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Belgium – ECA calls for tougher enforcement measures for unlicensed online operators

By - 30 November 2017

EU countries lagging behind in enforcement against unlicensed gambling providers

Providers of online gambling services are continuing to target jurisdictions without the mandatory licence in the respective country, according to the European Casino Association.

It is estimated that up to 50 per cent of total online gambling revenue is generated in countries where the respective operator does not hold the required licence. Despite tools being available to national policy-makers to tackle this issue through strong and effective enforcement, many countries seem to lack the political will to tackle this issue.

This was confirmed in a recent survey run by the European Casino Association (ECA) on the use and effectiveness of enforcement measures against unlicensed gambling operators in Europe. The survey looked at the different enforcement measures in place among EU countries. It highlighted that while effective measures are in principle available, they are often not used and best practices in their implementation are not shared between EU countries. The survey demonstrated that the most effective enforcement measures against unlicensed gambling providers are advertising blocking, IP blocking and blacklisting of unlicensed operators.

The report stated: “For the licensed industry it is clear that EU countries need to wake up to the growing issue of unlicensed online gambling providers across Europe. The status quo of unlicensed providers targeting EU countries being tolerated should be considered unacceptable. The ECA therefore calls on national policy-makers and regulators to put in place strong and effective enforcement measures, such as those identified in the ECA report.”

“The continued toleration of unlicensed gambling operators providing their services in EU countries has led to substantial issues. Such operators at times lack responsible gambling measures and do not pay taxes in the target country, comply only with low-regulatory regimes and represent an unfair competition to the licensed and regulated national gambling operators. Above all, this is not in line with the current legal situation. EU member states can set their own proportionate gambling policy, which has been repeatedly confirmed by the Court of Justice of the European Union.”

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