A truly European sector

Online gambling is truly cross-border. Our member companies hold licenses in 19 EU member states, adding up to a total of more than 134 licenses to provide their services in the EU.

In Europe the regulation of gambling is a national policy competence, which means that each EU Member State has different rules for controlling gambling activity.

As a result, Europe has developed into 28 different mini online gambling markets which seek to regulate an inherently cross border economic activity. This fragmented regulatory environment causes significant challenges to regulators, consumers and for online gambling operators – it disadvantages consumers who are not treated equally across all EU member states and having 28 mini internet gambling markets adds burdens in administrative replication, compliance and cost for operators. EGBA member companies hold licenses in 19 EU Member States and, as a result, collectively possess more than 134 online gambling licenses in order to do so, averaging 7 licenses per country.

Reflecting the need to ensure compliance across multiple member state jurisdictions, EGBA members have also established offices in 14 different EU countries, employing more than 33,000 people, from a range of nationalities, in digital and high quality jobs.

Despite regulatory divergence the online gambling sector is highly regulated

Online gambling regulation, although relatively new, has been seen rapid advancement in Europe. And the shift has been remarkable – from a situation of basically no regulation in Europe, only 10 years ago, to a rapidly thriving and highly regulated market. To meet the regulatory requirements in EU member states online gambling operators conduct regular licensing audits to ensure that their company and its activities are in compliance with the licensing rules set down by the respective national gambling. In 2017, EGBA members completed 56 licensing audits, 16 of which included specific anti-money laundering checks.

It’s a truly European sector – and it faces truly European challenges

The nature of the internet means that people who gamble will always be searching online for variety or the best offers, and this may lead them to play on gambling sites which are not licensed within their country. National gambling regulators have tried to grapple with this challenge, of nationalising internet activity, with varied results. Often national enforcement activities employ restrictive measures such geo-blockings or payment blockings to prevent online gambling websites which are not licensed in that jurisdiction from offering products to customers there. But the invention of tools such as Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) means that blocking restrictions can be bypassed and it is becoming more and more difficult to enforce national borders on the internet in Europe.

EGBA wants to see further deepening of the European Digital Single Market to ensure that European citizens can better access entertainment services online, including gambling services, without national border restrictions – and benefit from the common rules and standards of the single market.

Key facts:

  • In Europe, gambling policy is a national competence. As a result, there 28 different mini online gambling markets operating in isolation from each other.
  • Online gambling is truly cross-border. EGBA member companies offer their services across 19 EU Member States, collectively possessing more than 134 different online gambling licenses in order to do so, averaging 7 licenses per country.
  • EGBA members have established offices in 14 different EU countries, employing more than 33,000 people, from a range of nationalities, in digital and high quality jobs.
  • The online gambling sector is highly regulated. In 2017, EGBA members completed 56 licensing audits, 16 of which included specific anti-money laundering checks.
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