Casino Licensing Authorities and Regulators – Europe

In this guide, Onlinecasinoinfo.eu highlights some of the most prominent EU casino licensing authorities that you can often find mentioned on European iGaming and analytics portals, such as Gaming Intelligence, European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), and generally across various industry news sources, casino player forums, and industry expert discussions.

Casino Licensing Bodies in Europe

The European Union (EU) doesn’t have a single, unified licensing authority for online casinos in Europe. Instead, each member state has its own regulatory body or bodies responsible for granting licenses and overseeing the online gambling industry.

Here is a list of some famous EU licensing authorities, gaming commissions, and governmental entities, listed A-Z.

Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli (ADM)

  • Country: Italy
  • Website: adm.gov.it
  • Notable Licensees: Lottomatica, Eurobet, Snai, Sisal

The Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli (ADM), or Italy’s Customs and Monopolies Agency, is the primary regulatory body overseeing the country’s gaming sector. The agency’s main responsibilities include safeguarding the interests of the Treasury through tax collection and dispute resolution, as well as protecting citizens by preventing offences and regulating the gaming market.

ADM enforces anti-fraud and control measures across various gaming segments, such as entertainment equipment, bingo, horse racing, sports betting, fixed-odds number games, totalizer number games, remote gaming, skill games, card games, and fixed-odds games of chance. In addition, the ADM supervises lotteries in Italy.

The agency collaborates closely with gaming operators and offers telematic services for data transmission and consultation.

ADM also provides SMART statistics, monitoring, and analysis of the territorial collection of the physical game. ADM plays a key role in ensuring that the gaming sector in Italy operates in a fair, transparent, and responsible manner.

Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ)

  • Country: France
  • Website: anj.fr
  • Notable Licensees: Betclic, Unibet, Pokerstars, Bwin

The Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ), or National Gaming Authority, is an independent administrative authority in France responsible for regulating online gambling. Established by Article 34 of Law No 2010-476, the French Gambling Act, the ANJ aims to enhance competition and sector regulation of gambling and online gaming.

Its mission includes issuing approvals, ensuring operator compliance, protecting vulnerable individuals, fighting against addiction, ensuring the safety and fairness of gambling operations, combating illegal sites, and fighting against fraud and money laundering.

At present, only those online operators who provide sports betting and poker games are eligible for ANJ licenses. The authority has actively worked to block unlicensed sites that accept French players.

Belgian Gaming Commission (Kansspelcommissie)

  • Country: Belgium
  • Website: gamingcommission.be
  • Notable Licensees: Circus Casino, Casino777, Napoleon Casino

The Belgian Gaming Commission (Kansspelcommissie) is the official regulatory body for the gambling sector in Belgium, established by the Gambling Act of 7 May 1999. Its primary goal is to direct players towards legal gambling activities, with a strong focus on player protection.

To fulfill its mission, the Gaming Commission provides advice to the Government and Parliament on matters related to games of chance, betting, gaming establishments, and player protection. It also grants necessary licenses for operating games of chance and betting while ensuring proactive management.

Furthermore, the Gaming Commission monitors compliance with the provisions of the Gambling Act and can impose sanctions, such as warnings, license suspensions, revocations, or administrative fines, when necessary.

Operating independently, the Gaming Commission is chaired by a magistrate, and its members consist of representatives from six ministries, including Justice, Finance, Economy, Public Health, Home Affairs, and the National Lottery.

Danish Gambling Authority (Spillemyndigheden)

The Danish Gambling Authority is the government agency responsible for regulating and supervising all gambling activities in Denmark. Their primary objective is to ensure that all gambling operations in Denmark are conducted in a fair and transparent manner, and that the interests of both the players and the operators are protected.

The authority operates under a legal framework that includes various laws and acts covering lotteries, online casinos, betting, poker, gaming machines, and land-based casinos.

The authority is also responsible for enforcing anti-money laundering regulations and ensuring that all licensed operators comply with these regulations. The Danish Gambling Authority was established by an Act of Parliament in 2011, and its operations are overseen by the Ministry of Taxation.

Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ)

  • Country: Spain
  • Website: ordenacionjuego.es
  • Notable Licensees: Codere, Starvegas, Admiralbet, Bet365

The General Directorate for the Regulation of Gambling (DGOJ) is a governing body in Spain that operates under the Ministry of Consumption and is responsible for regulating, authorizing, supervising, coordinating, and controlling gambling activities on a nationwide scale.

The DGOJ was established in March 2011 in compliance with the fortieth additional provision of the General Budget Law of 2010, which reformed the public company Loterías y Apuestas del Estado and transferred the powers to regulate the gaming market to the DGOJ.

The Subdirectorate General for Gambling Regulation and the Sub-Directorate General for Gambling Inspection report to the General Directorate. The former is responsible for authorizing occasional gambling activities, processing administrative procedures, and supervising advertising activities in the gaming sector.

The latter is responsible for inspecting gambling activities and technical systems, pursuing unauthorized illegal gambling, and promoting and conducting studies and research on gambling.

The DGOJ is also affiliated with the National Commission to combat the manipulation of sports competitions and betting fraud.

Dutch Gaming Authority (Kansspelautoriteit, KSA)

  • Country: Netherlands
  • Website: kansspelautoriteit.nl
  • Notable Licensees: Holland Casino, Casino777, Circus Casino, Jack’s Casino

Kansspelautoriteit, or the Netherlands Gaming Authority, is an independent organization responsible for overseeing and regulating gambling activities in the Netherlands. Established in 2012, it’s led by a Board of Directors appointed by the Minister for Legal Protection.

The Board members are independent in their decision-making.

The primary objectives of Kansspelautoriteit are to protect consumers, prevent gambling addiction, and ensure a safe and fair gambling environment. Its responsibilities include monitoring compliance with gambling regulations, enforcing the rules, and issuing licenses to eligible operators.

Additionally, Kansspelautoriteit plays a crucial role in addressing illegal gambling practices and promoting responsible gaming.

Kansspelautoriteit’s internal organization is divided into seven departments: Monitoring, Enforcement, Legal Affairs & Licensing, Analysis & Research, Information Technology & Automation, Communication & Strategy, and Business Operations.

The Authority also has an Advisory Council that provides solicited and unsolicited advice to help it maintain a robust and effective regulatory framework.

Estonian Tax and Customs Board (EMTA)

  • Country: Estonia
  • Website: emta.ee
  • Notable Licensees: Ninja Casino, Kanuuna, CasinoFriday, OptiBet

The Estonian Tax and Customs Board (EMTA) is responsible for regulating gambling activities in Estonia. Under the Gambling Act, gambling operators must obtain an activity license and an operating permit and comply with the law’s general requirements.

In Estonia, various types of gambling, including games of chance, sports betting, lottery, games of skill, and commercial lottery, are permitted. A gambling tax is levied on operators.

However, certain games with gambling characteristics don’t require permits or are exempt from gambling tax.

Remote gambling, including online casinos, is allowed, but operators must meet the Gambling Act’s requirements. EMTA assists with permit applications, maintains a list of legal operators, and blocks access to unlicensed gambling websites.

Gaming Control Authority (GCA)

  • Country: Lithuania
  • Website: lpt.lrv.lt
  • Notable Licensees: Party Casino, Top Sport, Optibet

The Gaming Control Authority (GCA) is an institution under the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Lithuania, responsible for implementing state policy in the field of gambling, gaming machines, and supervising lotteries.

Its primary goal is to ensure fair and transparent operations, protect the rights and interests of gamblers, and maintain a safe environment for all involved.

The GCA’s main functions include issuing and cancelling gaming (terrestrial and online) and lottery licenses, granting permits to open gaming venues, ensuring compliance with laws and regulations, preparing draft legal acts, and administering the Register of Gaming Devices of Lithuania and Register of Persons Restricted from Participation in Gambling.

Gibraltar Regulatory Authority (GRA)

  • Country: Gibraltar
  • Website: gibraltar.gov.gi
  • Notable Licensees: Party Casino, Casino Admiral, 888

The Gibraltar Regulatory Authority (GRA) and Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner are responsible for licensing and regulating gambling operations within Gibraltar. Under the Gambling Act 2005, all gambling activities, including remote gaming, require a license. The GRA considers only applications exclusively from reputable companies with a demonstrated track record in the gambling industry.

Applicants must demonstrate their suitability by providing a clear business plan, outlining their economic contributions to Gibraltar, and ensuring that they meet high standards of fitness and propriety.

This includes transparency around ultimate beneficial ownership and control, as well as compliance with internationally acceptable anti-money laundering standards and measures to prevent terrorist and proliferation financing.

The licensing process involves engagement with the Gibraltar Gambling Division and the Gambling Commissioner to assess the suitability and competence of the operator, its controllers, and proposed management.

The process can be relatively quick for high-quality applications that comprehensively address all relevant issues.

Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC)

  • Country: A self-governing British Crown Dependency
  • Website: gov.im
  • Notable Licensees: Bodog, 5Dimes

The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC) is the gaming control board responsible for regulating most forms of gambling on the Isle of Man, including both land-based (casino, amusement, and slot machines, betting offices, and lotteries) and online gambling services.

Established in 1962, the GSC aims to protect gamblers’ interests by ensuring fair and crime-free gambling and guaranteeing that players receive their winnings.

The GSC gained global attention in the early 21st century due to the Isle’s tax-friendly reputation and its status as one of the first jurisdictions to legislate and regulate online casino gaming companies.

The Online Gambling Regulation Act 2001 (OGRA) is a key document guiding the GSC’s activities.

The GSC’s functions include licensing and regulating gaming operators, guiding applicants throughout the process, protecting players’ funds, approving independent testing facilities for games’ randomness, monitoring licensed operators, and investigating player complaints.

Latvian Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection (IAUI)

  • Country: Latvia
  • Website: iaui.gov.lv
  • Notable Licensees: Mr Green, Olybet, Optibet

The Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection of Latvia (IAUI) is the government body responsible for regulating and overseeing the arrangement of lotteries and gambling within the country. Established on 1st January 1998, the Inspection is managed by a Director and comprises an Assistant Director, Deputy Director, Control Department, and Legal Department.

The Control Department ensures compliance with LV laws and regulations governing lotteries and gambling, supervises their arrangement, and monitors casino encashment. It also aggregates and analyzes information related to inspections, violations, and their causes.

The Legal Department, consisting of the Licensing Division and Financial Analysis Division, is responsible for representing the Inspection in legal proceedings, drafting statutes and regulations, reviewing gambling rules, supervising registration and inventory of gambling equipment, and granting licenses to capital companies for lottery and gambling arrangements.

The principal tasks of the IAUI include ensuring safe gambling for players, verifying organizers’ compliance with legal requirements, providing control and supervision to guarantee compliance with Latvian laws and regulations, and protecting consumer rights while mitigating potential social risks related to gambling.

Malta Gaming Authority (MGA)

  • Country: Malta
  • Website: mga.org.mt
  • Notable Licensees: Fun Casino, Betsson Casino

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is a regulatory body responsible for overseeing online gambling within Malta, an EU member state. Established in 2001, the MGA issues licenses to online gambling operators, ensuring they adhere to strict conditions that protect players.

The authority has made significant improvements over the years, transitioning from a lenient regulator to a more proactive and involved organization, demonstrated by the introduction of a responsive Player Support Officer in 2015.

The MGA’s licensing process is rigorous, requiring operators to meet specific criteria and maintain a fair gaming environment for players. The authority continuously reviews and monitors its licensees to guarantee compliance with license conditions.

Moreover, the MGA is open to receiving player complaints directly and intervening in cases of unfair treatment by operators. This commitment to player protection and regulation has made the MGA a popular and reliable choice for both players and operators.

National Gambling Office (ONJN)

  • Country: Romania
  • Website: onjn.gov.ro
  • Notable Licensees: Unibet, 888, Admiral

The National Gambling Office (ONJN) is an institution under the Romanian Government responsible for regulating, authorizing, controlling, and monitoring gambling activities in the country. Established in 2013, it has been fully operational since 2015. Prior to ONJN’s introduction, gamblers in Romania could access any operator, including foreign casino game sites, without any regulation or oversight.

This changed with the introduction of the ONJN Class I license, which operators must obtain to offer services in Romania. This ensures that operators pay fees, comply with Romanian laws, and offer services that meet specific standards.

To obtain an ONJN license, operators must meet certain conditions, including offering a Romanian-language website and allowing transactions in the national currency Leu.

Serviço de Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos (SRIJ)

The Serviço de Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos (SRIJ), or Gaming Inspection and Regulation Service, is Portugal’s gambling regulatory authority responsible for overseeing land-based and online gaming activities. Established within the Portuguese Tourism Department, SRIJ regulates, monitors, licenses, and inspects the nation’s gambling industry, ensuring safe and fair gaming practices.

The regulator collaborates with various government departments and the Gaming Commission to maintain strict control over the sector.

SRIJ’s functions include combating illegal gambling operations, regulating gaming advertising, imposing fines and sanctions for code violations, issuing rules and codes of conduct, and ensuring operator compliance with responsible gaming provisions.

Obtaining a casino license in Portugal is a stringent process, requiring applicants to meet specific financial, technical, and experience-related criteria.

Spelinspektionen (Swedish Gambling Authority)

The Swedish Gambling Authority is a government agency responsible for overseeing and regulating the Swedish gambling and lottery market, ensuring its legality, safety, and reliability. Governed by the Ministry of Finance, the authority’s primary objectives include providing consumers with fair gaming tools, building a secure gaming market, and reducing the potentially harmful social effects of gambling.

Spelinspektionen’s tasks involve granting permits for national lotteries, real money gaming machines, online casinos, restaurant casinos, and certain bingo permits.

Its main goals are to maintain a transparent and balanced gaming market, promote a safe gaming environment, and minimize illegal gambling and lottery operations.

UK Gambling Commission (UKGC)

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is a non-departmental public body responsible for regulating gambling activities in the UK. Sponsored by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, the UKGC oversees arcades, betting, bingo, casinos, gaming machines, gambling software, lottery operators, and remote gambling using British-based equipment, including the National Lottery.

Gambling websites targeting or advertising to customers in Great Britain must hold a UKGC license.

The commission issues personal gambling licenses for individuals and operating licenses for businesses, setting requirements for all licensees through the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP).

The UKGC assesses compliance and takes enforcement action if necessary, protecting players and the public by ensuring gambling is fair and safe.

Europe’s Gambling Market Revenue

According to EGBA, in 2022 Europe’s gambling market revenue hit €108.5bn, an 8% growth compared to 2019 and a 23% increase from 2021. This growth was primarily due to the reopening of land-based gambling venues after the pandemic, contributing 65% to the total gambling revenue (€70.3bn). Online gambling revenue rose by 8% to €38.2bn, accounting for 35% of the total revenue.

Casino games were the most popular online gambling product in Europe in 2022, generating €14.9bn and contributing 39% to the region’s online gambling revenue. Sports betting followed closely with a 35% share, bringing in €13.6bn. EGBA members (Bet365, Kindred, Betsson, Entain, Flutter, 888 William Hill), on the other hand, gained 46% of their online revenue from sports betting.

The use of mobile devices for online betting activities continued to grow, with 53% of bets placed on mobile devices and 47% on desktops in 2022. However, there were significant differences in the online shares of various national gambling markets. For example, Sweden had the highest share (80%) of online gambling activity, while larger markets like Spain, Italy, Germany, and France had relatively lower online shares.

The online gambling product shares in different European countries also varied. In Cyprus, where online casino games and poker are prohibited, these products still accounted for 21% of the gross gaming revenue (all offshore). In France, online casino games are not allowed but contributed 13% to the gross gaming revenue (also offshore).

FAQs on Casino Licensing Authorities in Europe

What do EU casino licensing authorities regulate?
EU casino licensing authorities regulate gambling operations, ensuring legality, safety, and fair gaming practices.
How do EU licensing authorities’ responsibilities differ?
Responsibilities differ based on each European country’s specific regulations, licensing requirements, and enforcement approaches.
How can one obtain an EU gambling license?
To obtain a license, applicants must meet the jurisdiction’s requirements (financial stability, transparency, fairness, etc) where they are applying for a casino license.
Are there EU-wide online casino regulations?
No, EU-wide regulations don’t exist; each member state has its own regulatory body and rules. For a detailed look into these regulatory bodies, see our section on European casino licensing bodies.
How do EU regulators combat illegal gambling?
They block unauthorized casino game websites via domain service providers.
Do EU gambling authorities collaborate on regulations?
EU authorities collaborate through sharing information, best practices, and coordinating enforcement efforts.
What ensures data security in EU online casinos?
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and licensing authorities enforce regulations for data security and privacy. For specifics, see EU casino data security standards.
How do EU authorities differ from Curaçao eGaming?
EU gambling authorities enforce stricter regulations and higher licensing standards compared to Curaçao eGaming.
How do regulations impact Europe’s gambling revenue?
Regulations contribute to a safer, more transparent market, increasing player confidence and industry growth.