EU Data Protection Reform Could Impact Gambling OperatorsPublished January 3, 2016 by Mike P
Reformed EU data protection and privacy legislation could result in non-compliant gambling operators shelling out millions in fines.
Tuesday 15 December marked the day when the European Commission (EC) was finally able to reveal that member states had struck an accord on the EU Data Protection Reform’s final draft. Essentially, this will mean a single system of data protection and privacy across the entire EU. Companies that do not adhere to the legislation will incur severe financial penalties.
Moving forward, the system’s General Data Protection Regulation is going to call for companies to clearly explain to customers exactly how their data is used. Meanwhile, companies will be required to notify customers if their data is hacked. The Data Protection Directive represents another core pillar of the system, given that law enforcement agencies are encouraged to co-operate on cross-border investigations.
Worldwide Fines for the Guilty
Companies serving the EU cannot afford to view their operations in isolation. Any company found guilty of not operating within the reformed guidelines could face a fine that amounts to 4% of global turnover. Considering the worldwide reach of the online gambling industry, this could result in some operators shelling out hundreds of millions if they are unable to function within the EU’s new landscape.
The EC and its members have carefully adjusted the language of the reform to ensure that companies based outside of the EU can be held accountable if they are serving customers living within the continent. This form will only punish the companies that do not choose ethically. In fact, the new structure actually has more cohesion and will improve data protection.
For now, however, there are no immediate concerns for EU-based online gambling sites. The European Parliament and Council will not accept the final draft of reform until the early stages of 2016. Moreover, it will take a further two years before the reform will be relevant. EU companies have plenty of time ahead to adjust.