EGBA Study Says Multi-Licensing Trend Surges in European Online Gaming

A recent study conducted by the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) unveils the widespread adoption of multi-licensing models for online gambling across Europe, signifying a significant shift in regulatory paradigms.

In the backdrop of a rapidly evolving digital landscape, Europe has witnessed a remarkable transition in online gambling regulation. From a landscape dominated by exclusive rights models to the emergence of multi-licensing frameworks, the regulatory trajectory has undergone a profound metamorphosis.

Initially, only a handful of countries embraced multi-licensing, with Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Malta, and the UK pioneering the approach in 2009. Today, however, the multi-licensing model has emerged as the predominant regulatory framework across Europe, offering a competitive marketplace for online gambling operators.

Key Insights from the Analysis

  • 27 out of 31 European nations have embraced various forms of multi-licensing, showcasing a clear trend towards fostering open and competitive markets.
  • Among the remaining four countries, Finland, Iceland, and Norway adhere to exclusive rights models, providing state-owned entities with a monopoly over online gambling services. Luxembourg, on the other hand, lacks specific regulations for online gambling.
  • Within the cohort of 27 countries with multi-licensing, 23 nations have adopted comprehensive multi-licensing frameworks covering all regulated online gambling offerings.
  • The four countries employing a mixed model include Slovenia and Switzerland, which have monopolies on online sports betting, while Austria and Poland monopolize online casino gaming and poker, allowing multi-licensing for other gambling products.
  • Despite imposing restrictions on casino gaming and poker, Cyprus and France permit multi-licensing for all other regulated online gambling activities.
  • Finland is currently in the process of legislative reforms, with plans to introduce a multi-licensing framework for online gambling by 2026.

Maarten Haijer, Secretary General of EGBA, advocates for the comprehensive adoption of multi-licensing across Europe. Haijer said, “The momentum towards full multi-licensing for online gambling in Europe is undeniable.” He added, “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.” 

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