Located in the Northern and Eastern Hemisphere, Europe is a global phenomenon; the root of Western civilization. The continent is populated by approximately 11 percent of the world (over 741 million people) – which makes it less populated than only Asia and Africa – and features 63 States (56 sovereign and seven dependent States).
Europe amasses a whole lot of immigrants and tourists year in, year out because of its diverse cultures, tourist attractions, ancient ruins and historical architecture, strengthened educational system due to the presence of the most prestigious universities and colleges, delicious delicacies and amazing wines, wonderful beaches, and the lovely locals. In fact, six European countries are among the top 10 most visited countries and Paris is obviously the most popular destination. And when it comes to gambling, Europeans generally love to gamble while the authorities of each individual State treat gambling differently.
United Kingdom Casinos
The fact that the world’s very first to sixth casinos opened in unprecedented European territories – Casinò di Venezia (1638 as Il Rodotto in Venice, Italy), Spielbank Wiesbaden (1810 in Wiesbaden, Germany), Spielbank Baden-Baden (1823 in Baden-Baden, Germany), Crockfords (1828 as Crockford’s St James’s Club or Crockford’s Club in London, United Kingdom), Le Casino de Monte-Carlo (1856 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco), and Casino Le Lyon Vert (1882 in La Tour-de-Salvagny, France), makes the continent even more appealing to gamblers. Interestingly, these casinos still welcome a great number of gamblers to their rooms today.
Historically, gambling has been more active in Europe than in any other continent. From the ancient Greeks and Romans’ love for gambling during the Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Middle Ages to the British, Italian, French, and Spanish peoples’ rapid and mouth-watering love for all forms of gambling since the Middle Ages. (The only two non-European countries with an impressive gambling history are Egypt and China.) But it’s even more than these countries for the greater percentage of European countries offer at least one world-class gambling facility.
In addition, Europe played a salient part in the creation and advancement of many games that are popular today. For one, in 1440, Johannes Gutenberg, a German printer, and publisher, printed the very first full deck of cards. Second, the French people created the roulette (“Little Wheel”) and blackjack, though the latter is controversial. Baccarat first appeared in the 1400s when it was transported to France by the Italians.
Some historians and gambling enthusiasts believe poker was inspired by Pogue, a locally popular French game. Also, Isle of Man-based Microgaming, one of the most popular software companies, developed the very first gambling software which led to a collaboration with Ireland-based CryptoLogic, one of first application service providers, and the creation of the very first online casino in 1994.
Besides history, one word succinctly describes the profitability of gambling in Europe, massive. According to WorldAtlas.com, six out of the 10 countries that gamble the most are in Europe. The first European country is ranked third with $588 spent on gambling averagely while the last country is ranked tenth with $418 spent on gambling averagely. Although the figure is practically impossible to pin down, it is estimated that there are more than 1,700 casinos, 120,000 gaming machines, and 9,000 table games in Europe.
One of the major reasons why these figures are so high is the increasing number of illegal gambling activities and facilities in Europe. In places like Finland, Ireland, and Italy, there are unlicensed outlets on virtually every street. In Italy, for instance, the Mafia operates hundreds of slot parlors and reportedly profit more than the government and other private entities.
Furthermore, online gambling is huge in Europe especially with the prominence of the UK Gambling Commission, Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), and Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner. Actually, online gambling is larger in Europe than in any other continent. According to Statista, overall gambling is biggest in Italy, then the United Kingdom followed by Germany, France, and Spain respectively. The first two countries individually generate approximately €20 billion per year while the remaining three generate close to €10 billion each. However, the list consists of France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands-respectively-according to the European Casino Association.
And as stated earlier, Europe is a fascinating continent that welcomes a lot of immigrants and tourists per year. European territories are generally beautiful and luxurious. These are words that can describe European casinos as well.
Most casinos have hundreds of diverse gaming machines and dozens of table games. Also, most are attached to exquisite four or five-star hotels or resorts that welcome thousands of tourists regularly. They offer appealing accommodations and lounges with as many restaurants and bars as possible.
Ultimately, Europe is the best place to enjoy a sophisticated gambling experience. And although casinos are not as massive as those in North America or Asia, European casinos are classic and players are elegant so they appeal to gamblers from anywhere in the world. Lastly, Euro is generally accepted though British Pound sterling, Russian ruble, and the Swiss franc is also popular.
As of March 2018, there are 63 territories in Europe. Out of these territories, 54 territories have at least one casino. According to the European Casino Association (ECA), almost 100 million people visited the casinos in the 27 registered countries in 2017; and more than half of them either visited France or the United Kingdom. However, there are more than 27 countries in which at least a casino is situated.
The 27 ECA countries are France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Spain, Austria, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Czech Republic, Monaco, Slovenia, Poland, Sweden, Hungary, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Finland, Slovakia, Latvia, San Marino, Montenegro, and Serbia. Non-ECA territories with at least one casino are Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ukraine, Russia, Romania, Moldova, Åland Islands, Malta, Ireland, Gibraltar, Isle of Man, and Liechtenstein.
France, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, and Latvia are the countries with more than a hundred casinos. Other countries with a huge casino base are Spain, Albania, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Cyprus, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland, and Denmark.
Further, most foreign gamblers visit London, Monte-Carlo, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Venice, or Madrid. Yet, the largest casinos in Europe are in Portugal: Casino Estoril (1,200 gaming machines, 35 table games, and a poker room) and Casino Lisboa (1,100 gaming machines, 26 table games, and a poker room).
European casinos mostly offer Blackjack, Roulette, Caribbean Stud Poker, Electronic Roulette, Omaha Poker, Three Card Poker, Slot Machines, French Roulette, American Roulette, Punto Blanco, Video Lottery Terminals, Baccarat, Texas Hold’em Poker, Craps, and Video Poker.
Additionally, most forms of gambling are popular in Europe. Although casino gambling is very popular, Europeans have a craze for sports betting and lotteries. In each country where gambling is legal, there is a National Lottery which is either run entirely by the State government or in conjunction with private companies. Also, there is a lottery game called EuroMillions, which is transnationally run by nine European countries.
Both fixed-odds and pari-mutuel bets are placed on sporting events. The most popular sport in Europe is clearly football (soccer), yet horse racing, greyhound racing, ice hockey, basketball, wrestling, tennis, volleyball, and skiing are also popular. There are tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of betting shops throughout the continent.
Although some territories have very strict laws towards online gambling, it is completely legal in the greater percentage of the European countries, the United Kingdom, Malta, and Gibraltar as prime examples. In countries like France, Germany, and Italy, online gambling is complicated and placed in perpetual hands. This is the case with Bitcoin gambling as well – it is legal in a handful of countries, complicated in most, and illegal in some.
– Although there is a certain diversity, the greater percentage of European countries allow people who are at least 18 years old to gamble. Meanwhile, a handful is 21 years old. Some even allow 18-year-old foreigners to gamble but citizens must be 21 years or older. Another law is effective in Germany and like countries, where some regions use 18 years as the minimum gambling age while others use 21 years.
– After the six aforementioned casinos, the seventh oldest casino, Golden Gate Hotel & Casino, opened on January 13, 1906, as the first Las Vegas casino.
– Legendary German composer Richard Wagner died in Casinò di Venezia on February 13, 1883.
– Famous and authoritative individuals such as Barack Obama, Nicolas Sarkozy and wife Carla Bruni, Silvio Berlusconi, and Angela Merkel have visited Kurhaus Casino Baden-Baden.
– Casinos Austria, founded and based in Austria, is the largest casino company in the world.