All EU member states, except Denmark, have not fully implemented EU consumer protection guidelines for online gambling, putting the protection of online gamblers at risk by leaving them exposed to unequal and inadequate levels of consumer protection across EU member states, according to a study published today by the City University London.
The study “Consumer protection in EU online gambling regulation” reviewed the national implementation of selected key provisions of the European Commission’s guidelines for consumer protection in online gambling,and found major gaps in consumer protection exist in EU member states. For example, only 14 member states have established national self-exclusion registers and only 13 member states require ‘no underage gambling’ signs on advertisements.
The Commission’s guidelines aim to encourage a uniform high-level of protection for online gamblers across EU member states, through the introduction of common principles addressing player identification requirements, the prevention of minors from gambling and social responsibility measures. The Commission committed to evaluating the implementation of its guidelines by EU member states by 19 January 2017 – but has failed to do so.
The study, commissioned by the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), finds that the primary objective of the Commission’s guidelines – to fully protect all online gamblers in Europe – has not been achieved. The study attributes this failure to the voluntary, non-binding nature of the guidelines and concludes that mandatory EU rules are needed to ensure a uniform, high-level of consumer protection for online gamblers in Europe.
EGBA calls on the European Parliament and European Commission to take account of the study findings and introduce mandatory rules to ensure that consumers are fully protected by online gambling regulation in EU countries.
Maarten Haijer, Secretary General of EGBA, said: “Because online gambling in Europe is regulated at national-level, the level of consumer protection provided to players varies depending on where they reside in the EU – and this is entirely inadequate for what is an inherently borderless digital sector. Guidelines have proven insufficient and we call on EU policymakers to act by introducing mandatory rules to ensure there is a consistent high-level of consumer protection and uniform safety nets for all online gamblers in Europe.”