In Europe, gambling regulations and the legality of various games can be somewhat confusing. The European Union’s laws give companies the right to provide services to other EU countries, which once prevented Italy from banning online gambling entirely. However, while the treaty prevents a complete ban, each state has autonomy concerning their laws, industry regulations, and which activities are legal.
To save you the hassle of finding legal sites in your region, we’ve listed the best European online gambling sites. Not only will our recommendations keep you safe from scams and poorly-run operations, but we’ll also break down which forms of gambling are legalized in the different jurisdictions and how they are run.
The Best European Online Gambling Sites
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The gambling sites included in this list of recommendations have been thoroughly vetted for legitimacy, reliability, variety, and several other factors that we will cover shortly. Our team of experts is continuously finding additional websites to review, which they then decide whether or not to pass along to our readership. It’s a lot of time-consuming work, but it’s worth it to know we’re helping set fellow gamblers up with the best European online gambling sites in the industry.
This page will serve two primary purposes for the reader. First, we will explain what criteria are required to be a premier gambling site and demonstrate the reason we prioritize specific factors. Then, we’ll further examine the legal status of online gaming throughout various countries in Europe and share which forms of gambling are allowed and where.
When you’re done on this page, you’ll not only know which gambling services you’re legally entitled to in your region, but you’ll also be armed with a list of the very best online gambling sites for Europeans.
What Makes a Gambling Site One of the “Best”?
When our experts decide to review a website, they comb through the site’s history, research industry blacklists, study terms and conditions, and generally do a deep dive into the works of the operation. We take everything into account so that we may keep our promise of only delivering the best European online gambling sites. The following are some of the essential characteristics we require for our readers.
Legitimacy and Safety
Hundreds of billions of dollars are wagered online annually, with that number steadily growing each year. Such massive sums of money are an obvious target for thieves and unethical entrepreneurs hoping to profit off of the public’s ignorance concerning gambling website legitimacy. There’s nothing we take more seriously than keeping our readers out of harm’s way from scammers, which is why safety is our highest priority when ranking a site.
By combing through a company’s history, we can learn about any alarming issues or patterns of behavior that raise red flags. For example, having a poor reputation with regards to payout timelines would be a significant problem. Furthermore, websites that have landed on blacklists in the past are filtered out from our recommendations.
Some places set unreasonably low withdrawal limits or are known to find reasons to delay payouts in the hopes that their customers will get bored and spend the cash on the site while waiting on their withdrawal. That’s the type of business practice we are here to help you avoid, as it’s certainly not a trait of one of the best European online gambling sites.
If you were ranking the many benefits online gambling has over traditional brick-and-mortar casinos, the ability to provide exponentially more diversity would be at the top of the list. With land-based locations, there’s only so much floor space, not to mention the costs of employing operators and paying utility costs. Online operations can offer you thousands of individual slot themes, dozens of variations of traditional table games, every set of video poker rules, and a full sportsbook all in one place!
This is an excellent quality because it prevents boredom from setting in, thus keeping the players entertained and engaged. If you get tired of playing computer-dealt blackjack, you have the option to switch to a live dealer, for instance. Slot players aren’t given much to do in the way of strategy or input, so for them, having a vast selection of different themes with all types of jackpots and side games is crucial.
Since you’re going to be depositing your precious money into an account with whichever top European online gambling site you choose, the last thing we want to happen is for you to lose interest. Our experts have found that the gambling websites with the most extensive collection of games and wagering types tend to provide the greatest customer satisfaction. And that’s why variety plays a vital role in our rankings.
Quality Website and Games
The central purpose of LegitGamblingSites.com is to match our readers with online gambling sites that will best meet their needs while providing reliable, trustworthy service. It’s important to us that the websites we recommend are professional, easy to use, and consistently operational.
When sports betting, there are times when a bettor must submit their pick quickly before the contest starts and the odds are pulled from the board. We don’t want our customers missing opportunities due to a poorly-designed site. Everything should be clearly labeled, logically organized, and easy to find.
We also take graphic quality into consideration. For some of the slot games, high-quality animations and artwork are what make the games enjoyable for players. There are tons of slots based on popular television shows and favorite movies which include lots of interactivity and video clips. When we give a recommendation to our readers, we expect that these aesthetically enjoyable options will run smoothly.
It’s always a good thing to have multiple options, especially as it pertains to banking methods available when online gambling. First of all, different patrons will require different accommodations, so by casting a wider net, more customers are satisfied. But beyond the convenience that comes with variety, having several different ways of funding or withdrawing from your account is critical in places such as Europe, where the laws are somewhat inconsistent from region to region.
If you take the United States, for example, they’re allowed to gamble online as individuals, but the financial institutions are legally barred from processing transactions between customers and known gambling operations. That means US players’ debit and credit cards are not an option, so Bitcoin, e-wallets, and various gift cards must be used instead.
Depending on the European country, some readers may not want to connect their banking info directly to their online casino. Meanwhile, within the United Kingdom, gambling is fully legalized and regulated, so customers from that area may prefer transfers directly to and from their checking account. It just depends on what restrictions you’re working around or if there are any at all.
Reliable Customer Service
Few things are more frustrating than having an issue that needs resolving and not being able to get anyone to help. Poor customer service completely taints your opinion of a service or product, and rightly so. Therefore, if we’re working to present only the best European online gambling sites to our readers, we must take customer service extremely seriously.
When reviewing a website’s customer service page, we first look for a clearly labeled, easy-to-find section. The customer service area should provide answers to frequently asked questions and provide information about the corporation and gambling site. Furthermore, there should be multiple methods of communication available, including email, telephone, and live chat.
Most crucially, the department in charge of these customer issues should be both responsive and helpful. Our experts test the levels of service by using the various forms of communication and timing how long it takes to get a response. We never want you to be stuck with a problem and nobody to turn to, which is why we put so much effort into ensuring this aspect of their business meets expectations.
You’ve probably noticed on our list of recommendations that the best European online gambling sites offer bonuses and rewards programs to entice new members. In most cases, gambling websites will offer free plays just for signing up, and once you make a deposit, they’ll match a percentage of the total. This can amount to quite a bit of free money, which is why bonuses have to be an ingredient in our overall rankings. However, be sure to read the conditions of accepting free money. There are times when the strings that are attached make the gift not worth taking.
Loyalty rewards programs are another story entirely and are almost always of some value. The types of perks for which you’re eligible will depend on the amount of money you regularly bet with, as well as the frequency. Some common rewards are cash back for a portion of your losses, free play credits, or merchandise from a company store.
The rewards that you’re given are directly proportionate to the value you present to the casino or sportsbook. For the high rollers, we’ve seen prizes as extravagant as exotic vacations and vehicles given out.
Advantages of Gambling Online
In many of the countries in Europe, land-based casinos and sportsbooks are readily available and accessible. This is particularly true in the United Kingdom. While having brick-and-mortar locations is indeed a nice perk to living in a jurisdiction with legalized gaming, it’s often an inferior choice compared to gambling online. In this section, we’ll share a few of the advantages of online gambling.
The thing about operating a land-based gambling operation is that there’s overhead. They have to pay for employees, electricity, rent or land costs, and a wide range of other expenses required to keep the doors open. These expenditures are passed on to the gamblers in the form of a house advantage that’s built into the odds.
The best European gambling sites don’t have such pricey overhead and thus can afford to give bettors much more favorable odds when playing their games. And when it comes to sports betting, there’s nothing more important than the betting lines. The slightest improvement in winning percentage can make a massive difference in long-term profits, which is why we always advise shopping for the best odds.
The most significant advantage that online gambling sites have over their brick-and-mortar counterparts is convenience. Even in regions with legalized gambling locations, nothing is quicker and easier as it pertains to gambling than pulling out a smartphone and making your picks or playing some games. No matter how casual the local gaming spot may be, it will always require you to get dressed, travel to the place, and take time gambling in person.
With online options, especially those with mobile compatibility, everything on which you could possibly want to bet is right at your fingertips. This is hugely useful when betting on sports, as there are times where wagers must be submitted before the contest begins. You’re much less likely to travel to the sportsbook and get your picks set in time, but with the online bookmakers, as long as you have more than a few minutes, you’ll be fine.
Better Rewards Programs
If you’re accustomed to gambling at more traditional physical casinos, you’ve probably noticed they’ve never handed you any free cash just for walking in the door. That’s a practice that’s exclusive to online gambling sites and has become a bit of an industry standard practice. There are two kinds of common start-up bonuses:
- Sign-up bonus – The gift received just for opening an account usually consists of free play tokens or credits which allow you to test out the games and casino in general before depositing any actual money
- Deposit bonus – As the name suggests, this bonus is applied once you deposit money into your gambling account. These are almost always given out as a percentage of the initial funding of the account. Often, gambling sites will offer a 100% match, allowing you to double your money before placing a single bet
The land-based alternatives do offer loyalty rewards programs, but even they fall short of the online version. In a physical location, you have to keep a player’s card and remember to receive your points for any gambling done on the premises. Online, all activities are tracked automatically and attributed to your account. So, every bit of wagering you do will count towards prizes and rewards in the future.
Another department in which brick-and-mortar gambling businesses will never match the online gambling world is variety. You simply have way more options playing over the internet. Without concerns regarding floor space, the best European online gambling sites can employ thousands of slot machine themes, all sorts of table game varieties, and more sportsbook wagers than any land-based alternative.
A Brief Overview of the Gambling Laws in Europe
The United Kingdom
Gambling is entirely legal in the UK. Most of the top-rated online casinos and sportsbooks operate within their jurisdiction, which is heavily regulated and trusted. Gambling activities fall under the authority of the Gambling Commission, which approves gaming licenses and enacts consumer protections.
Spain has had legal gambling since 2011 when the Spanish Gambling Act was passed. Each of their seventeen regions has full autonomy over which gaming activities will be allowed and regulated by the government and which will not. Overall, Spanish gambling is overseen by the National Gambling Commission. Any online gambling sites hosted in the region must have a “.es” URL.
Italy initially tried to shut out gaming entirely within its borders, but this was challenged by the EU since they would be denying business to gambling sites operating out of other member nations. Italian residents are now free to access websites from outside of the country, while more gambling activities are now legal within the nation. Gambling is regulated by the AAMS, which provides licensing and consumer protection for the industry.
All forms of gambling have been legal in France since 2010. They created the Regulatory Authority for Online Games, which oversees the online gambling industry. Gambling is strictly regulated in France, similar to the UK, which makes licensing more difficult for operators but ensures a much safer industry for citizens to engage with.
Beyond the primary regulatory bodies within the major European Union countries, there are several highly-respected offshore jurisdictions which host numerous online gambling sites.
- Alderney – Alderney is widely respected for how seriously they take oversight and consumer protections. A popular gambling jurisdiction since 2000, the island in the British Channel is a popular region in which to host gaming websites
- Gibraltar – Gibraltar is one of the oldest online gambling jurisdictions, having begun regulating the industry back in 1998. They are approved by the UK’s Gambling Commission and are well respected around the globe as a legitimate jurisdiction
- The Isle of Man – The Isle of Man is also approved by the UK Gambling Commission, which has deemed it safe. Many UK websites are housed here, due to the effort this region puts into attracting online gambling corporations
- Malta – Malta is another British commonwealth that’s popular within online gambling circles. In fact, it’s one of the oldest and most-trusted areas for gaming in the world. They offer four different licenses for gambling businesses
If you’re looking for the best European online gambling sites, it’s your lucky day because we’ve got you covered. When discussing gambling in the context of Europe, things can get a bit confusing. While each country is left to legislate and regulate the industry as they see fit within their borders, their hands are tied when it comes to an outright ban. This is due to a treaty signed by all participating members of the EU, in which they agreed not to prevent corporations from doing business across their borders.
The argument is that this applies to online gambling as well. Since there are licensed and regulated gambling sites operating from within several European jurisdictions, it would be breaking the treaty to prevent the citizens of a state from accessing and using such services. However, that doesn’t mean that all forms of online gaming are allowed everywhere.
For example, in Spain, live betting and bingo games are illegal, while other forms of online sports betting and casino games are just fine. In fact, each of Spain’s seventeen regions has the authority to treat gambling as they see fit, so even within country borders, the legalities may be inconsistent.
Germany won’t allow new operators into the market but have some older websites which have been grandfathered in. Additionally, German citizens may access foreign gambling sites from other EU jurisdictions.
All in all, gambling over the internet is a well-entrenched, thriving industry in Europe. Thanks to several members of the EU legalizing online gambling, the other countries have essentially been forced to allow their citizens to participate as well. At that point, it makes more sense to regulate gambling and collect some tax money than to watch all of those profits leave the region.
Wherever you’re located, our fundamental concerns are ensuring your safety and providing the best European online gambling sites the world has to offer. Our team of experts worked diligently to compile the list at the top of this page and will continue to vet and review websites for as long as people are enjoying gambling. Judging by the annual gambling numbers, we’ll be serving our readers for quite some time.