A recent vote taken by the European Parliament (EP) resulted in a report causing a shift towards a more commonly adopted approach to issues arising from online gambling. This report was set out with the objective of putting further pressure on the Commission to take a more pro-active stance against national regimes which remain non-compliant with existing EU law in this area. This measure was greatly welcomed, also, by the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) which has been consistently pursuing better consumer protection relevant to this field of activity.
This action by the EP was met with a certain amount of surprise as two years prior it had actually championed the status quo, insisting that the field of Gaming and Betting was a matter benefitting from the ‘Subsidiarity Principle’. Consequently it was felt that it should be left to the Member States to determine the applicable laws for the practice of Gaming and Betting in all forms. The new measures arising from the recent report were influenced by the fact that there is a growing cross-border to this field and therefore it would make little sense to leave the matter to be dealt with by the Member States on their own. The report is therefore petitioning the Commission to work towards the following:
- A Framework Directive;
- Encouraging more formalised cooperation between regulators under the supervision of the Commission;
- European Standards for operators, consumer, protection, advertising and electronic identification.
The report also calls for streamlining with regard to the procedure of license application. The objective of this measure is to increase the efficiency in recognition of licenses in other Member States and to reduce bureaucracy in this area by eliminating redundant administrative procedures in applying for a license in a Member State where an operator already possesses a license in another Member State. Another important action encouraged by the report is for the Commission to make more consistent use of infringement procedures for the sake of ensuring national compliance with EU law in this field.