Western Europe — Casino & Gambling

Gambling Laws in Western Europe Gambling in West Europe is not just catching on but is also regulated by laws; rather almost all the countries are following a strict regulation around the activity. For instance the online gambling industry in UK has two electronic betting licenses, 14 interactive gaming licenses and one bookmaker’s license in…

Gambling Laws in Western Europe

Gambling in West Europe is not just catching on but is also regulated by laws; rather almost all the countries are following a strict regulation around the activity. For instance the online gambling industry in UK has two electronic betting licenses, 14 interactive gaming licenses and one bookmaker’s license in use at present.

Gambling in Western Europe

Western Europe is a continent where the gambling industry has not only thrived successfully, but also is in the process of continuous evolution.
In the great expansion of Western Europe, 20 countries possess casinos and 4 countries offer pari-mutuel facilities that include horse racing, dog racing or the newer Racinos that also own slots and video poker terminals for the benefit of players.

Casinos in Western Europe

Casinos in the continent of Western Europe attract quite a number of tourists and gamblers from different parts of the world. These casinos are much popular in the international arena. Different casinos located in different countries are a rich source of revenue for the respective countries. Countries in West Europe which appreciate the gaming industry include Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Macedonia, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and United Kingdom.
France has the largest number of casinos with 189 casinos and 15381 slots in Western Europe. This country also possesses the largest casino in the continent called Le Café de Paris which is located in Monte Carlo, Monaco. There are 15 table games and 1200 casino slot machines / video poker games in Le Café de Paris.

Gambling Laws in UK

One of the huge industries in UK is that of Gambling. As per the figures generated by Government, there are about 9000 licensed betting offices in Great Britain. In the years 2001 and 2002 the total amount exchanged for chips in the casinos of UK sum up to a whopping £3.5 billion. There are about 122 casinos in UK. According to the data collected by the gaming industry, the amount is almost equal to £63 billion every year.
Such huge amount gave rise to new and better legislation against the background of rising profits for bookmakers.

New Gambbling / Casino Regulation and its need

The gambling bill of UK is a symbol of UK government’s affirmed commitment to make Britain and gambling in Britain, modernized. This gambling bill has come into formulation due to the following reasons:

• Social acceptance of gambling (about 2 out of 3 people indulge in Lottery games)

• Gambling is now considered as a leisure activity

• Technological advances have changed the methods by which information can be processed, visually represented and conveyed. Rules from the 1960s are outdated and therefore are no more relevant

• UK business is prevented from competing with other international operators in the arena of Internet-based gaming sites

• There should be proper protection for people as the vulnerable players are exposed to high risk and there is no guarantee of high standards of social responsibility

• The proliferation of bookies’ business in the area of FOBTs are indicators that the regulations need a revamp

According to the gaming act of 1968, the following forms of gaming are exempted from the general scheme of licensing and registration:

Gaming at home
Gaming at hotel room
Certain minor gaming on premises licensed under the liquor licensing laws (one can bet on dominoes or play a bit of penny-ante at the pub)

However, activities like running of high stakes poker, irrespective of where it is held, may invite trouble. For instance, Poker Million, the organizers of ‘The World’s Largest Poker Game’ had to postpone their tournament as they were concerned that the local police would disrupt the game, even though it was declared legal by the Gaming Board.

Gambling in Hotel Rooms

The main concern of the legislation it seems is to find out whether an activity is commercial operation or not. A private game is not subject to law. Therefore playing in the quiet recluse of a hotel bedroom would not be counted as one that is subjected to the law.

Since such kind of gaming is private in nature and not advertised or logged, therefore it is impossible to say how often it is actually done.
Most hotel managers don’t mind this activity unless they have strict religious beliefs or regulations against it.

Though no hotel (medium/ large) has any issue with gambling in hotel rooms in UK, however this is not applicable in the bars or lounges. Gambling in a bar or a lounge is not allowed as they don’t have a gambling license and allowing such activities would lead them into serious troubles.

Summary of the UK gambling law

As is the case with all the laws, Gambling would be considered unlawful unless specifically permitted. Permissions are granted by license, permit, registration, or exemption.

If facilities for gambling are used or provided without appropriate permission then it is considered an offence.

Each of offence may lead to a maximum of six months in prison or fine, or both.
There are two types of gaming and betting that are automatically permitted under the bill:

private and non commercial gaming and private
and non commercial betting

The bill also created the Gambling Commission. Gambling Commission is a new and unified regulator which takes over from the Gaming board for Great Britain and carries responsibility for the licensing regime. This commission has the powers to introduce Codes of Practice for the advantage of the gambling industry prevalent here.
The Gambling Commission also has the power to prosecute to enforce the licensing regime. This also includes the granting of licenses. These are:

Ensuring no link between gambling and crime or disorder;
Ensuring that gambling is conducted fairly and openly; and
Protecting children and vulnerable adults from harm or exploitation
People under the age of 18 are not allowed to gamble
It is an offence to «invite, cause or permit» a child (under 16s) or young person (16 and 17 year-olds) to gamble, and if a young person does gamble, he is committing an offence.

There are over 200 casinos in UK at Aberdeen, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Coventry and most importantly in London and Manchester. However interested tourists can opt for one of the many casino locations in West Europe to enjoy gambling.