The latest gambling regulation changes in Europe
We can all agree that gambling is something that is sometimes frowned upon, a taboo if you will, with many believing that all forms and types of gambling lead to gambling addictions. That statement and notion are not fair. Not fair on the player and not fair on gambling sites. Not all gambling leads to addictions, and with the technology advancements that online gambling has witnessed nowadays, many sites have built-in fraud and gambling addiction tools, that help gamblers play in a safe space whilst still affording their play.
Needless to say, many governing bodies across the globe always try their best and offer ways and means to regulate gambling. How to safeguard the player at all times, whilst at the same time, giving the power and autonomy to brand new bookmakers to establish a safe gambling environment for all. Hence, today we look at how Europe is aiming to change gambling regulations, to ensure players are protected, as much as gambling sites are. So let’s have a quick look at the top countries in Europe and the changes that they are implementing when it comes to gambling regulations.
When it comes to Nordic countries we all know that they love to gamble. One of the biggest operators and game providers NetEnt is indeed Swedish and part of the Nordic gambling sphere. When it comes to gambling in Finland, bonuses are a massive “No”, so Finnish players playing at Finnish-based operators cannot land a bonus or welcome offer from the gambling sites. Of course, Finns that opt to play at other non-Finnish sites will have the facility and option to scoop a bonus, with some casinos also banning any form of bonuses to land at a Finnish e-wallet.
Unfortunately for Finland, the country is being pushed towards gambling only to the state-owned betting and bingo site Veikkaus, as from 2023, the Finnish government will be introducing a law that prohibits gamblers from transferring funds to a non-Finnish gambling site. With Veikkaus gambling sites not reaching the limits in offering solid game content, Finnish players have been seeking foreign casinos to play and gamble. This new law and regulation will not be welcomed with open arms, and most probably will see many Finnish players use VPNs to continue enjoying gambling in a fashionable way.
Just like Finland, Sweden also had a state of monopoly with the government-owned Svenska Spel gambling site. Of course the content was not as vast as other sites offered, hence gambler retention was not as stellar. With this in mind, the Government of Sweden needed to act fast and offer a viable solution for everyone. Instead of taking the approach that Finland has taken, Sweden decided to open the market further and start offering Swedish gambling licenses, that would allow many online casinos and bookies to set up home in Sweden. Was this a better move than their neighbors Finland took? Most definitely, as many new brands are starting to set up shop in Sweden, enjoying a Swedish gambling license that facilitates the gameplay of all Swedish players joining gambling sites.
In terms of bonuses, Swedish players are allowed to walk away with bonuses when playing at a Swedish licensed online casino, however, some terms and conditions do apply.
If you happen to want to open an online casino, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission Gambling License is the one license that you need to have. This license is one of the most stringent, and any online bookmakers that do not abide by the rules and regulations imposed by the UKGC will be fined heavily. It is also known that the UKGC may revoke a gambling license at any time if the governing body feels that the casino is not treating customers fairly or not abiding by the rules imposed.
The UKGC is also a strong body and is close to the government in the United Kingdom. Following extensive research and consultations with GamStop and GamBan, the UKGC decided to join the crusade of combatting problematic gambling. Only in 2020, the UKGC instructed all of its online casinos and bookmakers that moving forward, they will not be allowed to accept credit card payment methods to fund a player’s gameplay. Tough? Maybe, but the UK is one of the countries that have the biggest number of gambling addictions, and regulations need to be implemented and fast.
The term monopoly is something that comes up quite often when we speak and talk about online gaming. Way back in 2017, Norwegians could use any new bookmaker they please to settle the gambling itch. Unfortunately, after that, the Norwegian Government introduced a law that paved the way for Norsk Tipping to be the only gambling site that can operate from Norway.
To make matters worse, the Norwegian government ordered that banks do not accept any transactions to any form of offshore casinos and sports betting sites. The good news is that if Norwegians use an e-wallet, their credit card details will be converted, hence gambling can still go ahead. For many reasons, online casinos do not have any gambling-related information related to the casino, hence this will make it hard for the Bank to reconcile the payment to gambling. The other good news is that there is now a law that bans Norwegian players from joining any offshore gambling sites, hence keeping the door open for Norwegians to wager and play where they see fit, and fun.
The future of gambling in Europe
There are many other countries in Europe that are always looking for ways and means to operate safe online casinos. With the gambler being the key focus, the future of gambling Europe looks more regulated, with more gambling sites looking to set up home in gambling heaven Malta, where the Malta Gambling Commission is not known to be as strict as its counterparts. Also, the UKGC has asked all football teams in the United Kingdom to stop accepting endorsements from big gambling giants, and a ban on that is also in place. We expect more regulations and policies that online casinos would need to adhere to if they want to retain that United Kingdom Gambling Commission gambling license.
In the meantime, we always suggest that you check out the reviews of the next online gambling site your eye falls on. Making sure that the site is licensed and regulated is a must, and so is the good feedback obtained from other gamblers visiting the gambling site before you.
The Slovak Gambling Authority’s systematic check activities help reduce the number of illegal gaming devices
In Q1 2023, the Slovak Gambling Authority conducted 2511 compliance checks, which is 201 more compared to last year.
The significant year-on-year increase in the number of checks is due to the restructuring of surveillance and the strategic set-up of the supervision by the Authority's top management.
"I am very pleased that the goals set up by the current management are also successfully fulfilled in the gambling supervision area. Of course, a big thank you to our local supervisors, who actively investigate illegal devices and supervise the fulfilment of all legal requirements by legal operators.
Having gambling under systematic supervision is one of the main missions of the Authority as a gambling regulator," said the Director General at the Office for the Regulation of Gambling (URHH), Dávid Lenčéš.
More than a 45 % increase against the same period last year was recorded in checks focused on the search of illegal gambling establishments. In the first quarter of 2023, supervisors conducted 437 compliance checks focusing on unlawful gambling as mining and quiz machines, intending to prevent further operation. As Director General said, “Increased systematic check activities of illegal establishments has its justification and brings results as, compared to 2022, the number of detected illegal gaming machines on the market is significantly reduced. Searching for illegal establishments and seizing illegal devices has a preventive nature and ultimately protects society, especially at-risk groups and the youth.”
According to the Gambling Act, small operators, such as pubs, can't operate gaming machines. The URHH must license each gaming machine since it is the only official body authorised to issue a license. Operating gambling without a given license is prohibited in Slovakia.
The Gambling Regulatory Authority also carries out surveillance remotely. In the Q1 of this year, we are talking about an almost 90 % increase in on-site checks compared with last year. Thanks to online access to the servers of gambling operators, this form of supervision allows more effective control of many establishments without physically leaving the workplace.
Establishing a specialised online gaming department in 2022 also contributed to the overall increase of supervision effectiveness over 2022-2023. The mission of the specialised department is to supervise licensed online gambling or searching for and restrict access to illegal websites operating or promoting gambling without valid licenses.
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Spinomenal is set for Switzerland after gaining its B2B permit
Spinomenal, the leading iGaming content provider, is set for launch within the Swiss iGaming market after gaining its B2B permit from regulator Eidgenössische Spielbankenkommission (ESBK).
An integral element in Spinomenal being able to enter the Swiss iGaming space was the fact the company already has its ISO 27001 certificate, an international standard for best practices for information security.
Swiss iGaming players will now be able to access Spinomenal’s stunning library of slots content that includes Demi Gods II, Book of Rebirth, Majestic King and Poseidon’s Rising. Further good news for Switzerland’s online casino community is that they will also be able to begin exploring Spinomenal’s epic Universe concept which binds narratives from a wide selection of its most popular titles.
Spinomenal’s CEO, Lior Shvartz, commented: “We’re very happy to be entering the Swiss market riding on the back of our top-class slots portfolio and supported by our ISO 27001 certificate. The regulated Swiss online casino space represents a great opportunity for us as we continue to deliver on our expansive roadmap.”
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