The European Gaming and Betting Association reaffirmed the need to implement a clear set of consumer rights for the online gambling industry in the country, ahead of the release of the market strategy of the European Commission later this year.
The industry group has regularly called for more to be done ‘to push the EU’s approach to online gaming into the 21st century’ with its member firms reporting 16.5 m online customers around the continent.
According to the Brussels-based community, implementing a common single set of consumer rights that will apply to the online gambling industry ensures a high degree of consumer security, improves transparency and legal certainty, and leads to equitable and fair contract terms and an overall increase in player health.
Given the cross-border nature of online gaming, the EGBA notes that “online players are not equally protected throughout the EU as each member state is responsible for developing its own rules.”
The group states, in its submission: “The lack of regulatory consistency jeopardises online players’ safety, as it exposes them to the unregulated and unsafe websites of the black market, which profits to the detriment of the European economy. EGBA advocates sector-specific EU regulation for consumer and minor protection.
“There are simple rules that can be proposed, to ensure that online players, minors and players who are at risk are equally protected. For example, self-excluded players could benefit from a European self-exclusion register, that would prohibit access to any regulated website of the EU.
“To bridge the gap stemming from inconsistent rules on protecting minors from gambling marketing, EGBA has recently published a European code of conduct to establish minimum requirements on responsible advertising. Greater regulatory cooperation between member states can also facilitate the dialogue to achieve harmonisation.
“To this end EGBA regrets the dissolvement of the European expert group for online gambling, as national gambling regulators are deprived from the opportunity to meet and exchange in the framework of a common platform.”
The European online gambling industry is the world’s biggest online gambling industry. In 2018 the overall EU online gambling industry produced gross gaming revenue of € 22.2 billion , representing 49.2 per cent of the global betting market.