With the proliferation of online gambling throughout many parts of Europe, the European Union (EU) has indicated its intention to seek rules and guidelines designed to protect its citizens. It appears they would also like to establish some type of regulation conformity, which would certainly make online gambling easier to regulate.
Gambling in Europe
The EU’s call to action comes on the heels of 2012 study on online gambling sites that offer poker, casinos and sports books. In that study, it was determined that as many as 7,000,000 Europeans have participated in online gambling. That would amount to about 45% of the current online gambling market, or an estimated €24 billion per year in revenues. The current trends in online gambling point to a continuation of current expansion levels.
There are two primary issues that are of concern to EU officials; the protection of minors, and the general lack of consistency between member nations that have have developed their own set of regulations. First, many online sites are operating without proper measures in place to prevent minors (under 18 years of age) from signing up and gambling. Secondly, the EU recognizes that regulations imposed by nations are less effective when the thing they are regulating (online gambling) has no formal boundaries.
The EU has issued recommendations on four different items they would like to address.
- Extensive registration procedures designed to deter minors
- Clearer warnings about the dangers of problem gambling
- Easily accessible information for individuals who may have a gambling problem
- Rules designed to prevent fraudulent or misleading advertising
In the coming months, the EU is expecting to receive assistance from the its “Expert Group on Gambling” in coordinating information gathering and sharing efforts amongst member nations. They also expect to receive very little resistance from the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), which fully supports the concepts being considered by the EU’s commission.