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Playing at EU betting sites gives you access to many more online sports betting markets than sites that solely cater to UK customers.
However, you may not be aware of how EU betting sites are affected by different global regulations to those that you’re accustomed to. You might also be unsure of how online gambling operators are licensed and regulated in countries such as Germany, France, Ireland, Spain, and Sweden.
In the world of European online sports betting, EU law doesn’t dictate one set of rules for all its member nations to follow. Instead, each country operates under its own framework.
This guide aims to inform you about how EU law is interpreted by some of Europe’s key countries, as well as introduce you to some of the best online sportsbooks that cater to players from all over the continent.
But if you’re keen to dive straight in, here are some of the most popular EU betting sites and online sports betting apps that are worth a closer look.
Online betting in Germany can cause some confusion due to conflicting information between German and EU law.
It means that sports betting sites that are licensed by other European authorities are able to operate in Germany without technically breaking local laws.
However, if you want to play it safe, we suggest you choose a brand that holds a recognised gambling license and boasts high levels of security, fast payouts, and a wide range of markets for sports bettors to choose from.
In France, online sportsbooks operators must hold an ARJEL license, with ARJEL being the French equivalent of the UK Gambling Commission.
However, it’s not uncommon for sites to offer their services to customers in France while enjoying significant tax breaks by registering in other jurisdictions such as Gibraltar. However, unless the operator also holds an ARJEL license, this is against the law. As a result, many of these unscrupulous online sportsbooks end up having their websites blocked, which means that if you’ve been using one, you could end up losing your money.
In 2006, Italy changed its regulations to allow more competition between sportsbook operators and better protection for those that play with them.
As a result, European brands that serve Italian customers must hold an AAMS license.
Although it’s not illegal for bettors in Italy to use sites that are unlicensed, they run the risk of losing funds if their site is subsequently banned and blacklisted by the Italian authorities.
Betting sites in Ireland must comply with the country’s Betting Act of 2015, which means that they must hold a valid license from the Office of the Revenue Commissioners. And, as licences are reviewed every two years, this ensures that gambling operators must work extra-hard to prove that they are fair, responsible, and secure.
This means that residents of Ireland have access to some of the most reputable sportsbook sites in Europe.
They don’t have to pay any tax on their winnings either unless they rely on sportsbooks to provide their main source of income.
Like Sweden, the Netherlands is a relatively liberal country. Yet it takes a harder approach to online sports betting than many of its European neighbours.
Currently, it is against the law for operators to offer online betting to Dutch people unless they possess a license from the Netherlands’ regulatory authority.
While this has understandably caused a decline in the number of companies offering sports betting services to Dutch residents, an upcoming change in the country’s laws means that more foreign sportsbook operators should be able to apply for Dutch gambling licenses very shortly.
In Spain, online betting is licensed and regulated through the DGOJ.
The introduction of the country’s 2011 Gambling Act means that online gambling is now far better regulated than it was in previous years as operators must meet strict standards and purchase their gambling license.
As companies that breach the DGOJ’s code can potentially be fined, have their licences revoked or be shut down permanently, the Spanish online sports betting market is considered one of the most trustworthy in Europe.
On a slightly less positive note, unlike in the UK where gambling winnings are not taxed by the government, Spanish bettors who win in excess of €2,500 must declare it as taxable income.
Sweden is known for being one of the most laidback nations in Europe. However, the government has a surprisingly strict attitude when it comes to regulating its online gambling industry.
While EU betting sites can and do serve Swedish players via a license obtained from a non-Swedish jurisdiction, the official stance is that they should apply for a license from Svenska Spel, the state-owned gambling regulator.
So, if you’re a bettor from Sweden who’s looking for a sportsbook, our advice is to check that the site is safe and secure, has mostly positive reviews, and offers the markets that you wish to bet on.