iGaming is a widely used term for online gambling and encompasses any practices that occur online. Whether you enjoy playing slots, betting via online casinos, placing sports bets, or even regularly buying bingo tickets, these will all be subject to laws and regulations. Knowing your capabilities and restrictions when enjoying this form of entertainment online can be pivotal to ensuring you do so legally. With this in mind, let’s take a look at everything you need to know about iGaming in the EU.

Important information about iGaming


Before we get into the specifics, it’s important to know that regulations are subject to change at any given time, so be sure to regularly check in for your location. Many gamblers opt to use software like virtual private networks (VPNs), and while this can open up access to gambling sites around the world, it’s not advised. It’s not explicitly illegal to do so, but it isn’t considered ethical and could become part of legislation in the future.

Different countries in the EU will have their own laws regarding online gambling, and these are set to protect the players’ interests. This is to ensure that fair play protocols are adhered to and that the wider industry maintains integrity.

Where is iGaming legal?


Here is a quick list of places where iGaming is legal:

  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • The Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Malta
  • The Netherlands
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • The UK

There are some countries that have very specific laws and hold a state monopoly, which means that certain practices will be legal and others illegal – with strict regulations and licensing requirements. For example, France allows certain online casinos, sports betting, horse racing bets, and poker. Cyprus only allows sports betting, whereas Austria, Hungary and Slovenia only have very limited options or legalities for state-controlled organisations only. The only EU member state where online gambling is fully illegal is Luxembourg.

Countries like the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Spain have their own gambling boards that will help businesses gain the right licensing.

The intrinsics of iGaming


While the EU will help guide member states in setting worthwhile regulations, there is no general umbrella that countries are expected to be compliant with. Each individual state has autonomy in making their own legal decisions when it comes to online gambling. There are however, some key rules  that are widely adopted, such as:

Age restrictions

Aid restrictions are the most common and widely used regulations for gambling, whether activities are performed physically or digitally. Across the EU, you will find that the minimum legal age for gambling will be either 18, 21, or even 23.

Age limits are put in place to protect young audiences who may not be fully aware of the risks involved in gambling, who may not be financially independent or responsible, and who typically align with wider age restrictions around the world, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, or voting on political issues.

Compliance with the TEFU


There is no unified law in the EU that requires gambling organisations to comply with fundamental freedoms as established under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TEFU). This helps to ensure that while regulations will vary, there is still support when keeping up to date with modern gambling practices and establishing legal frameworks for consumer protection. This has led to a wider voluntary standard and reporting to ensure at least some level of supervision.

Responsible gaming.

Alongside regulations, gambling operators are encouraged to prompt users to gamble responsibly. This can include anything from allowing users to set their own deposit limits, receiving interval-based notifications for play duration (such as an hour), and providing an array of resources for those who feel they may be struggling with addiction. Gambling is an extremely risky hobby that can result in substantial financial loss, and while players are expected to protect their own interests, providers also have a responsibility to their audience.

What happens to those who don’t adhere to iGaming laws?

casino roulette

Businesses will be expected to comply with regulations to foster a secure gambling environment. Not only will this be conducive to establishing a strong community and building trust with players, but it can also provide a competitive advantage. For players however, properly understanding and adhering to regulations will, of course, allow for a more secure gambling experience, but it will also protect players from penalties and potentially getting banned from their favorite sites.

Consumers are unlikely to face a prison sentence for not complying with regulations, but online institutions and providers offering services illegally certainly could.

How to identify licensed operators and notable iGaming resources


The good news is that businesses operating in online gaming spaces have a duty to display licensing information directly on their website. This will typically be found at the bottom of the home page to ensure transparency and avoid any issues that may arise with the potential concealment of legal information. If you find it difficult to find licensing information or it seems to be missing entirely, it may be worthwhile to sign up to another provider.

To ensure that you are playing responsibly and within your country’s guidelines, EU players may want to take a look at the Gaming Regulators European Forum (GREF), the UK Gambling Commission and the International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR).

What does the future hold for gaming regulations?

As more and more people are turning to digital services to gamble, online accessibility is growing. There are now more providers and players online than ever before. While current regulations function well enough, they will be updated regularly to stay on top of establishment and demand.

As long as both institutions and players uphold credibility, the future of iGaming is looking positive. Always play responsibly, never gamble more money than you can afford and ensure that you understand what you can and can’t do in your own EU country, as well as your rights and legalities if you plan to travel and gamble abroad.