2019 was a successful year for the gaming industry, especially in Europe. German neighboring countries, in particular, opened the doors to the industry. Unlike in Germany, the basis for legal online gambling was created in the Netherlands. In France, the lottery was even privatized. But other countries also saw interesting developments in the national gaming sector. Companies in the industry were able to draw a positive conclusion, but encouraging development is expected to continue in 2020.
The successful fight for legal legality in Europe
There is no doubt about the statement that last year was largely successful for the gaming industry. This does not only mean economic development, which has generated new record sales for years. Because economic success is only possible if it can be managed legally at all. Unfortunately, so far there has been no uniform legal regulation by the European Union (EU) on a pan-European level.
“The introduction of a uniform set of law for online gambling and betting in the European Union makes well scene. It will better regulation of the part, bring significant cost savings for both customers and businesses, and provide better consumer protection. That is why EGBA is calling on the European Union strategist to make sure that the digital market also benefits the twelve million EU who betting and gambling online. ”
It is therefore not yet entirely and legally possible for gaming providers that mainly operate on the Internet to advertise and offer their services. In many places, the struggle of private gambling providers for legal acceptance and the associated opportunity to offer their own gambling offer legally is significantly further than, for example, in Germany.
The year 2019 was successful in many European countries for the entire gaming industry, and in some cases, goals were achieved that can easily be described as a revolutionary breakthrough, as can be seen from the example of the Netherlands. In the neighboring German state, the parliament had already decided a year ago to modify national legislation so that private gaming providers were allowed to operate legally on the Internet.
Similar to other countries, the crucial point here was that many Dutch already played in illegal online casinos before the liberalization of the Dutch gaming market. As a result, the state lost millions in tax revenue. A regulated online gambling market is the best solution for this problematic constellation, judged at least by the Dutch legislature.
How strong is the Dutch gaming market? “According to studies by the Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek, the Dutch statistical institute, revenue in the national online gaming sector rose by around eleven percent in 2018 compared to 2015. This corresponds to a sum of just over 2 billion euros. However, over 600 million euros of this is said to have been generated by online casinos, which from the perspective of Dutch legislation did not operate legally.
France, Belgium, Luxembourg: privatization and greater player protection
But not only in the Netherlands, there were also noteworthy developments on the respective national gaming market in other countries bordering Germany. The privatization of the lottery in France is certainly worth mentioning. On April 11, 2019, the French National Assembly cleared the way for private applicants. To date, the national lottery has been entirely state-owned.
How is the French lottery organized? “Up until 2019, the French lottery was a purely state-organized lottery operated by the country's only legal gaming provider to date, the Française des Jeux (FDJ). This was possible because France owned 72 percent of the company. However, since November last year, France has only held 21 percent of the shares. ”
Since November 2019, the French lottery has been operated by a private company. To make this possible, however, an amendment to the law was necessary. In a remarkably short time, namely within just three months, the “Ordinance on the Reform of the Gambling Regulation” was passed by the French Parliament.
Although this decision was viewed very critically in France for a long time and was also controversially discussed in public, France's Economics Minister Bruno Le Maire is convinced of the privatization of the lottery and referred to the successful launch of the stock exchange. Half a million French shares had already been acquired on the first day of the IPO.
The developments in Luxembourg and Belgium in 2019 were certainly not that important for private gaming providers, but in terms of security and player protection, they were without a doubt very positive. Although the legislation on gaming in Luxembourg is considered to be rather restrictive, there was nonetheless last year for domestic one’s Citizens significantly more opportunities in the country to put their own luck to the test.
In order to fight illegal gambling offers – especially in the stationary sector – the only legal casino in Luxembourg has set up its own slot machines in the whole country to meet the great demand of the population.
But it was particularly dynamic in another country. Belgium changed national gambling legislation a remarkable 32 times in 2019. Basically, however, the country's gambling industry enjoys a very liberal policy, because even online gambling is legally fully legalized there.
However, the price for this legal position is a particularly strict licensing procedure that has now been tightened again. Only companies that have been shown to make enormous efforts to protect Belgian players will still receive one of the country's few gaming licenses in the future.