Moving to Northern Europe and interested to know whether or not online gambling is legal there? Here's an overview of the iGaming regulation in this region.
Germany iGaming Regulation
The 16 states in Germany made a landmark decision early 2020. The state leaders became one in approving a new set of gambling regulations that would finally make online casinos and online poker legal in the country.
Beginning July 1 this year, the new gambling laws will take effect. This marks a new era for the iGaming market in Germany, as well as heightens hopes to end the growing black market. Under the new laws, online betting platforms will be regulated and must comply with the authorities’ goals to ensure player protection and limit problem gambling.
As Germany legalizes online casinos and online poker, however, there are certain rules that operators must take note of. For instance, they must set the stake limit to 1 EUR per spin for the slot games, which should be offered separately from the table games in their inventory. The games should also not have jackpots or auto-play functions.
There are also restrictions in place for online sportsbooks. In fact, online sports betting sites like Sportsbet.io left the German market in compliance with the new gambling regulation to take effect mid 2021.
Iceland iGaming Regulation
When it comes to online gambling regulation, Iceland is far behind Germany. In general, gambling is illegal in Iceland, but you can still play lottery games, bingo, and slots, as well as bet on sports only if it is non-profit or is for charity gambling organized by either The University of Iceland or Íslandsspil.
This means that online gambling is also deemed illegal. But there is a gray area because the country does not take any actions toward those who play in unlicensed offshore online casinos. The reason behind this is the 2016 European Union (EU) Court of Justice ruling, which prevents EU countries or those part of the European Economic Area (EEA) from prosecuting players who sign up and wager at unlicensed gambling websites and platforms.
Efforts to make casinos legal in Iceland gained ground in 2020, but there are no news yet about any development.
Norway iGaming Regulation
Unlike in Iceland, gambling is legal in Norway, but only through those organized by two fully state-owned companies Norsk Tipping AS and Norsk Rikstoto. People can play lottery, scratch cards, instant games, and sports betting via the products of Norsk Tipping AS. They can engage in horse racing betting with Norsk Rikstoto.
In Norway, there is the Payment Act of 2010 that obligates banks in Norway to prevent their customers from using credit and debit cards in both land-based and in online casinos in foreign countries. This means that Norwegians can only spend their money on gambling via the state-owned companies.
Players, however, have a work around this rule by using e-wallets like Neteller to play in unlicensed offshore online casinos. Operators who will be caught providing Norwegian players with access to online gambling services will face penalties.
Sweden iGaming Regulation
You might give more priority to Sweden when it comes to online gambling because gambling is legal in Sweden. Long gone is the monopoly of the state-owned company Svenska Spel because the Swedish gambling market has now transformed since 2019. Now, private operators can join the market, provided that they get a Swedish gambling license to legally operate in the country.
Playing games online in offshore unlicensed online casinos will not cost the players. The burden will be on the unlicensed operators as they will be fined for their malpractice. Players, on the other hand, will have trouble accessing unlicensed online casinos and gambling websites because the government has instructed internet service providers in the country to block foreigh gambling websites.
Denmark iGaming Regulation
Danske Licens Spil is the state-owned entity in charge of the online gambling sector, but private companies are welcome to set up shop in Denmark. Yes, gambling is legal in Denmark, especially online gambling since 2012.
Online operators, however, must first acquire a license from the Danish Gambling Authority in order to legally operate in the country. With this set-up, players no longer have to venture into unlicensed offshore online casinos just to be able to play games or bet on sports. Any one unlicensed operator caught targeting Danes will be blacklisted, and this is the effect of the country’s strict enforcement of its gambling laws.
Finland iGaming Regulation
You will find several Suomi casinos in Finland and this is because gambling is legal in Finland. Since years ago, the Finnish government has already been controlling gambling, and this explains why this country is among the largest gambling nations.
The state of gambling in Finland, however, is a monopoly as this market is controlled by four entities: Veikkaus Oy, Fintoto Oy, RAY, and PAF. And when it comes to online gambling, PAF and RA are the organizations in charge.
While online gambling is legal, it should be noted that only operators licensed and under the said two organizations are allowed to legally operate in Finland. This, however, does not mean that players can also play outside of most Suomi casinos. There is no law prohibiting Finnish people from placing bets in unlicensed casino sites, and this explains why some players can still play even in offshore Bitcoin casino sites.
Meanwhile, Ukraine unlocks its potential in iGaming market, and foreign iGaming operators can now apply an online gambling license in the country.
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