Online Gambling in 2019

The year 2019 comes with some changes for the online gambling industry. While in the past years we have noticed a trend in national regulations for the online gambling market, this trend is far from being over and continues well into the new year with updates that impact on the large scale the way both operators and marketers do business.

January 1, 2019, has seen the Swedish online gambling regulation coming into force – with a hand of large European operators having secured a license to operate in this Scandinavian country. Both operators and marketers have to abide to new rules in terms of services offered and promotional activities. Operators are now forced to have a maximum of one welcome offer per product, and marketers that are promoting these offers need to link directly to the terms & conditions of each individual bonus.

While not many operators have been licensed in Sweden, it is more than enough to continue business. The licensing process is still ongoing, which means more operators are to be permitted to do business here in the coming months.

Also, from the beginning of this year, an Italian legislation voted in the summer of 2018 has come into force. This legislation is directed to marketers and operators in the online gambling industry which bans any sort of advertising for online gambling products. This effect and implementation is yet to be seen, as this restriction comes against the regular business standards of allowing one to market its products/services, and this under the conditions which Italian licensed operators have been paying hefty yearly fees for being licensed.

On the other hand, the UK, one of the most mature online gambling markets in Europe, fully licensed and with tax on point-of sale implemented, continues on enforcing the advertising rules which saw in the past year some operators being fined for not doing enough to protect its customers from gambling addiction, or marketers using fake winning stories to promote gambling as a winning strategy.

Bet365 was one of the first to react to these changes by implementing group-wide rules in terms of who and how their brand gets promoted. To start with, an 18+ imagery, link towards BeGamleAware and terms & conditions + link to their page listing the welcome offer terms are a must. So anyone promoting the bet365 bonus should abide by those rules and make an implementation of terms & conditions similar to this example

William Hill (WMH) or Ladbrokes (LAD2) are other big names in the British gambling market which had to undergo changes for compliance.

Long awaited is The Netherlands legislation which should come live in 2019. For many years it has rejected any legislation that would allow online operators to offer gambling services in Netherlands. 2018 seen more operators pulling out and restricting access to the Dutch market in a move that is seen for the upcoming legislation and licensing regime to come.

Germany on the other hand will see its last of the licenses issued by Schleswig-Holstein land expired in 2019, and no other legislation that would regulate the online gaming industry. While there is initiated an inter-state treaty that would allow regulation of online sports betting since 2012, no licenses have been offered to date as the regulation seemed to have violating the principle of transparency and non-discrimination.

Summer of 2018 also seen the legalization of online sports betting in the state of New Jersey, US. This has seen already a few operators claiming a license to operate, while a few more are expected to be awarded during 2019, like the top European brand Unibet.

Further south, in Colombia, a new online poker networks is due to come in place with the beginning of 2019. While at the start of licensing the regulations permitted the poker rooms to share liquidity with international markets, in 2018 it was changed to be a closed-network where only Colombian players can play.