2018 Recap – Changes And Challenges

Viktor Vangelov | Published 28 Dec 2018, 12:31 p.m.

2018 has been a rather eventful year when it comes to online gambling. A lot of things have happened and when it comes to legislation, there are quite a few markets where online gambling was legalised in the past 12 months, as well as few markets where legislation was amended. 

US is a very interesting market. The States have been very restrictive when it comes to online gambling, but recently a lot of states legalised sports betting and, in some cases, online sports betting and all major European operators are eyeing the US market.

In the UK, on the other hand, the authorities have decided to impose several restrictions, mostly in terms of advertising. 


It was a decision of the US Supreme Court that enabled American states to legalise sports betting. Namely, in the case of Murphy vs the NCAA, the Court basically ruled that no federal ban on sports betting is actively imposed and that every state has the right to determine whether it wishes to legalise sports betting in its territory. 

So far, eight states have legalised sports betting, but many more are considering the idea. In fact, the District of Columbia and two other states have already passed legislation that enables the introduction of sports betting. Moreover, there are 14 states where sports betting bills could be brought forward in the upcoming period. 

Currently, different US states have different definitions of what constitutes gambling, but one thing is certain – the trend will continue and pretty soon betting will be legal in many states. It is difficult to predict what will happen in terms of online casino gambling, as in this case we’re dealing with a federal ban. 

Still, the attitude in the country is changing and some assume that the change of attitude will apply to online casino gambling as well, and that it won’t be long before the US market becomes regulated.

The betting revenue in those states that legalised betting has been growing throughout the year. For instance, in Delaware sports betting grew from half a million in October to $1.3 million in November. In Pennsylvania the situation was similar. 

UK And Europe

In the UK, the Gambling Commission has been pretty active during the year. Few restrictions regarding advertising have been introduced, and the maximum amount that players can wager on FOBTs has been reduced.

On the other hand, few Scandinavian countries have implemented legislation that enables them to regulate the gambling market. Sweden is perhaps the most peculiar case. Swedish authorities decided to liberalise the market and many major gambling companies have applied for an online casino license. GVC Holdings, bet365, Casumo and Leo Vegas are only some of the operators that got the green light and are now offering their services in Sweden. 

2018 has been a great year for NetEnt and their presence in Scandinavia. Towards the end of November NetEnt entered the Danish market via their partnership with Mr Green. The Finnish national online casino operator has also signed a partnership deal with NetEnt and some of their games are now available on their site. 

2018 has been a great year for the Macau gambling industry as well, as the market has been growing continuously for 28 months in a row.

Judging by the end of 2018, it appears that 2019 will be quite an eventful year too.