There is no sector-specific EU legislation in the field of gambling services. EU countries are autonomous in the way they organise their gambling services, as long as they comply with the fundamental freedoms established under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), as interpreted by the Court of Justice of the EU. The freedom to provide services or to open a business in another EU country is particularly relevant here.
Most EU countries allow at least some games of chance to be offered on the internet. Some countries allow all games, while others only allow certain types such as betting, poker or casino games. In some European jurisdictions, monopolistic regimes offering online gambling services have been established. These are run by a state-controlled public operator or by a private operator on the basis of an exclusive right. However, a growing number of EU countries have established licensing systems that allow more than 1 operator to offer services on the market. Under EU law, no particular system is favoured over the others.
Gambling case law
Online gambling regulation in EU countries is characterised by diverse regulatory frameworks. In a number of judgements, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled on the compliance of national regulatory frameworks with EU law.
European Commission work in the field of online gambling services
The Commission supports EU countries’ efforts to modernise their national online gambling legal frameworks, in particular in the framework of administrative cooperation between gambling regulatory authorities. It also provides support to ensure a high level of protection for consumers and vulnerable people, including minors. In the area of standardisation, we requested the European Committee for Standardisation to develop a European voluntary standard on reporting in support of the supervision of online gambling services by national regulatory authorities.
Commission work in the field of online gambling services
Related policy areas
Anti-money laundering from the Commission department for justice and consumers
Match-fixing from the Commission department for sport
Consumer protection and enforcement from the Commission department for justice and consumers, in particular the European Consumer Agenda and the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive
Areas under the Digital Single Market, such as audiovisual and other media content, 'Better internet for kids policies' and the fight against illegal content online.
Gaming Regulators European Forum (GREF)
International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR)