EGBA urges enhanced protection from European Parliament

24 May 2019

Industry trade group the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has issued a call for the incoming European Parliament and Commission to focus more on the online gambling market to ensure consumers across the continent are better protected.

European Parliament elections are currently taking place in all European Union (EU) Member States, with the UK and the Netherlands having voted yesterday (May 23). The full results will not be announced until after all of the elections have finished on May 26.

Ahead of this, the EGBA has urged the incoming Parliament and Commission to pay more attention to igaming, saying this now represents more than 20% of the overall EU gambling market.

The EGBA has said the lack of common EU rules for online betting is jeopardising players safety when they play online, due to each Member State having different rules for regulating igaming and the fact that there are huge differences in terms of the quality of these national regulations.

In March, the EGBA urged the EU to introduce a ‘common rulebook’ of iGaming regulations in order to better protect consumers, and general manager Maarten Haijer has now repeated this proposal, urging the incoming Parliament and Commission to consider the idea.

“In 2019, there’s no reason why online gamblers living in one member country should be less protected than those living in another – but they are,” he said.

“That’s why EGBA is calling for common EU rules and better regulatory cooperation to ensure a more consistent and better standard of protection for all Europe’s online gamblers, including access to a national self-exclusion register and protection against threats from outside the EU.”

The EGBA has also again flagged up a study by the City University of London that suggested only one Member State – Denmark – has fully implemented existing EU consumer protection guidelines for online gambling.

In its recent EU manifesto, the EGBA outlined calls for the European Commission to ensure the implementation of its 2014 Recommendation on consumer protection by all EU Member States by proposing legally binding measures.

The manifesto sets out how the European Commission should propose a new policy for online gambling, taking into account recent digital developments such as blockchain, and recommends the Commission reinstate an expert group of national gambling authorities to ensure regular exchanges of best practices, dialogue and regulatory cooperation.

The trade group is also calling for further standardisation of national technical requirements for online gambling, as well as reinforced transparency under the so-called notification, for the Commission to fully enforce EU law in the online gambling sector and for Member States to retain the competence for levying a point of consumption tax.