Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

Laws and Online Gambling Popularity in Europe

When it comes to gambling in Europe, different countries have different attitudes, something reflected in the gross gambling yields of the countries. The European gaming market raised a total revenue of 81.1 euros in 2020. Experts have predicted that by 2026 this figure will have increased to 126.3 billion.

Below is a look at laws around gambling in Europe, the popularity of online casinos in the UK and Europe and at why they're such a hit. There's also discussion of whether gambling is more popular in Europe than the USA.

The legal position of Europe on gambling

Although EU countries have different attitudes to gambling, they're free to organise online gambling services in any way they see fit. They must do this, however, in line with the freedoms established under the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union, as interpreted by the Court of Justice of the EU.

The majority of European countries have legalised some games of chance. Some have legalised them all, whereas others only permit certain types such betting, poker and casino games. In some countries, a state controlled public operator or private operator controls the online gambling services, whereas others allow more than one operator to offer services.

Out of the European countries, the UK generated the highest gross gaming revenue in 2020. Italy, Germany, France and Spain all followed respectively. The UK has a relaxed attitude towards gambling. People have a lot of freedom when it comes to how they wish to gamble.

The popularity of online gambling in Europe

The online gambling market is growing in Europe and is expected to register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.20% over the next five years. Casino gambling is one category that is growing fast because of the convenience and excellent user experience.

Technology is having a powerful impact on growth. Virtual reality, blockchain and mobile platforms are all enjoying popularity in the European gambling industry. An increasing number of software and hardware innovations, greater popularity of casino and sports betting and enhanced penetration of the internet are all predicted to drive growth of the online gambling market in Europe. Note that casino gaming refers to table games, such as baccarat, roulette and poker, and to slots, which some players turn to as a form of relaxation. 

Online vs offline
Online casinos also enjoy immense popularity in Europe because of the safety they offer for players. These casinos are regulated by the UK Gambling Commission, the European Gaming and Betting Association and the Malta Gaming Authority. All these regulatory organs work to uphold standards in the gaming industry and ensure gaming service operators are providing secure, fair and regulated gaming services. This protects players from shady operators in the industry.

One of the other reasons online casinos are such a hit is the variety. As well as offering traditional casino games and the newest online slot games, players can also bet on a wide variety of sports at most gambling providers. Casinos give them an almost infinite range of betting options.

That doesn't mean it's all over for land-based casinos, though. Many people still like a classic night out at the casino. You don't have to play games to have a good time. Casinos provide shows and other entertainments and have bars and restaurants. You can even shop at some casinos.

There's also the atmosphere of a traditional casino. Some people find it more authentic because of the room designs, the music, the sounds of the casino games and the noise from the other players. You can place orders for drinks while you play games and revel in the general social nature of casino gaming. 

Europe vs USA: which continent likes gambling more?
Americans have illustrated they have a keen appetite for gambling, especially since the Supreme Court ruled that states could have the freedom to legalise sports betting. According to the Pew Research Center, one in five adults in the US said they had bet money personally in the last 12 months. This was either with family or friends, at a casino or other gambling venue or online with a gaming app.

So it might be unfair to say that Europe is the dominant continent when it comes to gambling, even though it holds it own. The UK, of course, will always show an obvious passion for gambling. According to the UK Government, the provisional 2022 to 2023 total (April to September) for gaming and betting receipts was £1,619 million.

It's clear that online casino gaming and other forms of gaming are popular in Europe, especially in the UK. Whenever partaking in any form of gambling, always check out the laws of the country you're gambling in, as they can differ from country to country. 

Font size: +

Contact us

Director : Robert Oulds
Tel: 020 7287 4414
Chairman: Barry Legg
The Bruges Group
246 Linen Hall, 162-168 Regent Street
London W1B 5TB
United Kingdom
Founder President :
The Rt Hon. the Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven LG, OM, FRS 
Vice-President : The Rt Hon. the Lord Lamont of Lerwick,
Chairman: Barry Legg
Director : Robert Oulds MA, FRSA
Washington D.C. Representative : John O'Sullivan CBE
Founder Chairman : Lord Harris of High Cross
Head of Media: Jack Soames