Europe Considering Running Online Casinos

The concept of government-owned casinos isn’t just for Canada and the United States these days. Many European governments are also considering running online gaming portals and legalizing online gaming in general.

Four years ago, the French government jailed executives of the internet gaming site Bwin when they visited France, but this summer began allowing private companies like Bwin and others to accept bets online from French citizens. This marked a reversal of previous policy. Denmark recently approved legislation also allowing private companies to accept bids from Danish citizens.

Next week, Greece plans to introduce a bill that would legalize online gaming, which is currently illegal.

“What’s happened is a realization that you can’t uninvent the internet,” David Trunkfield of Price Waterhouse Coopers, said. “People are gaming online. You either try to regulate and tax it, or people are going to go to the offshore operators, where you don’t get any revenue.”

Spain, Switzerland and Germany are all considering legalizing as well. It would likely be a good idea. Europe accounts for about $12.5 billion of the online gaming industry’s $29.3 billion total revenue last year. This, according to the consulting firm H2 Capital.

Turning toward the internet will likely benefit everyone. Land-based casinos have suffered in Europe in recent years. France land-based casinos have reported double-digit declines in the past several years and plans for a Las Vegas-style casino in Britain were scrapped two years ago.