This scribe has been tied in knots by a previous editor who titled this article European bookies. It’s hard to give a clear picture of European bookies because Europe is made up of 50 countries, and vastly different laws govern each country, although as time has gone on many, like Spain and Italy, have embraced online gambling and have regulated the industry.
Sports betting in Europe as a term is impossible to cover in one article, so what we can provide in this one is a broad overview of how online sports betting works, cover a few of the bigger countries current state of affairs, and promise to write more on each country in further articles.
Regulated vs. non regulated
You read a lot about regulated bookmakers and “offshore” ones operating in a grey area in certain countries. What this means is that a country has regulated the online bookmaking business and does not “condone” or in some cases flat out restricts offshore bookies from operating.
A prime example of this is Pinnacle Sports or a more corporate model Bet365 which operate in many countries where they are not licensed to operate. The main difficult over the years for punters trying to bet at bookmakers unlicensed in their country has been the lack of deposit options, or tardy withdrawals on the bookies behalf.
SafeBookies.com is a firm believer that regulated bookmakers, if available, are the way to go in your country. However we completely understand some people, because of law or maybe because they have been too successful in the past, have been cut off from gambling at regulated bookies and need another avenue.
The good news is, despite the constant moans from governments around the world, there is plenty of bookmakers “offshore” accepting people from almost every country in Europe. These bookies are licensed in countries like Panama, Costa Rica and Antigua but the most respected ones are generally either backed by a bigger company or have built a good reputation over time.
How do bookmakers bonuses work?
Bonuses at online bookies can come in many forms and bettors using the Euro will find the full range of promotions available. Generally the bonuses will come in the form of match deposits or in some cases no deposit specials. Here are some of the more common deposit bonuses for EUR bettors:
Welcome package or Sign-up bonus: This is when you first join a bookmaker and can be referred to as “freebets”. It involves making your first deposit and the bookie matching a percentage up to a certain amount. For instance the bookie might offer a 100% deposit bonus up to €500. This means the player can deposit €500 and have a total of €1,000 to bet with.
No deposit bonus: Can also be a sign-up bonus, or welcome package, but has it’s differences to a match deposit. This type of bonus means you don’t have to make a deposit to begin betting. They are giving you a freebet to get started with.
Money back: Another popular bonus bookies give punters which involves them returning money you have lost to you. For instance a bookie might offer a bonus on a soccer game where you get your money back if you bet on team A to beat Team B if your team scores the first goal in the game. There are many different variations of this.
While the bonus and freebets seem to be getting more and more outrageous all the time, keep in mind there is almost certainly wagering requirements attached to the bonus. Which might state you have to bet the bonus amount a few times before you can withdraw it.
Betting markets at European bookies
Again this varies from country to country but if you’re lucky enough to have Bet365 or another betting goliath accept players from your country, you will find there is a huge amount of markets for you to bet on, from everything to the races in France and Australia to the golf in South America. Online sports betting is a truly global past time and not just in an operating sense.
Obviously in Europe football is the main drawcard for bettors and the majority of good sportsbooks will have plenty of options for us to bet on including EPL, La Liga, Serie A and many more. Even bettors in countries where sports betting is restricted online will be able to find a way to bet on their favourite sports.
Other sports extensively covered at European bookies include horse racing, basketball (NBA and European Leagues), American sports like grid iron and baseball and any other nice sports you can think of. We will go into more details about the sports and racing markets available at each bookmaker in their individual review, accessible in the table above.
Payment and withdrawal methods
It’s a hard one to cover without without another 49 articles. One thing we will advise is to make sure you always use your correct name when signing up, because often betting sites will require you to verify your identity before making a withdrawal. If you live in a country where online gambling is approved you will find deposit options like Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, Web wallets (Neteller, Skrill etc), bank transfers and prepaid cards like Visa and PaySafeCard.
Withdrawals can also be made in a number of different ways including withdrawing back to your bank card, check, bank transfers and web wallets. The bookies we recommend at SafeBookies.com all use a minimum of 128-bit SSL encryption, which we will explain in full in another article, but in short it safeguards your banking transactions.
Top European countries by population and their gambling laws
Russia: Russia condones sports betting at land-based venues but has began cracking down on offshore gambling sites by ISP blocking them. Expect regulation in the coming years and state run betting sites soon after. You will find some sites still accept Russian bettors.
Germany: Has the government run Oddbet and also has a heap of offshore gambling sites – including Bwin – who attempt to muscle in on their territory. The German government has attempted to stop offshore sites from operating in their country.
Turkey: Huge population and tough laws on online gambling. The government does its best to block offshore sites but does sponsor one option the IDDAA which allows Turks to bet online.
France: France has a fully regulated online sports betting industry and has many options for residents to bet with, with many of the biggest brands in the world holding a French license.
Spain: Has regulated online bookmakers and plenty of offshore options as well. They do however restrict the sports that can be bet on.
If you want to know the status of online sports betting in your country, you can contact us or comment on this article and we’ll do our best to answer you. For now safe betting.