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Changes in European gambling industry regulations 2020

Changes in European gambling industry regulations 2020

2020 is going to bring about significant changes in gambling industry regulations across the world. Some markets are taking more liberal stance on legalizing online gambling, whereas other markets’ jurisdictions are more set on taking control and harnessing problem gambling.


Germany moves closer towards legalizing online casino gaming


Online Sports betting operators are given options to apply for licenses. Legislation on lifting the ban on online casino and poker is to be drafted.

After a continuous debate, Germany’s 16 federal member states of the State Treaty on Gambling finally seemed to have agreed on a mutually acceptable version of amendments to be enacted in the Treaty. The Treaty adopted a new, experimental regulatory framework that will abolish the current prohibition on the provision of online casino and poker services. The experimental regulatory framework will be in force until June 30, 2021, and the new regulator will be tasked with accepting and processing license applications for various types of online gambling.

Land-based sports betting will remain legal. On January 01, 2020, private operators of online sports betting platforms were given a green light to start applying for a license to conduct online sports betting operations in Germany. So far, online casino gambling is legal only in one German state, Schleswig-Holstein.


UK tightens the rules to control problem gambling 


The UK Gambling Commission is getting tougher on harnessing problem gambling among the population. After lengthy consideration, the UK gambling market regulator issued a decree that bans accepting credit cards as a means of deposit payments from players. The decree is to come in force in April 2020.

In addition, the UK GC is introducing stricter rules for operators to identify and protect problem gamblers. The new system will require operators to conduct more rigorous identity checks on their customers, verifying player’s information against two separate databases. Online casinos are now obligated to request the confirmation of a players’ identity and age before they make a deposit and not after they have already started playing and won a prize.


Online operators will now also be required to have more transparent and clearer rules for customers concerning promotions for signing up, bonuses and free spins.


The rules on paying out winnings to customers have now also become stricter to prevent operators from withholding money from customers who made use of operators’ promotion offers and won on them.


Spain is getting tough on advertising gambling products


In 2020, the changes in Spanish gambling market regulations will see restrictions on the advertisement of gambling products via TV, radio, and the internet.

The restrictions limit advertised welcome bonus offers to a maximum of €200.

In addition, the new rules disallow gambling ads depicting “sports athletes” promoting gaming and betting products. People under 25 years old are not allowed to be featured in gambling ads. All advertising channels will have to contain a prominent warning message for players to gamble responsibly. The warning message will also alert the audiences that gambling under the age of 18 is prohibited in Spain.


Italy to raise gambling revenue to its budget coffers


The Italian government plans to raise an additional €650 million in taxes from the gambling industry in 2020. According to the budget draft, the increase in revenue proceeds is expected to come from applying higher tax rates imposed on amusement with prizes (AWP) and video lottery terminals (VLT), which in January 2020 were raised from 21.6% to 23%, and from 7.9% to 9% respectively.


Along with raising the tax on  VLTs, the Italian government issued a new requirement for players to insert their government-issued health cards in order to access the VLT machines. The measure is intended to limit the chances for underage persons getting access to the machines.


The Italian gambling industry regulator ADM is also taking steps to implement new measures to reduce illegal gambling operations in the country, introducing penalties of up to €1.3m for local financial institutions who violate the rules and process payments for operators who do not hold an Italian license.


Among other changes that will impact the Italian gambling market in 2020 is an anticipated reduction of slot machines operating across the country, which is set to cut their number down to 250,000 from over 380,000.

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