Europeans have the freedom to play online poker in a wide variety of major rooms. The Eurozone contains of a patchwork of government and continent-wide legislation relating to online poker and gambling.
In this guide to European Poker sites I have firstly given you an overview of the current legal position of online poker within Europe. Next, you’ll find information on the best poker sites for European players. I have then covered deposit methods you can use within Europe in order to get your money online. Many online poker sites still operate in USD so I have explained how this affects you when depositing and withdrawing to EUR.
The majority of European governments have taken active steps to legalize online poker and gambling with their territories. Most Europeans are free to play wherever they wish, the notable exceptions being players in Italy, Spain and France. Here players are only permitted to play on sites regulated by their own countries. Italy and Spain only accept local players while France permits anybody with a European bank account to deposit and play. This appears to contravene the general free-trade laws of the Eurozone. However there is little appetite for a test case either from the poker room operators or any individual member countries.
As a player you can therefore rest assured that you can legally play on any site offering games to your country. The legal compliance and licensing rules different countries enforce are taken care of by the sites, ensuring they adhere to the laws and taxation rules before offering games to the residents of each country.
With a full range of poker sites to choose from, most countries have a fantastic selection of rooms available. France, Spain and Italy have a smaller selection – with PokerStars active in all 3 with segregated player pools, 888 also active and local sites like France’s Winamax also offering poker games.
Here are my picks for residents of the more open countries.
PokerStars are the biggest European poker site by a long way, they are 3 times bigger than their closest rivals and 10 times bigger than any site outside of the top 5. When you see the fantastic software and extensive game selection you will see why. From micro-limits to the Sunday Millon, there is something for every European player at this site.
One network already has games in Euros, which makes great sense when you consider that they left the US in 2006! The iPoker Network is made up of a lot of familiar sports-betting brands, who pool together their players to offer a huge poker room. Check out Bet365 for access to these famously easy games and a constant stream of great promotional offers.
Party Poker pulled out of many central and Eastern European countries back in 2013, though still take players from the west. Instead you could try 888Poker, who have made huge improvements recently and even offer you $8 to try out their games for free.
In Europe you can find the wide range of deposit options with the major cards and eWallets covering many countries and many local options too. All major credit card and debit cards including Visa, Mastercard and Amex allow you to deposit online. When you are moving money between sites you may wish to use an e-wallet, such as Neteller or Skrill, all of which are widely accepted. For larger sums, you can send in a check or wire funds from your bank account.
Getting money off the sites is just as easy and you can have funds transferred to your bank account or funded back to your card or eWallet in very short periods of time.
With the US locked out of many worldwide poker rooms, a move away from having the USD as the standard poker currency has started. Sites such as Bet365 or William Hill that operate on the iPoker Network no longer use USD and deal completely in EUR and GBP.
If you play on other sites you will still have to change your funds into USD. This will be done for you, with your EUR deposit simply converted at today’s exchange rate. You’ll then play in USD and re-convert when you cash out. Yes, you will be affected by exchange rate changes – however these can be positive as well as negative, and are usually very small swings.
Europe is an area of the world that has truly accepted that online gambling and poker is a legitimate entertainment pursuit for millions of people. Rather than fear and attempt to ban online gambling, as America has, Europe has succeeded in regulating and taxing the industry. Because of the clear legislation in Europe, there are no problems depositing using credit cards or any of the other options. Some sites now have even switched over to the Euro making depositing and withdrawing a lot easier.
Remember if you are going to play Poker in Europe I recommend Bet365, part of the iPoker network. You’ll find a mixture of fishy opponents mixed with a wide choice of games that can be played in Euros.