European Countries With the Most Flexible Gambling Laws


Posted: February 18, 2021

Updated: February 18, 2021

  • Countries in Europe have different laws concerning gambling, yet the continent is considered to follow a liberal approach
  • European countries with the most flexible laws include France, Italy, Malta and the UK
  • This article provides information on EU gambling laws as well as examples from progressive gambling directories. 

The continent of Europe can be unified in various regards, however, gambling legislations differ amongst the countries of the region. Europen countries with the most flexible gamblings laws refer to a safe and regulated land-based and online gambling market, allowing the mechanisms of the free market and competition between services. This article examines the current state of some of the most progressive countries in Europe. 


Gambling legislation in the European Union is fairly liberal, however, each country approached the rise of online gambling differently. While land-based gambling had been regulated early on, online gambling laws are ever so changing in the EU. The European Union somewhat governs the region by legislations, individual countries are ultimately responsible for passing their own laws. Since there are no standardized gambling or betting legislation unifying the region, we take a look at the most liberal countries when it comes to gambling. European countries with the most flexible gambling laws include a variety of land-based gambling, as well as online casinos like Bet365 Casino and betting.


What unifies European countries with the most flexible gambling laws

Gambling laws vary drastically across countries in the EU. When it comes to a continent-wide regulation, it is important to mention the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA). The organization is set up to try and implement a fair, competitive and regulated market for online gambling operators wishing to provide their services in the European Union. Created in 2007, the association is based in Brussels. The EGBA’s achievements though not the most outstanding, it does have some notable proposals. The body works towards a safe and responsible environment for online gambling, so costumers can enjoy the fun gambling can offer in the right environment. They also include high-costumer protection in their objectives.

The European Gaming and Betting Organization encourage EU members to make sure, that their online gambling markets are attractive enough to their gamblers in the country, so gambling activity can stay within a regulated territory. Otherwise, gambling on unregulated websites can easily exploit costumers, with little to no protection. EGBA currently has five member companies, including Bet365 Casino. Hopefully, more companies are likely to join in the near future, as the online gambling market is constantly expanding. We have collected several safe sites to try in Europe.


How to define liberal gambling laws in the EU?

Progressive gambling legislations are allowing citizens to safely use a variety of online sportsbooks, casinos or lotteries. In this era, online gaming, in particular, is rapidly growing into a larger share of the gambling industry.  Gamblings laws need constant updating due to the fact that many legislations are outdated compared to rapid technological developments. In the sector of online gambling specifically, new legislation should be implemented constantly, however, often this is not the case. Before we break down some of the European countries with the most flexible gambling laws, let’s understand what is understood under such flexibility.

European Countries With the Most Flexible Gambling Laws
Let’s play!

While the focus is mostly not on the individual, European gambling laws target the business of gambling. What this means is most nations have a strong stance on those who run bookmaking or casino operations.  In some countries, the market is open to private enterprise provided operators qualify for the required licenses. Other countries criminalize everything except state-owned monopolies. Countries that use the state monopoly system tend to have weak gambling industries and poor options for players. The monopolies have absolutely zero competition and therefore have little incentive to innovate or provide customers with anything other than bare-bones gambling games.

In some European jurisdictions, monopolistic regimes offering online gambling services have been established. State-controlled public operators or private operators run these on the basis of an exclusive right. In this sense, we consider such legislation more conservative. However, a growing number of EU countries have established licensing systems that allow more than 1 operator to offer services on the market. The EU law favours no particular system over the others (Source: European Commission).


Focus on the online gambling directory

The European Commission openly supports the member countries to modernise their gambling laws according to the innovations of the online gambling industry.  National online gambling frameworks are necessary in order to provide a well-regulated but open market for gaming. The support also focuses on the protection of individuals, vulnerable persons, with special attention to minors. The online gambling sector in the EU is rapidly growing, with gross gaming revenue (GGR) expected to reach €29.3 billion in 2022 (Source: Wikipedia). Online gambling is difficult to regulate since costumers can easily access site across borders.  The above mentioned Bet365 Casino offers a variety of safe games as one of the most popular online gambling sites in France.

European countries with the most flexible gambling laws

We focus on countries that offer liberal gambling in the sense of providing a regulated but open market for services to compete. Both land-based and online gambling opportunities should include the costumers’ interest, therefore gamblers are less exploited to illegal sites.


Gambling activities have always been popular in France. France invented the roulette game in the 17th century and the pari-mutuel betting in the 18th century. The French gambling industry is the largest gambling market in Europe. Consequently, various forms of gambling are legal in France.

Three main bodies are chiefly responsible for implementing new laws: The Pari Mutuel Urbain (which mainly covers Horse Racing), the Francaise des Jeux (handles betting and lotteries) and ARJEL (which covers online gambling) (Source: Every Matrix).

In 2009, the French government introduced a new legislative bill relating to online gambling. In 2010 three forms of online gambling sites in France became officially legal. They were sports betting (including live betting, fixed-odds betting, and pool betting), horse racing betting (pool betting only) and poker. There are over 300 casinos throughout the country, and every class of person participates in them on a daily basis. From massive sporting events, such as the French Open, Rugby Six Nations, and the Tour de France, gambling has never been more popular. The extremely relaxed gambling environment makes France of the European countries with the most flexible gambling laws

European Countries With the Most Flexible Gambling Laws


Italy sports some of the most liberal gambling laws in Europe. In 2006, Italy introduced various forms of online gambling legislation to provide Internet-based sports betting. As early as 2011, licensees were able to provide online slots games, table games, card games and poker games to players. Italy also has a long-stand history of gambling. Casino di Venezia was one of the oldest land-based casinos in the world. Currently, there are more than 160 licensed online casinos operating in Italy.


The United Kingdom

Despite having struggled for a Brexit deal for years now, the UK has the freest gambling industry in all of Europe. Private operators can obtain licenses and offer all forms of gambling to people inside the UK. Online poker, sports betting, casino games, bingo, and lottery-style games all fall under the purview of the Gambling Commission. Anyone wishing to offer these games to citizens of the UK must acquire a license from the commission. This allows UK gamblers a wide variety of safe and licensed gambling sites to choose from. Unlike some other countries, the government of the UK doesn’t criminalize online gambling. Instead, it fosters a safe environment with protections for players and operators alike.



Malta is currently amongst the biggest iGaming legalization hubs in Europe. It first legalised the industry in 2001, becoming one of the European countries with the most flexible gambling laws. Citizens can easily enjoy land-based and online casinos and sportsbooks as Malta licenses hundreds of them. The Malta Gaming Authority run a background check on casino senior staff members to ensure they are professionals. For example, every casino must secure its website, payout consistently and operate transparently.

You can discover more about Bet365 Sportsbook here.

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