A Guide to EU Online Casinos, Bonuses and More
The European Union is currently made up of 28 member states, which makes talking about online gambling in the EU somewhat tricky. Because each nation is in charge of their own gambling legislation and there is no overarching rulebook for online gambling, we must take a broad look at the situation across the Union.
The EU is the largest market for online gambling in the world, generating some 48% of the industry’s total revenue. With an estimated population of about 515 million people, this should come as no surprise.
There is no comprehensive EU-wide regulation on gambling specifically, though operators must follow rules aimed at preventing money laundering and other crimes. However these apply to any business handling a lange volume of financial transactions and are not specific to gambling operators.
On this page we will be exploring a general overview of gambling in the European Union, the legality of gambling in different member states and how licensing works in the region.
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Is Online Gambling Legal in the EU?
Of the 28 EU member states, 7 place restrictions on gambling, either in part or completely. These are Poland, Lithuania, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, France, and the Czech Republic.
If we look at the European Economic Area, which encompasses some nations that are not members of the EU but form part of the European single market, there are two countries that place some restriction on gambling and these are Iceland and Norway.
When it comes to gambling laws, it can be difficult to pin things down simply because laws are constantly changing to keep up with modern times. For example, early on in 2019, the Solvakian parliament nullified a veto on online casino games, which means that the market for sports betting and interactive casinos is now open to operators. Belarus, in 2018, moved towards actively drafting new online gambling legislation, which will no doubt change the legal landscape significantly in years to come.
An important consideration for EU-based players is licensing. Much like the broader legal situation, it can be a little complex but luckily, all licensing in the EU can be grouped into one of three categories, which makes it much easier to understand. We will discuss licensing further down this page.
How we Review the Top EU Casinos
All players want and deserve a high quality gambling experience and finding casinos that fit the bill can be a chore for the individual. Gambling Metropolis has done all the hard work for you and collected some of the finest brands in the business. We take our job very seriously and follow a strict set of criteria when recommending casinos.
Safety & Security
Safety and security is the Number 1 priority. When activities involve personal data and financial transactions, like when you are depositing at an online casino, you want to know that everything is above board and securely handled. We will only recommend casinos that prioritise player safety at all times.
The welcome bonus isn’t the only important thing about a casino but it certainly is at the top of that list. A welcome bonus or package can set the tone for a player’s entire experience at the casino and we always want that experience to shine. You will find attractive and fair casino welcome bonuses in our casino reviews.
Whenever you are using your hard-earned cash, you want to be completely sure that it is being handled professionally and swiftly. We make sure that the casinos we recommend all offer a choice of trusted and recognised payment methods, to give players that peace of mind.
Having a reasonable payout time is a sign of a casino’s understanding of what is important to players i.e. getting their winnings into their bank account as quickly as possible. Casinos that offer fast payouts are included in our toplist pages.
At this point, having a mobile-enabled site is no longer an option, it is a must-have. We test and review each casino’s mobile offering and give our appraisal of its performance, range and choice.
Players will look to customer support when things go wrong and even though we don’t wish them to ever go wrong, it’s good to know that there is someone willing to help when they do. We review the provision of customer support at the casinos we recommend and list important details such as player support opening hours, available languages and the number of support channels.
Established Game Providers
We believe that quality games are made by quality game studios. Fair and random play can only be guaranteed if the underlying software is up to scratch and the best way to prove that is to have it tested by independent auditors. Reputable game providers will only release a game for public use if it has passed all the technical tests for fairness.
We will never recommend a casino that hosts games from a shady game developer because we feel this puts our readers at risk of shady behaviour and guarantees disappointment at some point down the line.
Licence and regulations
Gambling Metropolis will only display casinos that hold legitimate and reputable operating licenses. There are plenty of sites out there offering gambling services without holding a gambling license and as a rule, we advise our readers to stay well away from them.
Being licensed means that an operator has to abide by certain standards of player protection, crime prevention and fairness, which unlicensed casinos are not obligated to follow. Often making use of unlicensed games, these casinos are frequently accused of withholding payouts, confiscating funds unfairly are other unsavoury behaviours.
Playing With Real Money – Can You Deposit Euro at EU Online Casinos?
Absolutely! The Euro is one of the most widely accepted currencies if not the most widely accepted. Players based in Europe also have a huge selection of payment methods at their disposal. These include Paypal, Paysafecard, Zimpler, Neteller, Skrill, uKash, iDeal, credit and debit cards, Visa, Mastercard and Amex.
EU players will have no problem at all topping up their player accounts because the majority of top casino brands are currently based in the EU, which means transactions are easier, safer and faster. The European Union has strict rules about preventing money laundering in the Union so operators are obligated to do their homework thoroughly before a withdrawal is approved.
While these Know Your Client (KYC) procedures may seem like an added obstacle to players, they are an important part of keeping gamblers safe and preventing online casinos from being manipulated and abused.
Which Casino Games are Available in EU
EU players can enjoy the whole range of casino games and betting options available. This includes slots, jackpots, table games, scratch cards, keno, bingo, lotteries, live casino, sports betting and any other game category.
Popular Casinos Accepting EU Players
Players in the European Union are spoiled for choice when it comes to selecting which casino to play at simply because so many of them are available. We can safely say that all the online casinos reviewed here at Gambling Metropolis are open to EU players, with most restricting players from nations that ban online gambling.
A good example of an EU-friendly casino is Mr Green, which welcomes players to its vast library of games with some amazing welcome bonus deals. Similarly, Casumo, Casimba and Vegas Luck are as accommodating, offering a host of gambling options, professional support teams and fully licensed operations.
Playing Online Casino Games With a Real Live Dealer
Live dealer games continue to grow in popularity and once you have given one a go, it’s easy to understand why. This is a high-tech solution to perhaps the biggest problem of online gambling – it lacks the atmosphere and social element present in a land-based casino. Many gamblers will say that while the games are exciting, it is that opportunity to chat and enjoy the company of others that draws them to the casino floor.
Luckily, technology has given us the answer. Through the magic of live streaming, the actions of a live dealer at a real gambling table are beamed directly to players around the world, who only need to switch on their computers to enjoy the casino feeling without even leaving their homes.
The genre has exploded in popularity in the last few years and has drawn attention from developers seeking to improve the kind of service on offer. This has resulted in many new and exciting titles being released, including ones that are not simply another version of a classic table game. Today, players can enjoy such titles as Deal or No Deal, Monopoly Live and others.
Casino Bonuses and Free Spins
Finding the right casino bonus might seem pretty straightforward but it’s important to understand what a bonus entails before accepting it. This is why we check the casino bonuses we review thoroughly, including all the important details pertaining to the offer right there in our review.
This lets players make educated decisions on whether a bonus is right for them because that choice is not just about finding the biggest bonus or the most free spins. These factors matter too but overall, the relevant terms and conditions are the more important piece of the puzzle.
What is a Bonus Wagering Requirement?
A bonus wagering requirement is a special restriction that most (though not all) casinos put in place to make sure that their promotions are not being abused by players out to make a quick buck. A wagering requirement essentially forces the player to wager either bonus funds, free spins winnings, or a combination of either and the initial deposit amount a certain number of times.
The average range for wagering requirements is between x20 and x50, though some casinos enforce less, others more. This wagering requirement will determine how likely you are to be able to cash out any winnings made off of a bonus. A very high wagering requirement will usually mean that you will use your winnings to work through it.
A growing number of casinos these days are offering wager-free spins as part of their bonuses. This means that players are free to withdraw any winnings that come about as a result of free spins. Always read the T&Cs closely to determine the wagering requirements. Just because they are not immediately clear does not mean that they are not in force.
The Casino Market in EU
The very first six land-based casinos in the world opened in what would become European states – Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Monaco. Today, there are hundreds of land-based venues where players can enjoy gambling activities, not to mention thousands of betting shops, card rooms and others. EU gamblers are never short of options!
Each member state is an independent entity and collating industry data from all 28 of them can prove time-consuming. However, there are some nations that have become or are becoming big players in online gambling. The smallest EU nation, Malta, has become a hub for operators, developers and payment service suppliers.
We are also seeing exciting things from further east, in Hungary, Estonia and Latvia, as talented tech teams put their heads together to develop the next big breakthrough in online gambling. As legislation in each country continues to shift, it will be interesting to see how the legal topography evolves in the coming years.
Online Casinos and Gambling Rules and Regulations in EU
As we mentioned earlier, there is no overarching EU gambling authority and the member states are free to decide for themselves how gambling is regulated in their jurisdictions, assuming that consumer and criminal laws are respected.
That said, there are a number of licensing bodies based in EU countries, and these can be grouped into one of three categories. Countries like Malta and the UK have open licensing systems. This means that any operator who meets the specific licensing criteria set out by the regulator will be given a license.
Next, we have countries like Belgium and Greece, which offer a limited number of licenses that online operators can apply for. It’s important to keep in mind that licensing restrictions can exclude operators if they fall foul of any of the nation’s other laws.
Finally, we have state monopoly licensing. In these countries, such as Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, there is only one license that can be awarded and that is to a single government-owned entity. Essentially, this means that only the state can operate gambling activities in that nation.