2018 Sees Many Changes in European Gambling Regulations

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Staff member
May 3, 2008
We are halfway through the year, and it is safe to say that Europe’s regulatory landscape when it comes to gambling has seen many changes already.
It will be interesting to see what the next six months hold for European gambling laws.

While there have been multiple countries who have introduced – or are considering the introduction of – new gambling legislation, the most important changes have been seen,
or anticipated, in five specific countries; namely: The United Kingdom, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

The United Kingdom

Always a forward-thinker when it comes to gambling regulations, the UK started off the New Year with an updated version of its License Conditions and Cods of Practice set of rules, which eventually came into effect in April. The country’s gambling regulator, the UK Gambling Commission, has been extremely active in making long-term proposals that govern marketing and advertising, unfair terms and disputes and complaints.


At the beginning of the year, Italy jumped right into business by launching a tender that would issue 120 online gambling licenses. For the sum of EUR 200,000 each, operators will be able to get their hands on this license that will be valid until 2022. Also important to note is that Italy is part of the online poker liquidity agreement, together with Spain, France and Portugal, where players from these countries can play against each other.


Important changes were announced by Malta’s Gaming Authority last year and came into effect in January 2018. All existing gambling legislation was brought under the more streamlined Gambling Act, creating just two types of gambling licenses in place of the many others that were in existence before, and overall increasing player protection. Due to these positive changes, several big online gambling operators have announced their plans to move their businesses to the island-state.

The Netherlands

Dutch gamblers are keeping a close eye on upcoming changes to online gambling laws. A proposal was made to revise a 2014 law that allowed for unlimited online gambling licenses, so that gambling companies now have to have a physical presence in the country. As of now, no vote has been made to approve or dismiss this proposal and outside operators are keeping a keen eye on any progress in this matter.


The question on everyone’s lips is ‘What will the Swiss do?’ Laws passed last year allowed land casinos, for the first time, to offer online casino games, with the same laws blocking unlicensed online gambling operators. The Swiss government, under pressure from anti-gambling lobbyists who tout gambling addiction as the main reason for their objections, is still deciding how to progress with the implementation of the law.
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