European Online Casinos
Europe has a long gambling tradition that includes one of the most famous casinos in the world, Monaco’s Monte Carlo Casino complex, which was first opened in 1856. Since then, gambling has had its ups and downs in Europe, but the love of casino gambling has always persisted.
Today, that love for casinos has extended into the realm of online gambling. The Internet is home to hundreds of casinos that are available for European players to take advantage of. However, while the European Union has leant some uniformity to European laws, there is still plenty of variation when it comes to the options and restrictions that apply European gamblers. Depending on the country you live in, the specifics of what is available to you may differ. While we’ll try to give as much information as possible below, keep in mind that you should check on the laws that apply to your nation in particular before gambling online.
Best European Online Casinos 2012
Bet365 Casino (www.Bet365.com) is one the most popular gambling brands in Europe, and is available in almost every European language. With well over 150 casino games to enjoy, as well as an excellent selection of live dealer games, it is no wonder the Bet365 Casino is so popular amongst European players. You can also enjoy all the top 3D slot machines including The Slotfather and A Night in Paris – and all new players will receive up to €150 in bonus money!
7Red (www.7Red.com) is available in 13 different European languages and has rapidly become one of the top online casinos amongst players in Europe. The website has a ‘classy’ look and feel about it and features the best online slot machines – including all of the excellent 3D slot machines from Betsoft Gaming, such as Mr Vegas, Mamma Mia, and Ned and his Friends. All new players who sign up via 3DSlots.net will receive a 100% up to €100 welcome bonus.
Mr Green (www.MrGreen.com) was launched in 2008 and if you are from Sweden you will probably already have heard about it. Mr Green has been voted Sweden’s Best Gaming Site for three consecutive years and features almost 200 fun and exciting casino games, with exceptional graphics. One of the reasons Mr Green has become so popular amongst European players is because they are constantly offering generous bonuses and free spins.
Can Europeans Play in Online Casinos?
By and large, the answer to this question is yes. In the vast majority of European countries, some form of online gambling is legal and openly available. However, that doesn’t mean that you will necessarily be able to access every online casino in your country.
For instance, some nations have put regulatory schemes into place that allow citizens to play at casino sites – but only those sites that have specifically applied for licenses in that country. One great example of this system is France, which recently began a regulatory system for online gambling. Under the system, online casino operators could apply for licenses with the French government. Once those licenses are approved, the operators can then set up a site specifically for the French market. These sites are not available for players outside of France; at the same time, any company that offers a French site cannot also allow French players to play on their international site. This isn’t much of a problem for casino players, though it does restrict the player pool at poker sites specifically targeted at France.
Some nations – Germany, for instance – still have laws preventing online gambling sites from operating in those countries. However, the overall trend has been a move towards gambling liberalization, and even in Germany, there has been some movement towards allowing more online gambling activity to take place.
Legal Issues for European Online Gambling
Most European players won’t encounter too many legal issues when attempting to gamble online. As we’ve mentioned, different nations may have differing laws when it comes to the availability of online gambling in their country, but there are few – if any – cases of playing at online casinos being illegal for the players themselves.
However, there are other issues worth mentioning when it comes to online gambling in Europe. For instance, the deposit methods available to players can vary wildly depending on the exact regulations in place in each country. Some countries have taken a similar approach to the United States in regulating online gambling; for instance, in Norway, there are laws that prevent transactions between banks and online gambling companies. However, online gambling sites usually offer deposit and withdrawal options that seek to work around these restrictions.
In most cases, though, European players enjoy a wide range of banking options when funding online gambling accounts. In many countries, there are even specialized deposit and withdrawal methods that take advantage of local banking networks to provide a secure and instant way to make deposits.
Another issue that will vary depending on your location is the issue of taxes. In our page on online casinos in the UK, we mentioned that there were no taxes on gambling there, and there are some other nations where this is also the case. That said, this policy is not the standard in all European countries – at least not for all players. In France, for instance, while most players do not have to pay taxes on gambling winnings, those players who are considered professional gamblers are required to report their winnings as income. In other countries, all players are required to report gambling winnings on their taxes, though the rates these winnings are taxed at varies.
Future Outlook for European Online Casinos
While every country in Europe could conceivably have a different future when it comes to online casinos, it’s likely that – at least in the European Union – the trend will be towards standardization. Many of the laws that restrict online gambling have come under increased scrutiny in recent years, and it’s quite possible that the EU could see significant liberalization of gambling laws in the near future. Even those countries that have traditionally been strongly against online gambling may eventually move to a licensing system similar to the ones used in France and Italy – systems that appear to have passed muster under EU law.