The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has requested that the European Commission considers the launch of a new regulatory framework which is hoped to both clarify and standardise gambling laws across the continent.
Writing that ‘it’s time for Brussels to bring countries together’ in an open letter to the European Commission, EGBA secretary general Maarten Haijer explained that he felt ‘the cross-border online betting world is hamstrung by a patchwork of national rules’ and that the lack of standardisation was ‘problematic’.
Haijer stressed that the current framework has resulted in players ‘experiencing varying levels of consumer protection when they bet online.’ and thus a standardised framework was needed.
He wrote: “While some EU regulation, such as the GDPR and the Anti-Money Laundering Directive, do provide some regulatory basis, the betting sector is regulated entirely by national policies. Each EU state has its own set of rules and requirements.
“They work in isolation from each other and without regard to the internet’s cross-border nature. The consequence: 28 very different sets of regulations and 28 different sets of customer experience.
“In an era where people can easily place a bet on websites based in other countries, the lack of policy consistency is problematic. It means people can easily be exposed to websites that don’t fully protect their rights or interests.
“Only 14 EU countries have adopted a national self-exclusion register, and only 13 require “no underage betting” signs on advertisements. These are simple measures proposed by the Commission, yet they haven’t been introduced in most European countries.”
Pointing out that ‘formal regulatory cooperation is a necessary first step, followed by standardization and more common rules’, Haijer addressed that a continent-wide approach is needed to address the matter.
“Making the single market work better for those citizens who bet online will require even higher standards than those applied to other online sectors,” he said. “But leaving it up to EU countries alone has not worked, so the incoming European Commission needs to act.
“The cross-border online betting world is hamstrung by a patchwork of national rules. It’s time for Brussels to bring countries together.”