The State of Online Gambling in Europe
Posted in Industry March 17, 2017

The State of Online Gambling in Europe: Switzerland, Sweden, UK

Millions of people gamble and nowadays the vast majority of them do so online. This method is simple and convenient, but most importantly, it allows almost everyone to enjoy the thrill of the game. However, gambling is no simple matter, especially where state taxes and legislation are concerned, so every country has its unique outlook on this industry. The laws and regulations governing it shift all the time and a wise gambler should be aware of the changes to keep track of the best online casinos.
Some countries, like the US, are blocking online gambling completely. Although, recent bills introduced in different states, weaken the tight hold of these restrictions. Europe has always been more open minded towards this part of the entertainment industry, but not all EU countries view it with equal favour.

Switzerland Is About to Be Closed to International Gambling Websites

Swiss lawmakers have been on the gamblers’ case for a few months now. In January, they came up with a proposed regulation that would prevent foreign online gambling websites from operating within their country. The idea was to use IP-blockage in order to shut off the international gambling operators completely.

Of course, not everyone was happy with such a proposal and the gamblers of Switzerland held hopes that it wouldn’t go through. After all, IP-blockage is a rather inefficient way to actually block something today. Most browsers can go around such restrictions with ease, and the blockage itself may affect a variety of content, not only the gambling websites.

The protest from Swiss telecoms was the loudest, and it was the main reason to hope that the restriction wouldn’t get enough support. One has to admit that the campaign for this regulation lost some of its momentum and seemed to be losing completely for a short while.

However, despite all this effort to stop the impending blockage, the restrictive iGaming legislation still stands and it would be discussed on the 15th of March. Whether it manages to go through or not would be announced somewhere after the 17th of March as this would be the end of the legislative session.

Swiss gamblers shouldn’t lose hope just yet as the arguments against the regulation are quite strong. Internet providers remind the lawmakers that blockages of this type have been tried in different industries and all of them failed due to the inefficiency of the current methods.

This whole act is supposed to promote Swiss gambling operators. At least, this seems to be the logical assumption as no one else seems to benefit from it. Even the matter of gambling taxation is untouched by the new regulation, so the state doesn’t really get the incentive of selling expensive licenses to the select few. This particular paragraph is often the clincher for gambling legislation. However, the terms of this law clearly state that international gambling operators wouldn’t be able to apply for a license no matter what.

More Chances for International Operators in the Swedish Gambling Industry

Sweden is a highly lucrative field for building a structured online gambling industry. Although, at the moment, the laws concerning this particular field are quite murky. Gambling via international websites isn’t really illegal, but it’s not strictly legal either. This state of affairs has been holding for many years, but it seems that the Swedish government is finally ready to restructure their gambling legislation, following Denmark’s example.

At the moment, international gambling operators prosper greatly in Sweden with their turnover rate increasing steadily. Last year alone they’ve grown by 16%, while the leading local operator Svenska Spel has only increased by 2%. It must be noted that the actual number of gamblers going to the 100% legal local operator is greater, but the people going to the foreign websites spend much more money on gambling. Therefore, restructuring the legislation and offering gambling licenses to international operators seems to be a very clever idea that would benefit Sweden in the long run.

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More Online Gamblers in the UK

While the number of people interested in online gambling has been steadily increasing all over the world, the UK took the initiative to study the patterns of this growth. It’s not surprising seeing as how the UK Gambling Commission is one of the most trusted gambling authorities in the world and this country has never been ashamed to show support of this industry.

According to the latest survey almost half the Britons (48.4%) have gambled, which is a 4% increase compared to last year. There are more male gamblers than female, although the difference is small, less than 3%. The National Lottery is one of the favored activities of British gamblers as 30% of the respondents have played it, and about 55% of all gamblers use their laptops to engage in this activity.

Britons have turned out to be frequent gamblers to boot as over 35% of the respondents claim they enjoy their favorite games at least once a week. If the trends from the UK carry on to other countries, we can see another boost in online gambling’s popularity in the near future.

Don’t forget to also read our first piece in our series on online gambling legislation where we focused on Russia, US and Kenya.

Casino Legislation, Gambling Legislation, Online Gambling, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom