SBC News EGBA: Multi-licensing ‘best pathway’ for online gambling in Europe

EGBA: Multi-licensing ‘best pathway’ for online gambling in Europe

A new report by the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has highlighted how advanced the European market is when it comes to nurturing a competitive online gambling environment. 

Drawing a parallel to 15 years ago when only seven countries – one of which was the UK – had implemented a multi-licensing model for online gambling, EGBA revealed a drastic change in the scenery fast forwarding to today. 

The industry body reported that 27 of the 31 European nations currently have some form of multi-licensing in place – concluding that this is now the predominant way to regulate all types of online gambling in Europe, including sports betting, casino gaming, poker and bingo products.

Of these 27, a total of 23 have adopted a full multi-licensing model for all regulated online gambling products in those countries. 

Mixed multi-licensing is enacted in the other four nations, where state-owned entities have a partial monopoly over online gambling services. Slovenia and Switzerland both hold a monopoly on online sports betting. Austria and Poland have online casino gaming and poker monopoly, but offer multi-licensing for other online gambling products. 

The four countries where no current multi-licensing model exists are Finland, Iceland, Norway and Luxembourg. The first three operate under an exclusive state-owned rights model, while Luxembourg lacks a regulated online gambling market as a whole.

However, Finland is currently going through a legislative reform and is heading towards a multi-licensed market by 2026, which is also mentioned in EGBA’s report. 

Maarten Haijer, Secretary General of EGBA, commented: “The momentum towards full multi-licensing for online gambling in Europe is undeniable. While a few exceptions still exist, governments are concluding that public policy objectives, particularly related to consumer protection and tax generation, are more effectively met through well-regulated online competition. 

“Finland’s current transition towards multi-licensing signals the impending end of the last online gambling monopoly in the EU, marking a significant regulatory milestone.”

“Similar deliberations regarding the future of the online monopoly are inevitable in Norway and Iceland. Furthermore, the handful of countries with either partial monopolies or product prohibitions should strive for greater consistency and effectiveness in their policies by phasing these out. 

“With over 15 years of regulatory experience in Europe, it’s clear that full multi-licensing offers the best pathway to enhance consumer protection, increase tax revenues, and ensure stronger regulatory control. The time has come for the last remaining European countries to embrace this optimal form of online regulation.”

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