EGBA reiterates calls for standardised regulatory framework

6 September 2019

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has repeated calls for the European Commission to adopt a standardised regulatory framework for online gambling across the continent.

EGBA cited a new study by the European Parliament that suggested deepening European Union digital single market (DSM) rules to include iGaming could help deliver almost €6bn (£5.38bn/$6.63bn) in annual savings for EU consumers and businesses.

The new research, presented to the Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee earlier this week, said that these savings could be made by filling gaps in the current European consumer protection framework.

The study noted that there are, at present, 28 different sets of national gambling policies which EGBA said “diverge significantly and create unnecessary national barriers” in the market.

EGBA cited national enforcement tools including geo-blockings and payment-blockings as issues that impact consumer safety, with such procedures pushing players to betting websites operated outside both the jurisdiction and reach of the EU.

The creation of a single rulebook for online gambling, the EGBA said, would also lessen administrative duplication for European businesses.

EGBA gave the example of its member companies, all of which are based in the EU and offer online betting across 19 Member States, and collectively hold over 134 online betting licences in order to do so. EGBA said this is an average of 22 licenses per company, with each having its own compliance requirements.

“Introducing a single set of rules for online betting in the EU makes perfect sense – it would improve the regulation of the sector, save significant money for both consumers and companies and help better protect consumers,” EGBA secretary general Maarten Haijer said.

“That is why EGBA is calling on EU policymakers to ensure that the Digital Single Market benefits the 12 million Europeans who bet online.”

EGBA has long urged EU lawmakers to implement a standardised regulatory framework for iGaming, although the organisation has acknowledged that the EC recognised the issue in 2014 by sending a non-binding recommendation to EU Member States aimed at creating a more consistent consumer protection basis.

However, a recent study commissioned by EGBA found that only Denmark had implemented the EC’s safeguards in full.