Europe: The Global Leaders in Gambling

 (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
 
Thanks to its portrayal in Hollywood, Las Vegas is seen as the spiritual home of gambling to many. In reality though, the home of gambling is over 5,000 miles away from Sin City in Europe.

No-one in the world enjoys as many gambling freedoms as Europeans and none of the biggest companies in the industry can be found outside of the continent.

In this article we will take a look at what makes Europe such a behemoth in the gambling world and see what lessons other countries across the globe can learn from their European counterparts.
Land of the Free
America are keen to remind us at every opportunity that their country is the land of the free and the home of the brave.

When it comes to gambling though, that is not necessarily the case. American gamblers are not free to play however they wish, and lawmakers are not brave enough to modernise their country’s outdated attitudes towards gambling.

In Europe, the opposite is true. In the vast majority of European nations lawmakers have been brave enough to legalise online gambling so that their citizens are free to gamble however, and whenever they wish.

The United Kingdom – a country which is seen as the shining light for gambling freedoms – for example, has perhaps the freest gambling industry in the world.

British gambling enthusiasts can log in and play roulette with an online casino on their mobile, bet on the latest Premier League action on their PCs and walk into one of the country’s hundreds of casinos and test their mettle at the poker table.

This is the case for much of the continent too and has resulted in a thriving gambling industry that evolves and innovates year on year. Those freedoms do, however, have a limit.
Land of Regulation
Critics of online gambling often prophesise that legalisation would lead to a Wild West scenario where players are routinely taken advantage of by evil and insatiable gambling companies.
However, in Europe where legalisation is the norm that is simply not the case and that is because of regulation.
Whilst gamblers are free to play however and whenever they want, the companies that they play with must abide by rigorous restrictions and guidelines.
In all European countries where online gambling is legal, companies must apply for a gambling licence. This is a process that has been specifically designed to make would-be providers demonstrate their dedication to safeguarding players.
Online gambling operators in the UK for example must show the gambling commission that they have robust processes and procedures to ward off the threat of cyber crime and money laundering. 
In addition to this they must also demonstrate how they plan to detect and help those who may have a problem with gambling.
All of this regulation leads to a safer gambling environment for players and helps organisations work together to identify and deal with criminal elements that may be interested in using gambling as a way to launder money.
Europe has shown that legalisation need not come at the cost of regulation.
Increased competition in the European market has led to an increase in offers and promotions for customers.
Land of Competition
Whilst obtaining a gambling licence is not an easy endeavour, it is a relatively straightforward part of establishing an online casino for responsible and socially conscious companies.
The ease of this process and the potential revenues to be made from online gambling has encouraged the huge growth in online gambling in recent years in Europe.
This has brought many benefits to European gamblers, namiely the fact that there are so many respected providers to choose from when it comes to playing poker, placing sports bets and spinning the reels on their favourite slots.

One of the benefits of this for individual players has been an increase in the frequency of offers and promotions to choose from. On average, this range of choice has allowed European gamblers to get far more bang for their buck than their North American counterparts. However, that doesn’t mean that a legal
online casino in Canada or the United States does not offer bonuses and promotions to their players.
Canadian Gambling: What Can it Learn from Europe?
In Canada at the time of writing the gambling industry is some way ahead of that in the US but still quite a way away from Europe. 
In terms of land-based venues, there is plenty to choose from for the average Canadian – whether that be the huge, purpose-built gambling Mecca’s of Toronto and Quebec or smaller, local venues.
However, it is a completely different thing altogether when it comes to online gambling. There is no free market, with the government taking control of the gambling options on a State-by-State basis.
If Canada can learn one thing from Europe it is the benefit of opening up the online gambling industry to private companies. Not by letting them run amok, but by taking an active role in regulating them like British and other European governments do.
The old question of ‘what can Canada do about online gambling?’ has a relatively simple answer, and it is one that is readily available if the government simply follows the lead of European countries who have shown that online gambling can be responsibly regulated and free at the same time.