EU Calls for Tighter Regulation of Online Gambling

Published July 17, 2014 by Lee R

EU Calls for Tighter Regulation of Online Gambling

Protecting minors and integrating interstate regulation are the next expansion goals for the EU in expanding online gambling regulation.

In Brussels, the European Commission has called for tighter regulation of the rapidly expanding online gambling industry with the goal of better protecting minors and integrating what is currently a highly fragmented market.

Fragmented Regulation

Each country adopting online gambling regulation has its own particular set of nuances to its legal structure that are being resolved, leaving a vacuum in interstate jurisdiction which is particularly relevant to a regulatory climate where customers can easily access sites online from other countries.

Proliferation of Online Gambling in Europe

Online gambling today ranges from poker to sports betting and all manner of slot and casino game in between. The EC is especially concerned because of the proliferation of online gambling across Europe—merely a reflection of a worldwide upward trend in online gambling overall.

The Large European Market

The European market remains the largest in the world, with seven million Europeans gambling online in 2012, a whopping 45-per cent share of the world market. According to industry statistics, that share equates to US$33 billion for that fiscal year.

European Online Gambling

The European explosion originated in a small group states where gambling was popular. Gambling operators in Britain and Malta drew gamblers from all over the world.

States' Resistance

Other states such as France and Netherlands resisted gambling in the interests of protecting consumers and preventing a tendency towards lucrative state gambling monopolies as well.

EU Priority

Taking into account the concerns of resistant countries, EU internal market and services commissioner Michel Barnier asserts this goal: “We must better protect all citizens, and in particular our children, from the risks associated with gambling.”

Barnier called on a cooperative effort from all involved in the industry and regulation process, saying “We now look to the member states, but also to online gambling operators, to match our ambition for a high level of consumer protection throughout the EU in this fast growing digital sector.”

Measures Proposed

Protective measures include clearer warnings on websites, rigorous registration procedures to weed out minors, and rapid access to helplines for gambling addicts or those exhibiting problem behaviors.

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