Regulation in Europe

  1. Internet Gaming
  2. Regulation in Europe

When exploring the benefits of a regulated model for online gaming, a look at the history of Europe and its evolution over the course of more than a decade provides valuable insight into how government agencies have adapted to an open regulated market for players. The shift in practical legislation and economic perks becomes evident as each respective country changes its model.


Around the year 2000, nearly every observed country in Europe was still following a monopoly model in its jurisdictions. This means that each government agency was solely in charge of providing players with games and content that would compete with the offshore casino and gaming operators that were already in existence.

In this case, the term “monopoly” also refers to any model in use by various countries that was not an open regulated market. Certain European countries offered the hybrid model, but the authority was still in the hands of government agencies in regards to what games and services were available. These structures were highly prohibitive and eventually failed to compete with larger operators offering a better product.


By 2010, online casinos and other gaming operators had developed a strong presence in the online gaming industry, and government agencies dramatically changed their policies as a result. Numerous countries such as Italy, France, and the United Kingdom had abandoned the monopoly model in exchange for a more beneficial regulated model. Latvia and Estonia had already followed suit as well, and Northern Ireland also adopted a regulated model.

Online gaming saw exponential growth in 2010, with an estimated global valuation of over $27.5 billion and positive projections for the future. Countries in Europe seemingly could not keep up with the technological progress of other larger gaming companies and sought to regulate the market instead. This created better options for players in each jurisdiction with more safety and security through the regulated model.


Over half of the observed European countries would be shifted to a regulated model from the year 2011 to 2012. The global online gaming industry had grown an additional $5 billion over the course of two years, but government-run agencies were underperforming with established offshore online gaming operators as direct competition. Players had more options and better services through non-local gaming and the majority of this revenue had increased benefits to agencies with a regulated model.

A few countries were still using a monopoly model, but by 2012 agencies in countries such as Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and now all of Ireland shifted to the regulated model. In fact, almost a dozen European agencies switched over to an open regulated market in just two years’ time.


After the year 2013, the entire layout of Europe looked completely different than it had a decade ago. Of all the countries first documented using a monopoly model structure, only three were left in the entire region still retaining that model. Failing government corporations and a booming online gaming industry led to virtually every country changing its tune on how gambling over the Internet should be handled.

From the year 2000 to the present time, the online gaming industry has grown an estimated $23 billion, and experts project these numbers to continue as more players move away from traditional gaming to a more advanced format. The Internet Gaming Council sees numerous benefits for all government agencies to adopt a regulated model, as it has proven historically to become the best structure for players and agencies all across Europe.