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Although it is not illegal as such, there are a number of regulations across Europe to protect people from the pitfalls and problems that could be encountered through online gambling. Designed to help rather than inhibit players, there are any number of laws and regulations to prevent people from getting into trouble.
What are the laws?
Despite the many differences between the legislation across Europe, they all fall under one banner, the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Many laws fall under this treaty, aiming to protect the Economic futures of the counties involved. Many of the laws do not revolve around an individual gambler and are more focused on ensuring that companies are correctly licensed so that they can be monitored. Many of the laws in question are devised by the independent states but enforced or at the very least monitored by the European Union.
Why do some differ?
The laws and guidelines differ depending on which country you look at, with many of them offering different rules on online betting and gambling. There is more freedom in the UK, with it being one of the more lenient countries. Proprietors gain their licences and are then at liberty to offer a range of different games both online and on land. For instance, with online casino there are many different games available, you can click here to view their selection, there are so many options available for anyone with an interest in online gambling. There are alternative regulations in a number of other nations across the continent, with many of them allowing various forms of sports betting, mainly on football and horse racing. Others do allow some forms of online gambling, predominantly in France where online poker is allowed. However, in some stricter nations, like Poland, it is considerably more difficult as most forms of online gambling are strictly monitored, with very few companies being granted licences as of yet.
There are consequences
As previously mentioned, it is not the individual player that regulators have much of an interest in. If you are just playing a few slots to pass a bit time as a little hobby, you are unlikely to see any real consequences. The main consequences tend to be large fines for the businesses, whilst unlicensed casino owners could even face prison time if caught. Even as recently as 2018, a man was sentenced to 12 months in prison for providing illegal gambling facilities. Whilst in some of these nations they do not have their own online gambling facility, they do use ones from abroad to try and find a loophole in the legislation. These businesses are obviously only interested in getting your money and so for your safety it is better to check that any casino, online or built, is following the proper regulations.
The law is complicated and sometimes it can be hard to know exactly what you can do and where. Whilst this overview offers some insight as to what regulations are in place, be sure to do your own research to minimise the risk of using unlicensed businesses.