We would like to report on news from Europe that directly impacts online casinos and the players who frequent them. Although the European Union sometimes appears monolithic to many people, each country is permitted to regulate online casino gambling as it sees fit. Casinos all offer bonuses and other promotions, free games with few restrictions, tournaments, and other games. Casinos also market themselves to different target audiences.
These and much more are part of the local, national, and regional regulatory atmosphere in Europe.
This small central European country desperately needs tax revenues from online gambling. It has studied regulations of online casinos in other small countries in Europe and recently announced that it is preparing new, far more liberal regulations, of online casino gambling.
The government referred to online gambling as the “digitalization” of gambling. However euphemistic the government wishes to be, the bottom line is that Slovakia will now work on regulations for the online casino market as it pursues tax revenues and seeks to protect its citizens from alleged unfair business practices.
At the present time, the state run casino operator, Tipos, will retain its monopoly on lotteries, raffles, and bingo, it will allow foreign casino operators to run other casino games online.
Slovakia does not have an agency with the scope of the Gambling Commission in Great Britain. The announcement said that the government plans to set up such a commission with full power to monitor online casinos to the fullest extent.
This neighbor of Slovakia already has a mature online casino industry. The news from Austria is that local people are relinquishing control of the Austrian online market and it is being taken over by foreign business concerns.
While online gambling still lags far behind land based gambling in Austria, it gained 11% in 2017 and is the fastest growing gambling sector in the country. The government owns 30% of Casino Austria so is losing revenue to foreign owned and controlled online casinos.
This economically strapped country saw massive growth of nearly 30% in online casino revenues last year with fully half the growth coming from sports betting. Given that sports betting has become the favorite pastime of so many people, the growth in that area is not surprising. It still leaves a huge growth in old fashioned casino gambling at online sites.
The Belgian casino operator Arden bought 44% of the holdings of the Davos interests of the Swiss land based casino company Stadtcasino Baden AG. The move is seen in industry circles as demonstrating that the Swiss company is gearing up for the introduction of online gambling in Switzerland.
In Davos, the city owns 10% of the casino properties.
The Swiss company said that the sale was based on Arden’s vast experience in both the land based and the online casino business. As an online casino concern, Arden has interests in Belgium, Spain, and Portugal in Europe plus in Colombia in South America.
Swiss citizens will vote on June 10 in a nationwide referendum whether they want to approve the new casino regulations or not. The main point of the new laws is that all online casino operators must be partnered with a local land based casino.
Swiss land based casinos have complained for years that online casinos had drastically cut into their profits. As land based casinos have fixed expenses, the success of online casinos has led to the legislation to be decide on June 10 which would give land based casinos tremendous control over online gambling.
A new online casino has been announced for the Swedish market. It will be called hajper.com and will be regulated through Malta. The new casino promises easier game play as it will be served by a more powerful server for faster responses. In addition, it promises faster withdrawals without all of the onerous paper work that gamblers hate when they want to access their winnings. Some of the paper work will remain, of course, but the new casino announced that it intends on streamlining the withdrawal process to the benefit of players.
Sports betting has decreased in Portugal so the government is looking to increased online casino gambling to generate the tax revenues it so desperately needs. Sports betting is still the largest source of online gambling but saw a 3% drop at the end of last year. Casino gambling rose fueled by the renewed popularity of slots.
It is interesting that sports betting saw a slight drop in Portugal as it continues to increase in popularity in many other European countries. One speculation is that because British, Spanish, and Italian sports fans are so rabid about football, it fuels more sports betting as a percentage of overall gambling done in those countries.
The European Casino Market
As elsewhere, land based casinos still draw large crowds but these large crowds are increasingly of holiday goers even those from within the EU. Online gambling is fast becoming more popular than land based gambling. There are three reasons for this phenomenon, two of which are quite logical and one that is both socially and politically incorrect but may account for some of the online casino success seen in many European countries.
First, there is no denying the convenience of online casinos. Europeans are known for their love of the easy-going lifestyle and online gambling beats travelling to a land based casino for anyone looking for a more relaxing gambling venue.
Europeans are becoming aware that land based casinos pay less than online casinos because they have far more overhead.
Finally, there has been something of an uptick in violence in Europe in the last few years and there is some thought that especially women have chosen not to frequent land based casinos.
In the future, we can expect to see more online casinos in Europe, stricter regulation, and higher taxes. In the end, the people will accept the regulations because they give confidence that the casinos are run fairly and will accept the taxes because the governments need the money.