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Europe Pushes for Standardised Gambling

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European authorities have signalled their intention to push for policymakers at the European Union to develop a standard set of rules for online gambling.

Writing for online news site Politico.eu the Director General of the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), Maarten Haijer, said that more than twelve million online gambling customers across Europe are getting a poor service due to the inconsistency of European gambling policy.

Haijer listed the challenges for regulators, which include the fact that the internet transcends borders, making it possible for gamblers anywhere in Europe to use sites based in any other European country. But he also highlighted out that gambling regulations across the EU are inconsistent, and pointed to the evidence of a recent study conducted by the University of London.

The study found that despite the release of new European Commission policies regarding online consumer protection in 2014, Denmark was so far the only European nation to have fully complied. The EGBA have also pointed out that there are significant gaps in the safeguarding regime when it comes to problem gambling, with as many as half of EU member states having failed so far to set up player self-exclusion mechanisms, and with underage gambling protection.

In his article, Haijer calls for a stronger system of common EU rules and safeguards to offer better protection to European gamblers, and to vulnerable groups, including those at risk from problem gambling, and children. But such an approach would require a reversal of course from the European Union. In 2017, the European Court of Justice announced that it would no longer be enforcing gambling sector regulations, instead leaving this to national governments.

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