EL, ECA and WoTa Join Forces In Battle Against Illegal Online Gambling

In an attempt to harness the momentum to make Europe ready for the digital age, European Lotteries, the European Casino Association, and the World Tote Association have joined forces.

This follows the appeal by the European Commission for an ambitious digital space reform after revealing its plans for the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act, which were subsequently endorsed by the European Gaming and Betting Association.

The Trifecta notes that in the fight against illegal online gambling, there has never been better time, as the crime leaves customers exposed and poses a major stumbling block in the fight against money laundering.

An open letter from the Alliance on the fight against illegal gambling states: “The Digital Services Act package foresees a notice-and-action mechanism. Such mechanism will enable all users to notify online intermediaries about potentially illegal online content or activities and to help the latter to react quickly and be more transparent regarding the actions taken.

“Our alliance sees this as an important improvement in the fight against illegal online gambling offerings, and looks forward the enforcement and implementation of these measures by the involved stakeholders to protect the interests of all EU citizens.

“Illegal gambling operators offer their services online to players located in multiple EU member states without having obtained any license in such national markets.

“These practices are illegal and detrimental for consumers and state budgets, as there is no mutual recognition of national licenses in the gambling sector within the EU and no sector-specific EU legislation in that field is needed.”

In addition, the EL, ECA and WoTa also appear to illustrate a number of negative traits brought on by illegal gambling operators, namely:

  • Do not respect the laws and regulations set up by the national regulators of the EU member states where they provide their services.
  • Make it practically impossible to protect consumers and especially a vulnerable population from the risks of overconsumption.
  • Can enhance the emergence of social problems and crime and constitute a major problem in the fight against money laundering.
  • Often do not pay taxes in the national markets where their players are located and do not contribute to any public good or specific charities.
  • Represent an unfair and unequal competition to the nationally licensed and authorised gambling operators, threatening their legal business models and the substantial sustainable economic and social contribution they provide to EU member states.

The alliance represents over 150 gaming and lottery operators in Europe, with 350,000 independent lottery sales outlets and about 900 casinos, all contributing more than EUR 35 billion annually to good causes and government budgets.