Published on 19 November 2014 by Rhi
Very basically, a ‘regulated market’ is a country whereby online casinos cannot offer their services unless they are granted a license from that specific country’s gaming regulatory body. In the past, countries have been more likely to go the two polar opposites,either online gaming was illegal, or anyone with a recognised EU license (from Malta for example) could offer their services.
Now, more and more EU countries are creating their own gaming governing bodies, or giving more power to their existing one and only allowing companies with their local license to offer services to their citizens. This is done with the main aim of protecting their nationals. They have more say over who can offer their games and what regulations they must meet. Countries want to ensure that players only have access to safe and reliable websites- websites who have proven they deal with data in a secure and professional manner, who can be trusted with payment details, who only offer random number generated games ensuring their services aren’t ‘fixed’ and so on.
There is also a knock on benefit of extra taxes coming into the country to help improve public services and, depending on the regulations, creating work in the country if the casino is required to set up a local office, for example. Below I’ve detailed some of the EU countries which are currently regulated and various different regulations they have in place.
Regulated Gaming Market: France
France leans heavily on taxation of both operators and players with their licensing. Operators must be licensed in order to accept French players, and pay high tax on all revenues. Players are also subject to tax of 2% on all cash games, and 7.5% on all sports & horse racing bets.
- High license fees for operators (up to €40,000 per year).
- Players must also pay tax.
- All operators must use state approved system ‘Frontal’ for customer data.
- Operators must be audited by a 3rd party once a year.
Netent Casino with French license: Unibet.
Regulated Gaming Market: Italy
Italy is another tax heavy market for operators, making it not always worth the hassle. Although not as high as some other markets (ahem, France!) it’s still much higher than the average.
- Operators can only accept Italian nationals via a dedicated (.it) domain.
- High tax rates (ranging from 3% to 20%).
- All operators must be fully linked up to the regulator, (AAMS) via SOGEI so they can monitor all bets/wagers/stakes etc.
Netent casino with Italian license: Betfair.
Regulated Gaming Market: UK
Unlike most regulated markets, the UK is actually supportive of the online gaming industry. Their license is one of the most highly regarded in the world and they focus on player protection, rather than monetary gain for the country.
- Heavy focus on player protection- operator must have secure systems in place, with sensitive data encrypted correctly, must prove they are reliable with personal data and payment information and that games and markets are fair and so on.
- Relatively low and fair tax rates for online gaming companies.
- Operators must have clear and thorough AML (Anti Money-Laundering) guidelines in place.
Netent casino with UK license: Comeon.
Regulated Gaming Market: Belgium
Belgium is a strictly regulated market, whose main focus is protecting their players and ensuring they don’t become addicted. Most of their regulations come directly from the EU, however they do take many of them even further than most countries.
- Operators must first obtain a land based license by either owning or partnering with an existing land based casino (as the number of land based licenses are not allowed to increase).
- They can only offer the same games online as in the land based partner.
- Operators can only accept Belgium nationals through a dedicated (.be) domain.
Netent casino with Belgian license: Kroon Casino.
Regulated Gaming Market: Denmark
Until 2010, all online gaming in Denmark was done exclusively through the state owned monopoly Danske Spil, however in 2012 the market opened for other operators to apply for and obtain licenses to offer service to Danish nationals.
To this day, Danske Spil remains the only operator which can offer bingo and scratch cards, and the only operator which can accept bets on horse, dog and pigeon races and lotteries.
- The Danish Gambling Authority has a memorandum of understanding with the Alderney Gaming Commission and Isle of Man meaning that a license from them makes an operator eligible for a Danish license.
- Players funds must be stored in a dedicated account and accounting systems must be available for audit at any time.
- Operators can only accept Danish players through a dedicated (.dk) domain.
Netent casino with Danish license: Bet365.
Regulated Gaming Market: Spain
In 2012 Spain decided to regulate gaming, whereby operators had to apply for a license to the Spanish National Gaming Commission. Casino games are not covered by this license, so cannot currently be offered to players in Spain (although this is due to change in late 2014/early 2015). Their regulations are notoriously strict and they demand a high tax percentage.
- Operator must have a Spanish public limited company set up.
- Operator must only accept Spanish nationals on a dedicated (.es) domain.
- Lots of player protection points such as; operator must have clear and transparent rules available, guarantee fair play, be secure in the encryption and use of personal data and payment details and so on.
Netent casino with Spanish license: 888casino.