regulation, including the UK Gambling Act 2005, The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), European Casino Association (ECA), and others.

With advancements in technology, online gambling regulation continues to evolve, with many regions in the world adapting to the online gambling market.

Which regulations apply for which type of gaming platforms?

Regulations target different types of online gaming platforms, with different countries and authorities setting their own regulations. Some fully legalize all forms of online gambling, while others heavily limit or outright ban specific types like online casinos.

Despite overarching EU laws, many states still have their own regulations, which can be heavily different from others. As such, it’s vital to look into individual countries’ regulations, alongside EU laws.

Compliance with regulations in the EU and UK is key to success for online gambling operators.

How to be compliant with European regulations as a gambling platform.

Being compliant with European regulations is a tough challenge. The region is not only one of the strictest in the world, but also features over a dozen different regulators, all doing things their own way.

In order to navigate the maze of compliance, operators will need to set up robust systems, including through identity verification and anti-money laundering processes, as well as secure and detailed databases.

This can be a huge undertaking and that’s why IDnow is here to help. We offer a variety of tools to help operators become compliant in not only Europe, but in over 195 countries around the world. Our automated identity verification service provides seamless, AI-powered verification that allows players to easily register within minutes, removing the hassle and providing a simple step-by-step process.

All users need to complete the onboarding process is a few minutes of their time and a mobile phone or computer with a camera. Best of all, AutoIdent meets all European market standards,

KYC and AML requirements, and is ready for scalability.

Questions & answers on online gambling regulations in EU & UK

How is gambling regulated in the UK?

Gambling in the United Kingdom is regulated by the Gambling Commision, who acts as the core regulator and authority for gambling in the country. The UK’s gambling laws are based on the Gambling Act 2005, but proposals for change were included in a 2023 government white paper. Said changes are predicted to come into force by mid 2024.

How much is spent on online gambling in Europe?

Europe is one of the biggest online gaming markets in the world, having generated €24.5bn in gross gaming revenue 2019 and it is expected to generate €31.2bn by the end of 2022. The UK makes up the biggest market share, with over 30% of Europe’s online gambling market revenue, followed by Germany and France, according to The European Gaming & Betting Association.

What is the outlook of the overall market growth for iGaming in Europe and the UK?  

There are positive signs for the iGaming market in Europe and the UK. It saw a 19% increase from 2020 compared to 2021 across Europe and continues to be widely adopted.

Online gambling is expected to see steady growth over the next few years, with gross gaming revenue forecast to rise from €31.2bn by the end of 2022 to €52bn by the end of 2026. Meanwhile land-based gambling is expected to remain fairly stagnant.  

Who regulates Online Gambling in Germany? 

Online gambling in Germany is regulated by license issuers or individual states, rather than one overarching regulator. With that being said, all states have agreed to a key agreement, Glücksspielstaatsvertrag (aka the State Treaty on Gambling), which outlines rules and regulations that will be consistent across the country.

The aim of Glücksspielstaatsvertrag is to set out a basic standard, focusing on player protection and allowing citizens to gamble online in a safe way.  

What are other emerging online gambling markets?

Online gambling is a rapidly growing industry, with new markets emerging all the time. One of the most recent emerging markets is Ontario, Canada. The Canadian Gaming Association estimates that there are currently over 2 million online gamblers in Ontario alone. This number is only expected to grow in the coming years.
There are numerous reasons why Ontario is an attractive market for online gambling operators.

First of all, the province has a large population. Secondly, it has a relatively high household income. Finally, there is a growing interest in online gambling among the general population. As more and more people become aware of the advantages of online gambling, it is likely that the market will continue to grow in Ontario and other parts of Canada.

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Keep up with fast-changing regulations

The iGaming/online gambling sector moves quickly. New technologies and opening market access are hallmarks of the industry. This comes with regulatory challenges, though. 


Online gambling regulations in the EU & UK

Learn how to keep pace with the fastchanging gaming regulations in the EU & UK.
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Gambling regulations 101: Europe and the UK.

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